Students Reflect on Their Experience Teaching in Botswana

Victoria Geary, Staff Writer

In early March, 12 BHSU students arrived in the capital city of Gaborone in Botswana to begin their three-day long experience of teaching of high school students.  With only a couple months to prepare the curriculum the students were both nervous and excited for what kind of impact they would make on their students. After arriving at the school the students were immediately thrown onto a stage in order to introduce themselves to the entire school and were warmly welcomed by smiles and cheers. The look on the BHSU students faces said it all, this was going to be a life changing experience for everyone involved. 

“This is a course that is designed to inspire, educate, and challenge students. I can honestly say that International Service Learning courses have changed the way that I perceive the world.” Said political science and psychology major, Justin Logue. “This course will cause students to think critically about the world around them and their role in it.” 

The BHSU students worked hard for two months in order to prepare a curriculum that they would present to the students at Gaborone Secondary School. According to English and speech composite major Ariel Pozorski, the students prepared what Gaborone Secondary School had asked of them. They focused on activity based assignments as the previous group that went to Botswana discovered worked well.  

“I think when we were there it was important to implement the curriculum, but also to be adaptable. In my classroom we focused on making sure it was decentralized so that the students were the ones being most active during class times and from what I heard from the students is that it was us focusing on them that was most effective for them.” 

The students time at Gaborone Secondary School was immensely rewarding but also challenging experience for everyone involved. On the last day, some of the students left the school wondering if they made an impact on the students they taught. According to Dean of Students and one of the faculty for the class Jane Klug, “I believe this trip made an impact on everyone who was associated with the program; students, faculty and staff. I believe students’ lives were changed because of this experience.  While we may not fully comprehend or ever know the impact we made on the students in Botswana at Gaborone Secondary School, I do know that there was love, support and understanding present from all involved.” She then explained, “I believe we represented BHSU to best of our abilities. We demonstrated that we care, understand and appreciate their culture.” 

After teaching at the school the students were then rewarded with an unforgettable experience at a game reserve where they embarked on a safari. The game reserve was a great time not only to relax, but also to reflect on their time in South Africa and Botswana. As they came to the end of their stay and were exiting the game reserve they received the most spectacular goodbye any of them can describe. Driving out they were given the show of a lifetime where almost all of the animals they saw on the safari appeared together and harmoniously ended their stay in South Africa.  

“For those thinking about the class, I don’t know if there is anything that I can say that hasn’t already been said. The type of learning that happens when you leave your home and when you experience the world in a more immediate way you learn more than I believe any other method because it teaches you not only about the field or the subject but it teaches you about people, about places, and about yourself.” concluded Pozorski.