AMIGA OF THE WEEK ~ Profesora Viviana

In 2014, Profesora Viviana was among the first of our Honduran volunteer teachers to be hired as a permanent teacher at the Amigos de Jesús School. Today, two other volunteer teachers are now employed along with her, joining our three original paid school staff (our principal, school psychologist, and kindergarten teacher). Profesora Viviana has a special talent for working with kids. In the classroom, she skillfully masters the balance of love and firmness. She captivates her kids' attention, pushes them to be the best they can be, and makes them feel safe and accepted. We are so grateful to have her as part of our long-term team of educators at Amigos!

Read more about Profesora Viviana in her interview below:

  1. Hometown: Santa Bárbara, Honduras
     
  2. Joined the Amigos family in: January 2013
     
  3. Current position at Amigos: 1st and 2nd grade teacher in the BECA (Bilingual Education for Central America) program at the Amigos school, teaching Spanish, Social Studies, and Art.
     
  4. How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús? My father was a classmate of Padrino Ubil in university, and Padrino Ubil was the one who told my dad that Amigos was creating a volunteer teaching program for Honduran teachers in 2012. My dad and I came out to Amigos one day to see what the program was about, and I began here in January 2013 as a volunteer teacher.
     
  5. How has your position changed since you first arrived? When I very first came, Amigos had not yet partnered with BECA to become a bilingual school. So I worked with a few different grades -- I was the 3rd grade teacher for awhile and I also later worked with 5th grade. Then, in September 2013, the BECA program started and I have now been teaching 1st and 2nd grade in that program for 3 years, working alongside U.S. volunteer teachers.
     
  6. How has the Amigos de Jesús School changed since you first arrived? Wow, it has changed so much. When I first came, we were a much smaller teaching team -- only 5 or 6 Honduran teachers, and the BECA bilingual program didn't exist yet. Then, when the BECA program did start, it only went up to 2nd grade. Now BECA goes up to 5th grade and we also have the EducaTodos program for our kids with specialized academic and/or behavioral needs. I've also been able to watch the kids advance through their grades and grow both academically and behaviorally over the years. It's been amazing to see my kids who were in 1st grade when I came now in 3rd and 4th grade. Overall, the school has really changed a lot, and it continues to change! It has been beautiful to be a part of it.
     
  7. What is your favorite part of your job? I think it is when I get the chance to talk to the kids and relate with them about their behaviors and struggles, not in a way that is strict or firmly a teacher-student relationship, but in a way of someone who can give them advice and really be there for them. Those moments of being able to connect with the kids are my favorites.
     
  8. Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Amigos de Jesús? Well, I've had so many students over the years, but one special group was the group that just graduated 6th grade this year and moved on to 'colegio' (junior high at the local public school). Those students were some of the first ones I taught when I first came to Amigos and despite all of their behavioral challenges, they were a special group for me. I remember when I first came and those students had the habit of yelling, saying bad words, and generally misbehaving. And then I remember the moment when I could see those students begin to change in the classroom. Seeing them graduate this year and comparing them to where they were a few years ago....it was beautiful to see.

    Another special thing that Amigos de Jesús did for me in my time here was that a couple years ago when I got married, Amigos decided to have a "Families Day" for the kids. Two couples of madrinas/padrinos (caretakers) on the home side of Amigos got married the same year I did, so Amigos held a wedding celebration for all of us as a way to show the kids a bit of an example of what marriage and family life is like, since they are growing up in more of an untraditional and group-like setting. All three of us couples wore our wedding gowns and suits, and Amigos invited both my family and my husband's family to celebrate. They had wedding cake for us and everything. It made me feel like part of the family here and it was nice to be able to share in that moment of my life with the kids.

    Apart from that celebration, many people from Amigos attended my real wedding ceremony, too -- Amy and Wilson, the Honduran teachers, and many of the U.S. volunteers at Amigos at the time. That was also a wonderful experience.

Profesora Viviana with staff and volunteers from Amigos de Jesús at her wedding in 2014.

Profesora Viviana (right) and one of her 1st grade classes.

Profesora Viviana (right) with some of her first students in 2013.

Dressing up as a superhero for Children's Day at the school.

This year, Viviana received a special surprise from her students on her birthday.

Teachers can have fun, too! (Profesora Viviana is on the left)

Accompanying our students on a field trip last year. (Profesora Viviana is in sunglasses)