10. So you've been at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School for awhile now. Can you talk about some of the changes you have seen both in the students and in the school during your time?
In school, each year there is more structure. One specific example is the disciplinary protocol. When you compare how it was in 2013 and how the kids behaved then to how it is now, it is much better, more stable, and much more structured and consistent. In previous years, we had a meeting almost every week about the disciplinary protocol because something wasn’t working well and/or because we felt something needed to be changed and modified. We were always getting together to talk about it with the goal of having consistency for the kids and the truth is that all that work has been fruitful. I remember in 2013 how difficult it could be with the students. So it’s a really good change that the school has experienced, implementing a consistent and structured disciplinary protocol. Another positive change is the fact that the school itself is more structured. Each year there are new changes and I like this a lot because they [the administration] are always saying, “No, what we were doing last year isn’t enough. We are going to be better this year.” They are always thinking about ways to innovate and improve the school and looking for ways update and expand on the knowledge and skill sets of the teachers. They are taking us to trainings and bringing people here to teach and train us, which is really good because we have young teachers, some of whom don’t necessarily have a lot of teaching experience, so all the trainings help make them better people and teachers.
And with the kids, I have also seen many changes. Of course I’ve seen a lot of behavioral changes, for the better, but also in the freedom the kids feel to express themselves. Everything that they think, they have the freedom to say and this is something that I didn’t see as much before. They are talking about everything that happens to them, what they experience and think, and that’s a good thing. This happens both here at the school and in the ‘hogar.’ It’s really cool because it means that they are growing in confidence and that they know that their voices can be heard as much by the teachers as by the ‘padrinos, ‘madrinas’, coordinators, and directors of the ‘hogar.’ It shows that they not only want to make themselves heard and will makes themselves heard, but also that they know there are people here who are listening to them. For example, some of the kids from the ‘hogar’ say that they don’t like it when kids from the community leave early or don’t have class but that they have to come to school anyways. They are making Profe Osman and all of us teachers think about what to do on the days that the students from the community don’t come. What’s something different, fun, and attractive that we can do with them on those days? They even talk about equality and the values we discuss in ‘acto civio’ [those values include: responsibility, effort, positivity, equality, tolerance, and obedience]. They are making themselves heard and I love seeing that.
11. What is something that you hope for for your students in the future?
I want them to be able to choose the career that they want to study. We recently had a meeting in the ‘hogar’ where the administration asked what would be the model school, or what are all the things we'd like to see in our school, as we continue to expand. It moved me a lot because they were asking the students what they wanted to do in the future. I really liked that because many people here in Honduras don’t have the opportunity to choose the career that they are going to study. For example, I didn’t want to be a teacher but my dad told me, “You are going to be a teacher and you need to study to be a teacher,” and I didn’t want to but I didn’t have another option. If I didn’t study to be a teacher, I wasn’t going to study so I said, “Okay, I’m going to be a teacher.” So I studied but I still wasn’t motivated to be a teacher but now I think that the best thing that could have happened to me in life was my decision to come to Amigos de Jesús, meeting so many people here, knowing the kids, etc. This is what I’d like in the future – that they continue to listen to the kids and what they want in their future. Some of them want to be journalists, others doctors, lawyers, and many other things. I hope that they are given the opportunity to be what they want to be in the future.
12.Can you explain a little bit about what it's like to work in a bilingual school with people who come from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, and who speak different languages?