Ana Rivera, known by the children as "Profe Ana," is the Spanish teacher for Prepa (kindergarten) and Kinder (preschool) at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. Profe Ana has a way with children that captures their attention, makes them excited to learn, and makes them feel loved. She is a special role model in the Amigos de Jesús family and an important part of our teaching staff. Learn more about the wonderful Profe Ana below!
- Hometown: Macuelizo, Santa Barbara, Honduras
- When did you begin working at Amigos de Jesús?
I began in July 2011, actually as a 'madrina' (caretaker of the children) on the 'hogar' side of Amigos. I was close to completing my university degree in teaching at the time, and when I did earn it after 6 months, the directors (Amy and Wilson Escoto) asked me if I would like to work at the Amigos school. I began at the school in 2012 as a first grade teacher, and in 2013, when the BECA program started at Amigos, I became the Spanish teacher for Kinder and Prepa.
- How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?
I grew up not far from Amigos, so I've known about Amigos since it first began. I feel proud that I can say that such a well-run organization is part of my town.
- How has Amigos changed since you first arrived?
Many things have changed since I started five years ago! When I was working as a madrina, much fewer children were living at Amigos and there were only two dorms - the ones on each side of the comedor. One dorm was for older kids and one for younger kids, and I worked with the younger kids in my time as madrina. When I began working at the school in 2012, it was not a bilingual school like it is today. The American volunteers from Amigos assisted in the school, but it was mostly Spanish teachers. In 2013, when the BECA program started, more American teachers arrived and the school became truly bilingual. The school continues progressing every year, and it makes me happy to be part of the change.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
Being with my students in the classroom and seeing how they are able to learn, change, and grow over time.
- What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Amigos?
I have many wonderful memories, especially from my time as a madrina in those early days. That was a very busy and difficult time in my life, but the love and care of the people at Amigos helped get me through. At that time, I was working as a teacher at a different school in the mornings and then I would come to Amigos in the afternoon and night to work as a caretaker for the children when they got home from school. At 8pm, when the kids at Amigos went to bed every night, I would go home to be with my son. At that same time, I was also in my last six months of university, working to earn my degree in teaching. So I was working two jobs, had a son at home, and was studying in school. Yes, it was a lot.
But in the middle of that crazy time of my life, the people at Amigos were looking out for me. I am very thankful to the directors Amy and Wilson because after six months of working the way I was, they offered me the position at the Amigos school, so that I wouldn't have to keep working two jobs and I could finish my day at 4pm. Becoming a teacher at the Amigos school has been one of the best decision I've ever made.
Another time that people from the Amigos family looked out for me was one night when it was raining very hard and the river was too high for me to cross get back home to my son after 8pm. A couple who was working as a madrina and padrino at Amigos at the time lived near the river and saw me struggling to try to cross. They took me into their house for the night and let me stay with them until I could cross the next morning. There was still a lot of mud, but I was able to make it! Amigos de Jesús is full of good people.
- What is one hope you have for the future of Amigos de Jesús?
I hope that the school continues with as much success as has had these last couple of years and that it continues to achieve the many goals that are in the works for the future. One hope specifically is that we will one day be able to serve students through 9th grade (which is the end of junior high ('colegio') in Honduras).
- What do you hope for the futures of your students?
I hope that my students are able to achieve what they want in life, despite the things they may have suffered in the past. I hope that they become children who are happy and well-behaved. Of course, this will require lots of time and dedication on our part toward them, but I have already been able to witness incredible transformations in their attitudes and behaviors in my time at Amigos, and that is one of the most rewarding things to see as a teacher.
- What is a fun fact about you?
My son, Joseph, now attends the Amigos school as a student. He began in 2013 when the BECA program started and today he is in 5th grade. There have been many benefits toworking as a teacher at Amigos, but that might be the biggest one - that my son has been able to receive a high quality education and learn English.