Two years was all it took.
Before he was accepted into St Jude’ as a Form 5 student in 2013, most of Emmanuel’s education had been at a government school.
Once he graduated last year, that experience became a driving force in his decision to spend the second half of his Community Service Year helping share his high-quality education with other students in the Arusha community.
“I was feeling worried about it. As a student who had never even been to university, and going there as a teacher, it was a challenge. Now it motivates me and I feel like I can carry myself like other teachers,” Emmanuel said, nearing the end of his six-month teaching stint at Elerai Secondary School.
Emmanuel had initially chosen to work at St Jude’s boarding house for his CSY, but as the half-way mark neared he changed to volunteer at a government school.
“There is a lot to do at government school because of the lack of teachers. So I am now helping students there, and they’re really enjoying having us (CSY teachers),” the 24-year-old Chemistry teacher said.
“I know how those students are, I know the government school environment, so I knew the techniques I would be able to use so that they would understand.
“I like Chemistry, and there was a shortage of teachers in Chemistry there. I am enjoying teaching very much, and I love those students. I can’t imagine the moment I’ll be going (for university), I think most of those students will cry.”
Emmanuel, who is awaiting news of his acceptance into an Agricultural Economics degree at Sokoine University of Agriculture in eastern Tanzania, wants to continue making a valuable impact in Tanzania as the industry “is the backbone of our economy”.
Until then, he explained that a lack of food, chalk and class facilities such as chairs has increased the challenge of teaching.
“The government has decided to provide free education at government schools, but it has not been very practical because they’re not able to provide the facilities,” Emmanuel said.
“The main problem is not being fed at school – they are there from 8am to 3.30pm without having food, so their concentration is a little bit slow. It’s a real challenge. We have to work extra hard so that we can help them understand what we are teaching.”
St Judes’ CSY program is being hailed by many local educators as a desperately-needed solution to Tanzania’s education issues.
“Our school has a big problem with a shortage of Science and Business teachers, so it was a miracle to have our four student teachers from St Jude’s,” Suye Secondary School principal, Sarah Milunga, said.
Four St Jude’s CSY students taught at Suye, the government school in Arusha City: Judica (Commerce and Bookkeeping, Forms 3 and 4); Lubango (Biology, Form 1); Lembris (B Maths, Form 2) and Eliud (Geography, Form 2).
The institute is one of 21 government schools our CSY students have taught at, helping more than 10,000 students with their high-quality educations.
“This is a unique program in our country. These students have shown discipline and hard work in teaching, and all other activities in our school community. They were charming peacemakers who interacted with others easily, they were helpful and friendly to students, and effectively planted educational seeds to students through their positive attitudes, from morning to evening.
“Thanks so much to all students who participated in this wonderful program with compassion. You came to our schools direct from Form 6, without Teachers College, but you did wonders and unforgettable activities in our schools.
“This program helped our school a lot. Thank you very much for introducing it to our generation in education. It is key in the development of Tanzania and a strong weapon in the fight against poverty.”