What moves me as a Teacher

Today I want to share with you my journey towards becoming a teacher! Like many of us, my childhood was not an easy one. My mother raised me. She was a mother and a father and she always told us “study hard, because studying can transform your life”.

Still very young, I opted for the Magisterium and afterwards I studied Literature, Pedagogy. I specialized in Portuguese Language and presently I am studying the Master in Education. Studying is part of the teacher’s life.

Something that always caught my attention was dismantling things and playing with carts. Precisely here was where I suffered my first frustrations! I constantly heard this was a boy thing and not a girl. I was reprimanded so many times. Those marks are still with me until today. Therefore, I always try to demystify these issues with my students.

During my professional life, I had a moment that I had to work in the industry area, which I accumulate with my teaching job. And, this was my first contact with Technologies.

In the industry, I worked in the ​​Human Resources’ area and had to interview young people, often recently graduated from high school. I try to call their attention towards their curriculum that always highlighted their good references to the use of technologies. However, in practice they could not accomplish what they described as experience in their curriculum.

This experience was crucial for my teaching career, because it help me to understand our students’ needs when it is time to work in the job market.

It is essential young people have contact with the technologies in their early school days. And when the opportunity come to be a teacher of Technology at Public School, I applied and was approved by the School Board.

I made a bold proposal of working with Culture Maker, Programming and Robotics in a community of extreme poverty without having solid knowledge about the subject. What moved me was the purpose of transforming the lives of those children and young people by using technology combined with critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and empathy. Our goal was to transform a problem brought by students that was the community’s waste into their learning curriculum.

Together, we created the Robotics with Scrap metal, which was born from the problem of waste. Through public sessions, we raise awareness within the community about sustainability. We collected the waste from the streets and took it into the classroom to transform it, applying the curriculum’s knowledge in an interdisciplinary way, creating scrap prototypes.

As a result, we collected 1 ton of garbage from the streets, improving the school’s Basic Education Development Index by reducing school dropout.  Moreover, we contributed to raise the self-esteem of students, especially of girls, who now speak confidently about their expectation for future.

Recently one of my students, Jayne Leticia, shared “She gave us challenges ahead of us and made us believe we could beat them. In the community, we do not have technology, but she told us it was possible to have it and use it to improve our lives. It is a gift to see how much working with technology has transforming the lives of students and how much they are owning it, proving that it is not the place we live in that determines what they can be and achieve. They are the ones who determine it; boys and girls!

The school plays a key role to use technology as a driving force for learning and fostering actions to engage and demystify the idea that computing is a Man’s Field. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Technology is a plural area, increasingly democratized!

As a teacher of Technologies, many young people sought me to share my own journey and my work. We are conquering our own voice and space and proving that we are professional and we can be where we want!

The time has come for us, women, to break old paradigms and to reclaim our space, being able to be in classroom and or owning technologies to leverage learning/ teaching.

Contribution by:

Débora Garofalo – Graduated in Literature and Pedagogy, with a specialization in Portuguese Language by Unicamp, and a Master in Education by PUC SP.
She is a Teacher in the Public Schools’ network of São Paulo, Brazil and she has been teaching Technologies for five years where she created Robotics from scrap waste.
She is also a Columnist in the field of Technologies for the New School Magazine’ s website and also for Modern Publishing.
She is an Ambassador Professor at the Ayrton Senna Institute and a speaker at major National and International events, including Latinoware, Campus Party, Bett Educar, Havard University and Oxford University. She is a winner of great Prizes, among them Teachers of Brazil 2018, MIT Challenge of Creative Learning 2019 and she considered one of the 10 best Teachers of the World by the Global Teacher Prize 2019, worldwide known as the Nobel of the Education.

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Banner image by: Caroline Lima