As a primary school teacher from England, it had always been a dream of mine to travel abroad and experience teaching in different countries. However, as someone who never travels alone and definitely prefers the company of friends and home comforts, it was something I never thought to consider. A few things changed for me in 2017 though and a reality check that life is short and we should embrace challenges, new experiences and the big exciting world out there hit home.
Fast forward to now, February 2019. I quit my teaching job in London, travelled and taught in SE Asia, and am firmly into my journey of Central America. One of the teaching opportunities I have had in Central America has been in Cofradia, Honduras. When I discovered this volunteer position on workaway my first thoughts were, “Honduras. Scary. No way.” But after some research and a call with Andy, the volunteer coordinator, my mind was put at ease. Yes, there was a need to be cautious and yes the gang situation in areas of Honduras is bad, but Cofradia was completely safe. I have felt not only completely at home here but that I am also experiencing a slice of something really special. The best bit…the children. The children at CBS are incredible! They have a zest for life, happy spirits and kind hearts. Children love coming to school here and love learning, especially English. They recognise how important this education is for them to have a future which isn’t ridden with danger and violence.
The English being taught here is fully dependent on volunteers, these are the teachers unlocking a brighter future for the children. They are essential. I spent my time here for a month mainly working as a resource teacher. This allowed me to work intensely with select pupils and groups that are falling behind academically or have behavioural needs. This was a deeply rewarding experience for me, especially because being a class teacher of 30 means that having consistent daily 1:1 with struggling children doesn’t happen as often as it should. I had two particularly memorable experiences with specific children during my time at CBS. The first was with a girl from 3rd grade who when I met her was unable to read. After 4 weeks of daily 1:1 tutoring she read me a story. It was a short and basic story, but she was able to read it! It was so special seeing her face of pure delight and amazement, she couldn’t believe she could do it, but she did. The other was a boy in 5th grade who was disruptive in class and struggled to focus. Working with him over the weeks and see his confidence improve, his pride in his work increase and his self belief in English grow was an incredible feeling.
One month here is not enough. You very quickly settle into the happy and simple way of life. You are welcomed into the volunteer and school family immediately. Even the layers of dust and the cold bucket showers wouldn’t put me off staying. Sadly, my teaching journey must continue but the CBS team, the children and the special spirit of Cofradia will stay with me. Embracing challenges, new experiences and the big exciting world is something that is definitely achieved here.