Teaching & Learning as a Volunteer

My name is Gema Patrick Shirima. I am a nursery school teacher and I am currently a volunteer with AVC.

For the year of 2013, I am volunteering at Step Up Center, a nonprofit organization in the Majengo neighborhood of Moshi. At Step Up, I teach young children in nursery school.  I also help the organization advertise on social media.

I truly love my career in teaching. Education enables children to learn and grow and I feel like I have been a part of this process. Through AVC and Step Up, I have learned a lot about effective teaching methods in the field of early childhood education.

Gema working with her students at Step Up Center

I have had a great time teaching at Step Up, but I have also faced challenges. Some people think of nursery school as a playtime for students. I work with parents to fight absenteeism and to discuss the importance of early childhood education in creating a foundation for future learning and success in the classroom.

I work with teachers and school administrators to develop effective lesson plans and discuss the importance of classroom structure for our students.

I have learned a lot as a volunteer and I feel very lucky. I have worked with many people who know a lot about childhood development. We have worked together to solve problems and create lesson plans that benefit the students.

By volunteering, I have learned to be courageous. I know how to share my ideas and listen to other people as well. I believe this skill will help me in every aspect of life.

Africa Volunteer Corps has helped me connect with other teachers in Moshi and gain a wide professional network in my community. I am so grateful to AVC, which has positively affected my life, my career, and my community.

This January, I will open Charity Children’s Center, an organization to provide education and care to vulnerable children. I wish to provide the children with an education that will help them be healthy people and future leaders.  It has been my goal to open a center for children living in difficult conditions and because of AVC I have the skills and confidence I need to accomplish this goal.