My Youngest Sixth Grader

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Monday, January 22, 2007


Only Nine Years Old

I'm dying to tell you about Sherlie. I did not have a picture of Sherlie at the beginning of the year. She had been absent when they took the picture sent to me, back in March. It turns out that Sherlie is my youngest student. She was only nine years old at the beginning of the year. She had the first birthday at the beginning of the year, but all the other kids have since had their birthdays. Here's how the ages currently break down:

Age 12 - 1 student

Age 11 - 7 students

Age 10 - Sherlie

Sherlie is a ball of fire.  One of the first things I remember about Sherlie is from sometime in the first week of classes.  Our rooms are setup in a way that noise from the other classrooms and the hallway are forever present and bounce around in our own room like a pinball machine.  Sometimes itīs more like working in a factory than a schoolroom!  From somewhere outside our own four little cinder block walls came some music with a funky beat.  Sherlie reacted immediately by jumping out of her seat and demonstrating a very impressive hand and hip thrusting action that I can only imagine many strippers in the U.S. clubs would be jealous of!

Actually, Sherlie is a wonderful young lady to work with.  She consistently recieves the second highest grades in the class, nipping at the heals of the oldest student, our twelve year-old Josselyn.  She is very bright and speaks very good english, for a ten year-old living in Honduras.  She is quick at math, learning new vocabulary words, even for science, and gives just about everything her best shot.

She is the smallest of all my students, as well, but does not slouch or hide in P.E.  Sherlie plays dodge ball, capture the flag, and kick ball, all with gusto.  This is also a place where she already knows how to use brain to overcome brawn.  It doesnīt always work, but sheīs always trying.  You canīt imagine how I feel sometimes, even when she is causing trouble, and she looks up at me with those cute little brown eyes, and says, "Meester J.B. ...."  However, even when she is in trouble, be careful how quickly you jump onto her pity train.  Sherlie knows how to work the system!

Sherlieīs father is somewhere in the U.S.  He came home to visit for Christmas, and like many Honduran men sends money when he can.  I would have liked to have met him, but it was not in the cards this time.  He was here pretty much at the same time that I was in the U.S.  And while I donīt believe I ever take the place of her father, I hold tenderly in my heart the times she comes to me with tears in her eyes because something has been lost, or she has been hurt or treated unfairly.  And, of course, the happy moments and all the times in between tears and hip thrusts.  My life will never be the same as pre-Sherlie.
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doulos on

Jon, Thanks for the post. I really enjoy this type of vignette. Keep them coming. Is there a kid there like me that is always picking on his younger brother? :-)

Your brother Steve.

luyk on

Hi from Smiley
Hi Jon! This is the first post I recieved and I loved reading all the older ones. I just think you are such a special person. As someone who's been teaching forever, you remind me why I started teaching in the first place! I am so proud of you, and I hope you are doing well. I have had some scary health issues going on this fall. I'm sorry I haven't kept in touch, or sent the supplies. I will be sending a couple of boxes next week, so expect them. Your students sound wonderful, and I know they are so lucky to have you. You are changing their lives for the better. I loved seeing the picture of your smiling face Jon! You haven't changes a bit! Keep smiling, Karen

dudbud on

Dudbud sez Hola, LJBP from the Eye-Zell of Palms!
Hey Jon: Hope this finds you enjoying the summer in Honduras; thx for sharing all the updates on your adventure in education...when you're next 'headed home' stop by your former stomping grounds...can't wait to see you again. I love you, buddy! Keep up the great work & keep the 10-43 a'comin'! dudbud

dudbud on

geography101notBme. . .
. . .OK. . .so you are N of the E. . .but it's gotta FEEL like summer, eh?! [my friends from Canada taught me that, 'doncha kno?' ]. . .

5251 on

Hi Jon!
It sounds like Sherlie has a special place in your heart, Jon. Young children can do that to you (sometimes)! I'm sure she is very happy to have you as her teacher and a positive male figure. I hope your experience continues to bring you many rewarding moments.
Take care.

inessaallen on

Dear Jon
Dear Jon,
I miss you a lot. Sorry, was not able to call you at the time you were in the US. When are you going to be back? How are you doing? Did you lose weight? This is so exciting what you are doing. I am proud of you. Please, get in touch with me if you can via e-mail.
Sincerely, Inessa

jbtheflea79 on

Re: Dear Jon
Hey, Inessa,

I'm sorry I missed you, as well. I hope you enjoyed your holidays in Vegas! Yes, I believe I lost some weight initially, when I was sick. But I believe I have gained most of it back. Thanks for the message. It's great to hear from you.


jbtheflea79 on

Re: Hi Jon!
Hey, Jackie!

It's great to hear from you. Thanks for the online note. Yes, Sherlie does have that place in my heart. Just thinking about her now causes this big smile on my face, and I can see her, in my minds eye, at school earlier today. She's an all-out trip! I wish all of you could meet Sherlie.



jbtheflea79 on

Re: Dudbud sez Hola, LJBP from the Eye-Zell of Pal

Wow, it is good to hear from you. It is like summer quite a lot. Today, I think, and one day last week, was back over 90 degrees. I am working on getting air conditioning - a gift from my folks - , the old gringo that I am, but don't have it yet. Please email me and send a translation of '10-43' Mr. copman. When I get back to the states I would love to see you. I miss you, my old friend and roomate.

Jonny B

jbtheflea79 on

Re: Hi from Smiley

Just writing your nickname makes me smile. :-) I appreciate your support, Karen. It is good to hear from you, and I'm glad you've been able to access my travelpod. I'm interested to know that my experience reminds you of when you first started teaching. Was it really this rough?! I envy the other volunteers, here, who have teaching degrees, and feel as though I'm getting a bit of that specialized education, right here on the field!

Thanks for everything, Karen.


p.s. - don't feel as though you have to send supplies, although I will welcome them, mostly because of who they would come from...

jbtheflea79 on

Re: Sherlie

I don't know what you're talking about! An older brother, picking on his younger brother? Unless, of course, you're talking about me and Philip? :-)

I believe my next update will be about Katherin. She's quite a young lady, and I would love to share a little about her with everyone.

Love you,


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