A Day at the New Hope School: Local Teachers

Written by Lucía Dávila, Guatemala CIty, Guatemala

Meeting the teachers
at New Hope School leaves no doubt that they are there not only because of
their love for teaching but also because of their love towards their students.
Every step of their way is based on their students’ well-being, and the
connections they build with their students are more than just requirements of
their job.

The teachers provide
a classroom environment where the kids can feel free and safe, undergirded by a
sense of community.

They use basic, simple techniques that create a
community sense in their classrooms:

– Working in small groups
– Singing in a circle
– Holding hands
– Sitting together

They also use
different techniques for classroom management, mounting visual reminders on the

– Traffic light system:
all students start the day in the green light.
– Bathroom system: if
the circle under the bathroom sign inside the class is the color red, it means
a student went to the bathroom; if the circle is green, it means all the students
are inside the classroom.
– Free time Area (área de tiempo libre): a specific nook
inside the classroom where the kids who finish first can find games or
worksheets to entertain themselves while the rest of the students finish their

Classroom essentials:

– Frases
de cortesía
– Reglas
de la clase
– Valores (moral values)
– Daily schedule
– Mural: crea, imagina y piensa (create, imagine,
and think).  This is where all the work
that the kids have done during class is located.

The teachers also use
textbooks as a guiding tool but not as the whole content of their lesson. They
try to involve dynamic, physical activities during class for the kids to stay
focused and engaged.

– 6th grade
teacher Jose Luis plays “Pinocho dice…”
(Simon says)
– A 4th
grade teacher uses the “asking hat” (akin to the hot potato), which is a hat
with facts or descriptions on it. It introduces the topic of the lesson.

The teachers have computers at
their desks, so you can appreciate the use of technology in the classroom. For
example, the preschool teachers play educational songs and videos on the
computers to their little ones.

The schedule is different for
each grade, and each teacher has her/his own agenda. A teacher creates a plan for every day and every subject of
the following week, and the coordinator is the one in charge of revising it. Faculty
planning sessions are held in the afternoons once the students have left.

– The coordinator has individual meetings with every teacher to give them
some feedback and discuss any struggle.
– The teachers have a general meeting once a week where they talk about
challenges, make suggestions, offer feedback, and more.

Last but not least,
the work of those dedicated teachers does not stop after school hours end.
There are two New Hope School tutoring sessions:

– Math:

  • Monday: 5th
    and 6th grade
  • Thursday: 4th
  • Tuesday, Wednesday,
    and Friday: Primary students

    – Homework program: every day from 12:30
    to 3:00, two teachers provide homework assistance for the kids with learning or
    behavioral difficulties. This service is available from Kinder (4 year olds) to
    6th grade.

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