→Story Project main page
→Stories in this category

→Moments    →Trips    →Surprise    →Servants    →Politics    →Tributes

Teaching and School Life

Not quite ready for retirement, Charlie Guthrie "wanted another in-depth experience in Africa for myself, so in 2011 I put my money where my mouth had been" and went Back to Africa 50 Years Later via the Peace Corps. Through the lens of this new experience Charlie re-examines his long-ago TEA days and compares the two organizations and time periods.

Many TEAers witnessed school strikes at their schools but few had heard of them before that untoward phenomenon was commented on at some point during their orientation, either in New York or East Africa. However the matter was characterized, it was made clear that strikes are unsettling experiences, occurrences to be wished on no one. Four stories here give us some sense of the threat, the reality and the possibility of avoidance.

In Sambaker School Strike, Jerry Barr details how his attempts to establish an informal classroom style backfire early on in his time at Sir Samuel Baker Senior Secondary School in northern Uganda. What he describes is akin to what initiated a strike at Mzumbe Secondary School in 1963 where Gus Lewis taught. Students there found the discussion-driven pedagogy of their American teachers unsatisfactory. It was so unlike what they were used to: teaching that encouraged the copying of teacher-generated notes and memorization. His Strike! to Study tells us he has never found out how his students fared on the examination. However, his account does not present a closed case, even at this late date: how students fared studying on their own is discoverable even now.

On a more positive note, Emilee Cantieri's Students on Strike, delightful in its telling, records how she disarmed perfunctory attempts to disrupt a Wednesday morning English class at Machakos Teachers College in Kenya. For Bob Stokes a sense of duty and some logical reasoning carried the day, ... When a Student Strike Isn't [or wasn't] Really a Strike.

Emilee's story gives us a glimpse into what goes on in classes and the small and large pleasures that are available there. The same is true of Jim Blair's Tanganyikan Tales and Pat Colby's Ruth. Some of those pleasures came from taking an admiring - or at least sympathetic - stance toward how people may react to some puzzling aspects of science, notably electricity and its invisible bearer, the electron, as we learn in Gene Child's Duncan Kimamu and Electricity and Jonne Robinson's Electricity Too. Another East Africa electricity story culminates in a BS in EE from Long Beach State some decades later as Gary James found himself Supporting a Tanzanian's US Education.

Moses Howard's O Levels and Me points in the same positive direction. It is a story of inadvertent audacity, an account of how he, a science master at Ntare High School in Uganda, undermined the derision of students by his British colleagues who mocked student responses to British literature. Moses's tack, undertaken with some uncertainty, was to become Musa Nagenda and in that guise produce culturally relevant reading material for classroom instruction in language arts. What an extension this story is to the delights that are available in all the reminiscences in this particular category!

Education takes place not only within the curriculum, the classroom and the mind of the student. Dan Callard's Music Alone Shall Live reminds us that a stranger in the land also has much to learn and that he may amaze his students in an extracurricular setting.


→Top of this page

All stories in this category,
alphabetical by author.


Anderson, Jay. Papa, Martha, and Me.
Barr, Jerry. Sambaker School Strike.
Blair, Jim. Tanganyikan Tales.
Callard, Dan. Music Alone Shall Live.
Cantieri, Emilee. Students on Strike.
Child, Gene. Duncan Kimamu and Electricity.
Colby, Pat. Ruth.
Gill, Pat. My English Challenge.
Guthrie, Charlie. Back to Africa 50 Years Later via the Peace Corps.
Hamburger, Henry. Math, Temba, Adongo, Pedagogy.
Culture Gap in Kakamega.
Music in Kakamega.
Heneveld, Ward. Kiangoma Track Meet.
Kiangoma and School Fees.
Hepburn, Sharon. Instant Expert at Twenty Years Old.
Howard, Moses. About Positive and Negative.
O Levels and Me.
Sundowner.
Hummel, Dave. Snake Story.
James, Gary. Supporting a Tanzanian's US Education.
Jones, William. A Kapsabet Gift: A Practical Dictum for Teaching.
Lewis, Gus. Strike! to Study.
Olds, Larry. Teaching at Teso, 1962 and 1963.
Robinson, Jonne. Electricity Too.
Stein, Harry. A Red Pen and Innocence.
Stockton, Ron. Toad in Stomach, Beetle in River.
Stokes, Bob. When a Student Strike Isn't Really a Strike.
Theodore, Yvonne. The Bees.

→Story Project main page
→Top of this page
→Stories in this category

→Moments    →Trips    →Surprise    →Servants    →Politics    →Tributes