A typical day of teaching in Pueblo Viejo, La Esperanza
La Esperanza Travel Blog› entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
April 27th, 2006 – by: Sbhattacharya69
On entering the gates in this lovely little school located far far away from any towns, the children eyed up the new people. I was ok, because the skin colour was something they recognized, unfortunately Sally and Seb did not have the same luxury. Sally was ok, as she spoke fluent spanish, and managed to get talking to the children...Seb though, bemused and being surrounded was in trouble...I thought playing football may help, forgetting that Seb could hardly kick a ball either. But luckily his lack of footballing skill made him a hilarious person to the kids..
The day started with teaching Year 1 (5 to 6 year olds) for an hour. The class is 33 strong, with the students unable to write, and the majority unable to read. The lesson plan was set, the Spanish ready and us 3 raring to go. Splitting ourselves into 3 teams, we each tackled the task of teaching the children to say ¨My name is….¨. So obviously the first task was to get the names out of them…not as easy as it seems, as each child has around 4 middle names, and whenever people ask them their name, they blurt out the whole thing really quickly…which posed a problem…they didn´t know what their first or Christian name was either, so it took a bit of help from the teacher of the class to get some sort of name for each student.
A person in the middle, one of me, Sally and Seb, would be in the middle with a ball, and whoever the ball was thrown to, they would have to say ¨My name is…¨. The kids enjoyed this a lot…and it got me thinking about how we are taught back home…How we, when we were kids, remembered things.
I guess teachers have one of the most important jobs, and there is a lot of pressure on them, but you wonder how back in England some teachers even got to teach. It´s great being the best in your field in whatever subject you choose, but that doesn´t make you a teacher…maybe it´s something that needs to be looked at back home. But yeh the children loved it, and although at the end, it was easy to see that not everyone was at the same level, the basic grounding was there for everyone, a grounding that we could hopefully build on.
Class 2 (6 to 7 year olds) were the next class. The children had started to learn how to write, and the same lesson plan as with Class 1 was followed. The class were much better at picking up the phrase, and within 20 minutes most of them had got it. It was clear to see that some people were better than others, with the ones who weren´t as good starting to shy away.
I found it was more a case of not forcing the children to speak, but to get a smile out of them and make them feel comfortable in the situation…I mean new teacher, new language, all a bit of a daunting prospect.
The 10.20am bell brought the 20 minute break time, and what I saw was astounding.
We carried on with the seconds, and then 20 minutes later moved onto the 3rd´s.
The children then coloured in their rainbows, which we had given them, and were so excited to take them home. They love being told, well done, or congratulations….
The teacher of the 3rd´s informed us that of these 30ish students in this class, only 15 will make it to class 5, because from 10, they are required to work at home. After class 6, only 3 or 4 will go on to further education, so 90% of them leave school at the age of 12. It was also clear to see how poor these children were. I was talking to one of the children, Eduardo, such a lovely kid, and he was telling me how the children get their clothes and bags from charities…and the teacher said that most of the children live in wooden houses, with no sanitation, no water and no electricity.
We left school at 11.30, as the children were getting lunch. We were told that lunch is served here, because it is in some cases, the only food that children will get in the whole day! This was a handful of rice, some vegetables, and water that looked like it was mud…We were offered it too, but I don´t think we were too keen to experience it … Escorted by 3 kids hanging onto legs and arm, we made the climb up heart attack hill, ready to make the 2 hour walk back to the town.
We met up with Carlos, this random man that we kept seeing in the school. We found out he was actually a university student, working on finding the hygiene levels of children in 5 of the poorest reasons in Honduras .
A deserved beef steak for lunch, and a few drinks afterwards with the other gap years finished that part of the day.
The dance was to kick off at 5.30pm, so we arrived at 5.15pm and waited….and waited….and waited….it was 7.30pm, and they were still practicing….8pm the show kicked off, and was well worth watching. Dances with machetes, and the traditional clothes etc…we even went up and had a dance at the end….showing off my salsa and polka skills, and then running a mile when it finished!
We retired to our house by 10pm, saw a road kill chicken along the way…ready for the bus journey at 4am to Roatan (an island in the Carribean Sea, off the north coast of Honduras), for a nice relaxing weekend.
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