By Kelly Evenson
Bessy Morales knows the United States has a good education system. In her native Honduras, schools are not as well equipped with technology and supplies, and many teachers do not have the kind of training that is present here.
That is why Morales believes it is important for Honduran teachers to continue traveling to the U.S.
“We have the ability to take some of these ideas back with us to Honduras,” she said. “We know there are things in this education system that our country doesn’t have or might never have. But we can take many of the ideas we have seen here and implement them in our schools.”
Morales was one of six Honduran teachers who have spent the last two weeks in Independence. They are here as part of the Friends United Program, which began with three Independence teachers in 1987. During their stay, they have toured schools, visiting a variety of classrooms to see what U.S. teachers are doing to increase student achievement. They have also had an opportunity to do some sightseeing.
“When we started this program, we were just going down to Honduras to help the teachers and take books and supplies to the schools,” said Cindy Frerking, a volunteer and translator with Friends United. “We found we could reach more children and teachers by offering seminars and finally by bringing Honduran teachers here to the United States.”
Morales said the teachers are eager to see how discipline is enforced within the classroom as well as to get some ideas on how to implement a reading program. Until recently, reading was not a priority in Honduran schools. Aside from teaching it in other subjects, it is not a large focus.
“We are just now realizing how important reading is to the education of children,” she said. “The buildings here are so clean and decorated. Many things we see here are applicable to our schools in Honduras.”