1. What is a typical school day like at My Little Red House Bilingual School? The school currently runs from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Typically your schedule will consist of teaching about 6 classes a day. Each class is 40 minutes. There is a break for snacks. The school is approximately 200 or so meters from the volunteer house. Everything in town is within a 10 to 15 minute walking distance. Walking in town is safe, even in the evening.
2. How do you plan your lessons? Our school can provide you with textbooks and we expect them to be filled out by the end of the year. Though all volunteers are required to use the textbooks and syllabi for each class as a guide, most importantly,volunteers are encouraged to use their own teaching styles, methods, ideas and creativity for their classes. Teachers have the freedom to design and conduct lessons as they see appropriate using skills, knowledge, and personal qualities to develop lessons.
3. What kind of teaching experience does a volunteer need in order to come and teach? You must be a fluent English speaker in order to come and teach here. You do not need any prior teaching experience but we welcome experienced teachers as well. You must enjoy working with children and also be willing to work hard, be patient, and flexible. You do not need to speak Spanish, as all English classes are conducted in English.
4. What is the average class size? Class sizes are small. They range from 1 to 15 students which allows for greater one on one attention by teachers.
5. What subjects could a volunteer potentially teach? Volunteers teach English in the following contexts: reading, phonics, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, science, and social studies.
6. What are the dates of a typical school year? The school year runs from the beginning of February until the middle of November. Vacation runs from the end of November, December, and January. Dates are extremely flexible, meaning that they could change at a moment's notice. Though there are no classes, the school still requires help preparing for the upcoming school year so we welcome volunteer teachers at anytime during the year!
7. What do volunteers do on the weekends? Volunteers usually spend their weekends hiking in the nearby mountains, taking weekend trips to nearby attractions, using the internet when/if it's available, reading, hanging out in the volunteer house and studying Spanish. Ocotepeque is a border town located 10 minutes from El Salvador and 30 minutes from Guatemala. It is very close to the two countries, as well as the Copan region of Honduras.
8. What are the housing accommodations like? Volunteers will stay in the volunteer house, owned by the Penman family. The home is spacious, has running water every other morning for a few hours, lights in some parts of the house, beds, and typical furnishings. You have WiFi access in the school and your house.
9. What if I want to come and teach for a period of time that is longer than a tourist visa permits? Upon arrival you will receive a tourist visa of 90 days. If you are planning on staying longer than that you need to leave the Central America and the volunteer will need to travel at their own expense to either Belize or Mexico to avoid an extra expense for a violation of the tourist visa in Honduras. After traveling to one of these countries the volunteer will be able to get another tourist visa valid for 90 days.
10. How long does the typical volunteer stay in Ocotepeque to teach? The amount of time varies for each volunteer, but most long-term volunteers stay for as long as they can. For short-term volunteer opportunities, time varies from three days to several months.
11. What does a typical meal consist of in Ocotepeque? Our program will provide lunch and dinner. Meals consist of vegetables as well as small portions of chicken, eggs, rice, meat and tortillas. All the food is cooked in purified water. Volunteers eat meals prepared by the family. There is a grocery store near the house. There are also numerous smaller stores with snacks for when you need to buy something else. In addition there are some restaurants to choose from in Ocotepeque.
12. How many other volunteers are at the school? We try to have four to six volunteer English and French teachers during the school year.
13. What countries are the volunteers from? We have hosted volunteers from all over the world. You must be a fluent English or French speaker in order to volunteer.
14. What is the weather like in Ocotepeque? During the day the temperature is typically between 70 and 80 degrees F. It is often mostly sunny or partly cloudy. At night the temperature is usually 65 to 75 degrees F. Our rainy season is from May/June to September but it rarely rains for an entire day.
15. How many hours is Ocotepeque from other major cities and towns? Ocotepeque is a 3 hour bus ride from San Salvador, El Salvador. San Pedro Sula, Honduras is a 6-7 hour bus ride away. The Copan ruins of Honduras are a 5-6 hour bus journey from Ocotepeque. Tegucigalpa, Honduras is approximately a nine hour bus ride away. Esquipulas, Guatemala is less than a one hour bus ride away and Guatemala City, Guatemala is about a five hour bus ride away from Esquipulas. If you go by car, the time to arrive at any of these towns is significantly less; good luck getting a car. Buses run through Ocotepeque many times a day.
16. What do volunteers wear for teaching? Volunteers wear casual and simple clothes. You can wear jeans or pants, and a collared shirt or T-shirt. Some women wear longer skirts. Your clothes should not be tightly fitted and should not be revealing in any way. You can wear flip flops, sandals, or sneakers. You do not need to wear expensive clothes or jewelry.
17. What about insurances ? The school does not provide health insurance or travel medical insurance to volunteers. Contact your personal healthcare provider to determine if your healthcare plan will cover any medical expenses that you may incur during your stay in Central America. We suggest considering purchasing traveler´s insurance to cover medical expenses and other issues that travelers typically encounter overseas. It is recommended that you do some research and see what option best suits you.
18. Hospital, vaccinations and healty ? Honduras has no immunization requirement. However, Many travelers choose to get immunizations for diseases like hepatitis A and B. Talk with your doctor at home before departing to find out what is right for you.Note that hepatitis immunizations and other vaccines sometimes require 2-3 appointments over a 6-month period. Plan accordingly.
Bring a supply of any specialized medicines with you (including birth control), and we recommend a supply of contacts or a backup of your glasses. Women may want to bring tampons, as these are hard to find in Ocotepeque.
Medical care like routine doctor's visits and dental cleanings can be cheap, starting around L100 ($5) without lab fees. Common medicines like antibacterials can be found readily at pharmacies, often without a prescription, and you will find many generic prescriptions there as well.
There are doctors and clinics in town that can address most medical issues. In the unlikely case of an emergency, there is a 24-hour clinic in town. If the problem exceeds its capabilities, there is a large and very good hospital in Santa Rosa (2 hours away) and a hospital in San Salvador (2.5 hours away) that is equivalent to a major city hospital in the United States.
19. I need to speak spanish ? It is not necessary to speak Spanish, though coming to Honduras would provide you with a wonderful opportunity to practice.