Megan Foo's Blog

Teacher Appreciation Interview with Bebe Dudley of EfforTZ

[b]With a mission of providing a quality education to impoverished children in Tanzania so that they may escape perpetual cycles of poverty and contribute to the betterment of their communities, [url=]EfforTZ[/url] strives to expedite children's access to educational opportunities by providing academic scholarships for primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education in tandem with books, school supplies and other resources. [/b]This past week, I was able to catch up with Bebe Dudley, one of the Founders of [url=]EfforTZ[/url] and a retired teacher who taught in U.S schools for 41 years.
[b]Megan Foo: Why do you enjoy being a teacher?[/b]
[b]Bebe Dudley:[/b] To teach is to live a life filled with wonder, joy, discovery, creativity, and challenges. To discover, nurture, and help develop the gifts in each student is most rewarding. To teach requires constant learning and rewards energy, enthusiasm, and hard work with much personal satisfaction and growth.
[b]Megan Foo: What is the most challenging part of being a teacher with [url=]EfforTZ[/url]?[/b]
[b]Bebe Dudley:[/b] In the public primary schools, the class sizes are very large--often averaging well over 50 children. Most days the children receive no individual attention. A second challenge is the lack of supplies and an environment that is not conducive to learning. The brightest students are able to learn from the rote method of instruction, but there is little to engage or encourage the reluctant learner or a child with disabilities.
A third challenge is the language barrier. I would need to become fluent in Swahili in order to be most effective in the classroom, since that is the language of instruction in the primary schools.
Demonstrating different teaching modalities to expand the teachers' repertoire beyond the rote model can be especially challenging. The teachers are required to cover a national curriculum and are often reluctant to incorporate new materials and methodologies. The staff welcomes visiting teachers and quite often participates enthusiastically in the new lessons, but there is little evidence that their methods are altered once the visitor leaves.
[b]Megan Foo: Why is education important to you?[/b]
[b]Bebe Dudley:[/b] In Tanzania, I became involved with twelve orphaned boys at the TACODA Children's Home and attended their public schools with them during a six week stay. It became obvious that if these boys were going to escape a life of poverty, they would need better education than that offered in the public schools. They needed to learn English just to be able to attend secondary school, to develop a math sense, and to value learning if they were to have any hope for meaningful employment when they became adults.
It is also troubling to accept the secondary status of women in many situations. Girls forced to marry at age 13 have no career options. Offering these girls the opportunity to continue their education expands their worldview and affords them choice in how they live their lives.
[b]Megan Foo: Five years from now, where do you envision [url=]EfforTZ[/url]? What legacy do you want to leave?[/b]
[b]Bebe Dudley:[/b] Five years from now I hope to witness lives truly changed by the support and encouragement provided by the EfforTZ Foundation. Young Maasai women will have careers instead of untimely and unwanted arranged marriages and will provide role models for new generations to follow. The young boys in our care will have viable career options or be attending college.
We will continue to send supplies and visit selected schools in Arusha with the hope of inspiring teachers to work effectively with a variety of teaching methods and materials.
[b]Megan Foo: What advice would you give to other prospective teachers?[/b]
[b]Bebe Dudley:[/b] For other volunteer teachers, I think it would be desirable to learn some Swahili for ease of communication with the teachers and the students. It is imperative to be flexible, maintain a sense of humor, remain positive, have and demonstrate a strong work ethic. Remain encouraged by and celebrate each small success.

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