1. Do I need to speak Spanish?
No. No Spanish is required for the teaching position as the students are more than sufficiently proficient in the English language and the school vice-principal is fluent in both languages. In addition, translators are always available for any reason such as communication with the parents. Back to top
While licensed and experienced teachers are prefered over other candidates, there is not always a large enough pool of such candidates. It is preferrable that potential applicants have had substantial experiences working with children and a background in teaching. However, in some instances, exceptions are made for those candidates that display an attractive background and a serious interest in teaching, and teaching at Southwest School. Back to top
Classes start around the middle of August and end in the middle of June. The school year includes a 3 week Christmas vacation and a week around Easter for the "Semana Santa," as well as several local holidays, days off, half-days, and a couple of built-in personal days. Back to top
You would have your own apartment in an apartment complex with your fellow teachers that is named "Los Erules"(Erules are an archaic variety of fern that grows locally).
There are six apartments in this complex. Each apartment includes a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen/common area. One of the apartments has two bedrooms, is much larger, and therefore could accommadate a family. Each apartment is furnished with a gas stove, refrigerator, kitchen and bathroom sinks, heated shower, bed, table and chairs, and several shelves. Back to top
The school is located about 2 km (1.24 miles) outside of town, 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from the apartments. From the apartments, what these distances amount to, because of the roads, is a 20 minute bus ride, 15-30 minutes on bike (depending if you are going to the school, which is mostly uphill, or returning which is therefore obviously downhill), or about a 10 minute taxi ride. Back to top
Transportation to and from the school is provided with the school buses, for teachers as well as students. Everywhere you would need to go in town is within reasonable walking/biking distance. As the majority of the people of this country do not own cars or other mechanized vehicles, the public transportation system is more than adequate. Back to top
In the apartments where you would live there is no telephone or internet access. However, there are several internet cafes in town, two only four blocks from the apartments. There is a place to make local phone calls not too far away either. International calls can be made in the internet cafes or through the public telephone company. Cellular phones are also a possibility. Back to top
La Esperanza is home to one of the largest markets in the country. Many local farmers and indigenous people come from extremely long distances to buy and sell produce, clothing, pre-made foods, among many other things. Some teachers hardly ever visit the supermarket as they find everything they want in the central market which is only about a 5-10 minute walk from the apartments. However, when a trip to the supermarket is needed, there are three in town. Two of which are 5 blocks from the apartments.
In terms of types of food there are many traditional foods in Honduras and even here in La Esperanza. In general, however, the food is typical of this region: beans, rice, corn and flour tortillas, enchiladas, tacos, plantains, salsas, cheeses, eggs, salads, spaghettis, tropical and imported fruits etc. Besides traditional meals, with the amount of fresh produce always available and a little bit of preparation and creativity, just about any dish can be made. There is a place to buy safe meats for those so inclined and for the vegetarians there is access to soy products in addition to all the dairy proteins. If you aren't interested in cooking, there is a variety of affordable places to eat out. Back to top
No. Infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid, HIV, etc. are relatively unheard of here in La Esperanza and the risk is not viewed to be higher than most places in the developed countries. On the other hand, there are certain bothersome illnesses such as intestinal parasites that are more prevalent here but none are anything that the local pharmacy cannot take care of. There are several general doctors and pharmacists who are also parents of Southwest School students who are always glad to help our staff as needed. Additionally, U.S. medical brigades come through town frequently and can be seen by staff. Dental care is also easily available. Back to top
This is where a little bit of Spanish is very helpful. The parents of the school are extremely friendly, generous, and considerate of the teachers, always full of invitations and gifts. As far as the community in general, foreigners are very welcomed and respected by the people here. In addition, La Esperanza is home to many peace corps volunteers and has a strong contingency of philanthropic organizations that attracts many volunteers from all over the world. Back to top
Daily schedule starts with being picked up by the bus near the apartments
around 7:30 am and dropped back off around 4:30 pm. During the day the
schedule depends on which grades you would be working with but for all
teachers there are two breaks: one for snack and recess, and another for
lunch and recess. Every teacher rotates turns with playground supervision
during those breaks. The school day ends at 3:00 pm. The teachers stay
until 4:00 pm usually planning, grading, tutoring, or coordinating extra-curriculars.
In addition to a few interesting sites around town, there are extensive locations to visit within a bus ride of few hours or less, especially if you like adventures in nature. La Esperanza is about equidistant (3-4 hours) from the two biggest cities in Honduras, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. These nearby locations can be easily visited any weekend. The lengthier vacations are excellent opportunities for longer travels in Honduras and throughout Central America. Back to top
The pay at Southwest School is in the local currancy, the Lempira (named after an indigenous hero). The Lempira is currently exchanging at about L.18.00 to $1 US currancy. The pay is 5,300 Lempiras per month, plus a semi-furnished apartment and immigration expenses. It is enough for one person to cover living expenses and a few extras each month. Upon arrival, one receives a small stipend to help with purchases needed to set up your apartment. Also, twice a year there is a small bonus to help in case you wish to travel within the country. Due to the nature of immigration issues here, we must call our foreign personnel "volunteers" who receive a "stipend" rather than a salary. Back to top
No. Southwest School handles all the immigration paperwork for foreign staff upon arrival. Back to top
SOUTHWEST SCHOOL: Aldea Pinares; La Esperanza Intibucá;
Honduras Central América.
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