Words of wisdom around teaching

Admittedly, teaching was a job I was hesitant to accept given my lack of experience with younger folks and desire to work with a more adult population. Let’s be real, I’m a huge advocate for access to education…which is probably why I was so adamant about not teaching. Poor souls. But, as I have started to describe my understanding of what my job will entail, I’m looking to be more of a professional friend. JVC emphasizes the importance of accompaniment, a trait that has become of utmost importance in all of my volunteer or work positions in a sense. Heck, it actually has just become a basic tenet of what I believe it means to be a good human being. If we are opening ourselves to sitting in the vulnerable honesty of our stories, our realities, our passions and our obstacles, while meeting each other with open arms, then we are creating spaces for genuine growth and community. A friend asked me yesterday, “Why is honesty so important to you?” I just replied that honesty opens ourselves to conversations with ourselves, our communities, and our beliefs in higher powers…whatever that may be. Creating an honest, open, and trusting environment will hopefully  be my goal. Yes, easier said than done…but I’m getting ready for it. This may seem like a rant, but I believe this is the only way I can enter into teaching–a job in which I have  zilch experience, zero credentials, and sweating at the idea of lesson plans or disciplinary measures. (Even just typing that is nerve-racking). I know that I am not a licensed professional at teaching, and I do not enter into Peru pretending to be one by any means–yes…even with my USA passport, degree, and white, freckled skin. Instead, I hope to emulate some of the caring traits that the educators in my life have openly shared with me. It is only in this evironment when liberation of the mind and soul happens. 

Another friend sent this to me on Facebook  and I just loved it. Of course, it’s from the FB page of Paulo Freire, a Liberation educator in Brasil, whom I adore (but really….check him out. Google him right now). Paulo–yes, first name basis–quotes Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet, feminist, and educator. She was also the only Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The English translation will follow…

DECÁLOGO DEL MAESTRO (The Teacher’s Ten Commandments)
~Gabriela Mistral

Ama, si no puedes amar mucho, no enseñes a niños.

(Love, because if you cannot love, then you cannot teach children)

Simplifica, saber es simplificar sin restar esencia.

(Simplify, because to know is to simplify without reducing the essence of the message)

Insiste, repite como la naturaleza repite las especies, hasta alcanzar la perfección.

(Insist, because repeating will then allow them to remember the information naturally)

Enseña, con intención de hermosura, porque la hermosura es madre.

(Teach, with the intention of beauty, because beauty is like a caring mother)

Maestro, sé fervoroso. Para encender lámparas has de llevar fuego en el corazón

(Dear teacher, be fervent. Because to have them learn and want to learn is to light a fire within their hearts)

Vivifica tu clase. Cada lección ha de ser viva como un ser.

(Give life to your class. Each lesson must come alive like a human.)

Cultívate, para dar, hay que tener mucho.

(Cultivate, because to give, you must have)

Acuérdate de que tu oficio no es mercancía sino que es servicio divino.

(Remember that your position is not a commodity, but rather a service of the divine)

Antes de dictar tu lección cotidiana, mira a tu corazón y ve si está puro.

(Before you conjure up your lesson plans, look into your heart to see if it is whole, pure, and present)

Piensa en que Dios te ha puesto a crear el mundo del mañana.

(Believe that God has place you here to shape the world of tomorrow)