Friday, July 8, 2011


Progress is painfully slow here, and it isn’t because people here are actively resisting change for the better.  I think generally people here know what’s right, they know what works, and they know what they would change if they had an “easy button”.  I guess they are waiting for that fictional magic button to show up, when all they really need to do is be a leader and get something done.  Hondurans are by no means incapable of working hard or working smart, they just have some serious organizational issues and a lack of a strong institution that runs deep into society, so deep that it has actually become a cultural trait.  Hondurans are constantly tardy and they have a general lack of pride and vision for the future of their work.  I have already expressed how pissed off the tardiness makes me, and I got over it thinking it was just a cultural difference, but the tardiness is part of a grander scheme of lost sheep waiting to be herded by a guard dog.  The sheep have great wool and their meat is delicious.  These sheep have all the potential to use their resources to better their lives, but without leadership they will continue to be farmed and exploited just as they are now.  I’m not really sure if that metaphor worked, but I am going to roll with it.

I live with a European who has different views on just about everything when it comes to society.  We all were talking about the school and the trouble we are having with discipline and other small organizational issues.  I have been saying from day one that there are some serious changes that need to be made and without these changes the kids won’t learn English and the bilingual program will crash and burn.  She didn’t understand why I would want to change anything, especially since my job is only to show up to work and teach the kids and go home.  I feel that we were brought on to advise Ricardo about how things were run in our schools growing up and implement these things into the school’s curriculum.  Things are changing.  They have been changing for the past 10 years, and the world isn’t getting any smaller.  If we don’t get things done now, I doubt they will ever get done.  I really hope for the world that leadership isn’t just an American trait.   

If you look at every successful bilingual school in the area they all have common traits: a bunch of American volunteers, an American owner, or both.  They are all on the American system rather than the January to November system that we are on now.  I am not saying that it is necessary for the schools to be American run.  There just needs to be some standards, there needs to be a system in place that doesn’t allow exceptions, because if there is a system that allows exceptions here, everyone will take advantage.  The foreign influence gives a school the appropriate system and allows for a no-bull-shit, business first environment that is separate from the local politics.    

I am trying to implement a disciplinary council to take care of the tremendous amount of problems we have in the school.  I told Ricardo that we are no longer on Honduran time, this is international time and we are going to get some things done.  The first thing we need to do is manage the behavior of the kids so that we can have some peace in the classroom and so that the most pressing issue of providing an environment conducive to the best education possible is taken care of.  We want the best education for those kids that we can possibly give them.  I hope that is why all the teachers go to work everyday.

What we want and what we are striving for now is an environment in which we don’t have to spend half the class period disciplining our students.  In order to learn another language, the student needs to have complete focus and actually want to learn it.  There are some students that don’t see the value in it, or more importantly, their parents don’t see the value in it and aren’t supporting their children.  Either way, I think in order to increase enrollment into the school the enrollment must first decrease to weed out those who aren’t committed.  When we establish dominance in the language market in the area people will sign on to learn because they want to and because our process is proven.  

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