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Teaching in Tanzania
The term “life-changing” gets bandied about quite a bit at WC, but for Marie Wrenn ’17, a human development major who spent two weeks in Tanzania, her experience was truly that powerful.
When people say there’s little opportunity for young people in America, they have no idea of what it’s like in places like Arusha,” says Marie Wrenn’17v, an aspiring elementary school teacher. “These children have so little in the way of material possessions, and they want to learn, but most of them won’t go past their eighth year of schooling. Education isn’t considered necessary to the way they live. Some will go on to secondary school, but the rest will go home and help the family.”
Taking part in the College’s annual summer seminar in Tanzania, which also included a weeklong safari, Wrenn and a classmate, Melanie Klein ’17, prepared lesson plans in English covering parts of the body, time, insects, animals, fruits, verbs, colors, counting, and other subjects of interest to the 10- and 11-year-olds in the classroom. The children responded so enthusiastically that they created additional lesson plans on the fly. Before the trip, they raised $700 for the school and filled duffle bags full of books and supplies to take along.
A human development major pursuing elementary education certification and a minor in studio art, Wrenn says the experience made her realize how much teaching means to her, and how important it is to use the resources available to her to the best of her ability.
“This trip meant the world to me,” she says. “It really touched my heart.”
Wrenn, who is completing her teaching internship at Church Hill Elementary School, says she used to take things for granted. Now she cringes at the carts of damaged goods being thrown away at the local big box store, mindful of how useful and appreciated those goods would be not only to the children of Arusha, but to the children in American school systems that struggle to provide adequate resources.
“I want my students to have the same right to education I have. I want my students to have the same wonderful experiences I have had. Now I know that I can have an impact.”