Meet the Team!       


 

               Jessica Lynn             

 Kindergarten & Prepatoria Teacher


My name is Jessica Lynn and I am 22 years-old. I am from Ontario, Canada and live in a small town about one hour away from Toronto. I am currently the teacher for both Kinder and Prepa and will be here for the full school year. I heard about this volunteer program through my life-long friend, Lara who was here for the school year last year (2017-2018) and she is currently here for another full school year (2018-2019). I had just graduated from university a few days prior to arriving in Honduras, and I ended up staying and teaching Kinder until the end of the school year (April-June).

My original plan was to relax and enjoy the experience, while only staying for a short period of time, and then go back to Canada to continue with further schooling in September. However, I ended up falling in love with the students, the school, and overall life in general in Cofradia. I decided to return for the full school year, instead of continuing with school back in Canada because I simply could not picture myself enjoying life more anywhere else than here in Honduras. I arrived back in Cofradia in August and it felt like I never even left.

 



Phoebe Howe

First Grade Teacher

Hello all! I’m Phoebe. I’m 22 years old, born and raised north of Boston, Massachusetts. I spent the last four years at Wesleyan University, where I helped to start a tutoring program for local English language learners before graduating with degrees in Spanish Language and Latin American Studies. Throughout my journey as a student I became more and more passionate about teaching, leading me to become certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I spent the better half of this past year perusing the internet for international teaching opportunities, finally stumbling across Cofradía’s Bilingual School. All of these things and more led me to where I am today, teaching first grade at CBS!

 

But guess what? None of those overly-academic shenanigans mean a thing when you are given a class of 31 loveably insane, insanely loveable six-year olds! You find yourself adapting to changes and facing challenges that you have never studied before, and you can’t just dive into a book when you want a solution or an answer. Instead, you turn to the teacher beside you. The volunteer community at CBS gives you everything you need to become the best teacher possible for children who look to you to tie their shoes, wipe away their tears and (of course) navigate the basics of the English language. I can easily say I have learned more about teaching in this past month at CBS than in all my years of studying, oftentimes feeling as if I’m in over my head (and needing somebody to wipe away MY tears!). Teaching at Cofradía’s Bilingual School has been the most humbling and heartwarming experience of my short life, and I am so overwhelmingly happy to be here.

  


 

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     Lydia Fojtik   

Second Grade Teacher

         My name is Lydia and I am the 2nd grade teacher for this year. A little about me, I’m 23 years old and originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I graduated from Mills College in 2017 and have worked in Yosemite National Park the past two summers. I have one amazing little sister who just started her freshman year of high school.

I made the decision to teach at CBS in less than a week and have not once questioned my choice. My class of 30 six and seven year olds makes waking up at 6am worth it. They are hilarious and loving, the community within the classroom is one of my favorite aspects of working at CBS. I love seeing my kids support each other when they are confused or misunderstanding instructions. Although I’ve become very excited when the water is running and have dreams about taking a bath. I can honestly say I feel very comfortable here and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.



 

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     Gisela Esquerda Canals    

Short Term Volunteer: Third Grade Teacher

Hi people! My name is Gisela and I am from Catalonia. At the age of 30, I finished a PhD in neurosciences and decided to take a deep breath. So, I started travelling through Latin America combining both sightseeing and volunteering. Even though my professional career is focused on natural science, social issues are of particular interest to me. This travel has been an opportunity to broaden my knowledge about the social, political and cultural aspects of the communities I have visited. As well, I have been able to participate in some projects which have usually given me more than I have given them. For instance, this is the case of the Cofradia’s Bilingual School (CBS). I wanted to join a teaching project and CBS was the first to answer my application mail. The interview was good, and I was excited to start that new adventure. It was a double challenge since 1) I would teach a group of 31 3rd graders and 2) I would do it in English. My teaching experience before arriving to Cofradía was mainly based on formal education at the university and informal workshops at high school. I had neither worked with kids younger than twelve nor groups bigger than twenty.
However, despite seriously considering to leave the school after the first class, I started to enjoy teaching to those enormous little brains over time. My heart was melted every time someone got something faster than the others and helped them, when they controlled themselves to be silent or to finish an activity, when I asked for a volunteer and they all desperately wanted to be the chosen one. It has been only one month, but I enjoyed it very much. I am sure that the only healthy way to improve the world is education and that is why I deeply appreciate this field, all over the wide range of formal and informal options. So huge thanks to all the people who is making an effort to keep this and other education projects going on!!



 

 

 Doireann O'Brien  

Fourth & Tenth Grade Teacher

  Hello! My name is Doireann and I am teaching fourth and tenth grade this year. I am 22, from Ireland and have just finished up university in Dublin. Instead of buying a car, I spent my savings on a three-week trip here last Summer after I stumbled across this website one evening. I was pretty apprehensive about travelling over on my own and actually came close to staying at home, which I now know would have been a huge mistake. I was hoping I would really enjoy my time here (as everyone does!) but I couldn’t have anticipated just how special this school and its kids would be. Nor could I have fully appreciated just how much of a difference CBS makes to lives of its students until I got here. My short stint teaching at CBS turned out to be such a positive experience that there was no doubt in my mind that I would return, and so here I am settling into a new academic year. I am so thankful and happy to be back, and I am excited to see what the year ahead has in store – no doubt some challenges, some successes, waaay too many dad jokes, and memories I’ll bore my grandkids with one day.



   Zack Wen Loh   

 Fifth Grade Teacher

   Hi reader! My name is Zack and I am the grade 5b teacher for this year. I am 24 this year and I come from tiny Singapore (almost as little as me). Prior to coming here, I studied for 3 years in a university in London. University sucked the life out of me and I knew I needed a fresh challenge to feel alive again. I always had a passion for kids and I combed the internet looking for a suitable opportunity. After coming across CBS and reading the blogs, I felt a rush of excitement and I knew this was the place I needed to be. 

Don’t let Honduras’ negative reputation or your lack of Spanish (you can’t be as bad as me) hold you back. I have never felt so excited to wake up early for school every morning in my life. My class of little devils constantly keeps me on my toes and every day is a surprise. There are times you wonder “WHY AM I HERE???”. Yet there are also times you are overwhelmed with pride and joy as you watch your kids have a great time in class or when they use a new word you taught them. 

It has only been a month since I’ve been here, and I have already grown very attached to the kids and the volunteer team. I can’t imagine how the rest of the year is going to pan out. Why don’t you join the team and find out!

P.S. What are you waiting for? Send Andy an email!!!

 


  

   Lara van Pelt   

Sixth Grade Teacher


Hello! My name is Lara van Pelt. I’m 21 years old and I’m from The Netherlands. I am the 6th grade teacher for the full year. I came to Cofradía two weeks before school started. I wanted some time to settle in and to get to know the area before teaching for the first time ever. I met lovely people in those first weeks who all tried to make me feel at home. I got offered loads of great food and company. After those two weeks I was as ready as I could ever be to start teaching for the first time. I was terrified. But after my first few days I got more and more comfortable with teaching and we were having fun.

 

After graduating high school, I have been searching for the right path for me to follow. I have tried many things but hadn’t fallen in love with any of them. Right now I am starting to feel like I am on the right track. I love being able to make a change. I love travelling, cultures, people and animals. 

 

When I was young I travelled a lot through Europe and the U.S with my parents. The first time I travelled alone was when I was 19 years old. I travelled around Australia for four months and it was a great experience. Travelling alone was something that has taught me so much and I can’t get enough of it. That is why I chose to leave my country again. I have always been interested in the English language and after starting the TEFL course I decided to go abroad and teach. I had never been to Central America and I was interested in going. So I started looking for schools and together with my mom we found CBS. It instantly spoke to me and I immediately applied. I am so happy I have made this decision. I have been here for two months now and it has been an awesome experience. Teaching these children is a great way to make a change. Although some days are better than others and the kids can drive you nuts sometimes, it is all worth it. They are beautiful people and I care about them. 

 


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 Lara McElrea    

 Seventh Grade Teacher


Hi everybody! My name is Lara and I am the 7th grade teacher here at CBS! I am 21 and from a small town in Canada. This is my second year at Cofradia's Bilingual School and I couldn't be happier to be back. I first arrived in Honduras in August of 2017 after my friend Dana told me about the school. I had just finished my third year of university and was feeling pretty burnt out and restless. I thought coming to teach in Honduras would be a fun distraction for a year and if I helped a few kids along the way, well great! I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  

If you're looking for a fun distraction this is not the place for you. 

Don't get me wrong, I have so much fun here, but I came down here with the mindset that I would teach a little bit, travel a little bit, and then leave in June ready to go back to school. Instead I found myself back for a second year, teaching the same group of kids that I couldn't bear to leave (even though they drive me absolutely crazy some days). I didn't find a distraction here, I found a life. 

 

Teaching the same group of students from 6th grade to 7th grade has been incredible. I've watched them go from children to preteens in a matter of months. They are sarcastic, sassy, and wonderful (though I do want to apologize to any teacher I ever rolled my eyes at). They make me laugh every single day and I'm holding them responsible for the fact that I will be graduating two years late. 




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     Andrew McCann     

Volunteer Coordinator & Eighth Grade Teacher

   My name is Andy, from Scotland and I am this year’s 8th grade teacher. This is my 4rd year teaching at the school and it is fair to say I feel at home here in Honduras. I hope you enjoy my bio as much as I enjoy free school lunches and dad jokes.

   I really love writing bios about myself, so first of all, I would say I am pretty amazing and have many talents, but don’t be intimidated if you come to join us here, I can be down to earth if I try. I am a young looking 33 and an average to below average level football player. I also socialize well and can run a mile in 19 minutes.

   I have taught as a volunteer before, spending 6 months in Laos in south east Asia and the experience confirmed in my head that teaching is what I would like to do for the foreseeable future, preferably in a volunteer capacity (finances allowing). How did I end up here? I basically googled free volunteering opportunities and from the 200 plus options on offer, CBS just seemed to offer what I was looking for the most:

A town big enough to have most amenities within walking distance, but small enough to have peace

A school set up for the right reasons

A non corporate volunteer company feel

A chance to learn Spanish

A dorable kids

A good looking bunch of fellow teachers (and Graham)

and most importantly, a small group of people dedicated to helping improve the lives of kids who, in all likelihood, would never have this opportunity without us.

   I knew straight away the opportunity was for me when I saw it and was not put off in any way by the false reputation of the country it happens to be in. The weather here is perfection, even for a pasty white Scotsman and the people are far happier than they are back home. I would rate my choice of coming here 9/10, the 1 point let down being that they do not have any decent beers.

   The 9 though is made by the kids. They can be a challenge to handle at times, trust me girrrrl (inside joke), but to hear them say that one word you taught them the day before over and over again and then to see a kid who never appears to be listening count in 5s from 5 to a hundred without ever showing him how to go that far just makes every day teaching them worthwhile. This year I have gone from teaching little kids to big angst ridden teenagers and I am loving the transition. They give me extra sass, but their jokes are on point and their English abilities after years at our school are truly inspiring. If you come here and come visit my class, or any other class for that matter and don’t immediately want to stay, I will eat my hat and any other hat you can find. 

 P.S. I like it here



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    Daniel Miller    

  Ninth Grade Teacher

Hola amigos! My name’s Daniel, I joined the school in September, 2018. I’ve been on the road now for over three years. It all started in Canada, where I lived/worked/travelled for a little over two years. I then I took myself off to Italy to teach English and that has basically led me to CBS here in Honduras! I wanted a fresh challenge and boy have I found it! Other things I like: sport, travelling, playing guitar, good food, snow and mountains 		</div>
		
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