A typical day of teaching in Pueblo Viejo, La Esperanza

La Esperanza Travel Blog

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The weird fruit that Carlos told us to try...if anyone knows the name, it would be very nice to know.
So, Friday, well, after a breakfast of fried bananas with mayonnaise (we thought it was cream), beans and tortillas, and missing the bus because Sally got lost, the new adventures of teaching unfolded.

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..
On the way to the shrine for Conception at the top of the hill overlooking La Esperanza
.so they took him on board with open arms....we were lucky, we made it through the first hurdle, now the teaching.

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.
On the way up the hill...such a pretty town
So, then came the main bit…the speaking…the children were very different in their abilities, and some picked up much quicker than others. The children were so great, always trying hard, and always with a smile on their face…I personally think my team was the best…there were 2 boys who really picked it up quickly and were able to say it within 10 minutes, but the rest were still struggling. It took half an hour of drilling and repeating to make sure everyone got it, and which point we went outside and played a game.
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.
Seb, Sally and Carlos with La Esperanza in the background
I personally hated being sat down and lectured to… I dozed off within 10 minutes of that and remembered nothing from the lesson. Within 30 minutes of interacting with the children, making sure they understand what they´re taught, they were able to speak English….and remember what they had said!

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.
The tradition Lenca dancing at the school
At the end of the class we had children hugging us and thanking us, which was great to see and hear.

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.
Me, Sally and one of the Year 5s outside our school sign
The girls at this age own the school pretty much….whilst they take the football pitch in front of the school, the boys were sent to a patch of grass outside of the school gates…and the girls loved their football, and how it showed! They´d be sliding into challenges…roughing it up like Keano in the middle of the park…I was quite scared getting the ball…that and running on a field that looks like it had been bombed on. The altitude took its toll though, and after 10 minutes I had to retire to playing IT with the younger girls and boys. By the end of break I had around 5 or 6 kids climbing over me, and some that wouldn´t let go of my hand, Sally and Seb were in similar positions.

We carried on with the seconds, and then 20 minutes later moved onto the 3rd´s.
Name of our school
The lady teaching the class was lovely, a lot nicer than the teachers in the first 2, who seemed to be worried that we´d be taking over their jobs. The third´s were more boisterous, and a lot of them had a good grounding of English, so a lot of them found the ¨My name is…¨quite simple. My blue team, managed to get onto how are you…although teaching this linguistically came as a bit of a challenge, with facial expressions, and weird situations coming into play. After the ball game, they were taught colours, and it even went as far as learning the ¨rainbow song¨, (not the one with zippy and his perverse friends!)
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….
On the way to school
coming up to me every few minutes or so to show their progression. They looked as if they really enjoyed it, and again, the praise of, English is my favourite subject¨, or ¨please can you teach in the afternoon¨¨ (in Spanish of course), put a smile on our faces.

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.
School 1
They haven´t been taught English for over a year, as we are the only English speaking people in the area, and the only time they are taught English is when volunteers arrive.

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 .
School 2
Anyway, he managed to flag down a pick up after half an hour of walking, and so our journey into town was shortened. He bought us this weird fruit, which was like lychees, but found in something that resembled a large bean, I have a photo….we then went into La Esperanza and enjoyed a few soft drinks in a small tower thing in the middle of the square opposite the church. After visiting the church, we walked up to the church on the opposite side of La Esperanza. This was carved into the mountain side, and the walk up was exhausting, however the view from the top was amazing.

A deserved beef steak for lunch, and a few drinks afterwards with the other gap years finished that part of the day.
School 3
However, me and Seb found out that in the local school they were doing a traditional dance show, showing off the famous Lenca dances.
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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The weird fruit that Carlos told u…
The weird fruit that Carlos told …
On the way to the shrine for Conce…
On the way to the shrine for Conc…
On the way up the hill...such a pr…
On the way up the hill...such a p…
Seb, Sally and Carlos with La Espe…
Seb, Sally and Carlos with La Esp…
The tradition Lenca dancing at the…
The tradition Lenca dancing at th…
Me, Sally and one of the Year 5s o…
Me, Sally and one of the Year 5s …
Name of our school
Name of our school
On the way to school
On the way to school
School 1
School 1
School 2
School 2
School 3
School 3
Heart attack hill
Heart attack hill
Boys being thrown to the corner of…
Boys being thrown to the corner o…
La Esperanza
photo by: brett4321