By: Prof. César Antonio Uribe Neyra, M.ED A letter for Teachers´ Day - July 6th. Translated from the Spanish by Luz Miranda-Valencia, and published with gracious permission of the author.
Warmest greetings to Everybody!!!!! BEING A MALE TEACHER, BEING A FEMALE TEACHER
Not long ago, I wrote: “Daily we see many teachers crossing and walking along streets in the city, but there are also many thousands of them who do not walk along streets, instead they navigate rivers, walk through bridle paths, and many of them after many weeks of staying in their communities go down to a city or a populated area nearby. That teacher is the teacher who understands the commitment and spirit to be above those adverse conditions and is focused on teaching, and overcomes everything to be with the students”. … Nowadays, overnight, and for little more than 100 days now, many things have changed, and with those changes many of our teachers are not with us anymore. They stopped navigating our Amazonian rivers, they stopped walking through bridle paths; now at home, many are working hard to bring on-line or through other remote channels their teachings to the homes of each of their students. We can also say that today many suffer from the effects of this pandemic or have been infected.
In spite of this situation, -and I state that our teachers are valuable and very important- they possess a mystic that maintains them in their fair fights for the welfare of education, as well as for their professional and personal development. To be a teacher today is to give oneself and to serve others, imparting instruction that enables the growth and development of the personality of the students. Our teachers overcome material and moral adversities that jeopardize their teachings. They encourage the growth of students as persons enabling the consolidation of their personality, so that it develops in a comprehensive manner and with integrity. To be a teacher in Peru demands double strength: ethical and moral. Ethical, because the teacher should maintain a steady attitude towards reflection, which means to observe, to assimilate, to analyze reality and then to determine those aspects that should be transformed. And it is moral, because teachers perform in a set of norms inspired by values that also regulate their attitudes and professional and personal behaviors.
Having that in mind, they prepare by acquiring an inclusive view towards cultural, linguistic and geographical diversity, and also to respond to a diversity of subjective views and perspectives from the students. The challenges of the Peruvian reality require from them a commitment to transforming our education. That is not resolved only in one unique way. Not always the problem can be reduced to the economy as only factor, we should also have a vision and a conception of education. Do we educate to form persons or only to instruct them? What do we educate for? Do we educate to maintain the same reality and inequity? Do we educate to forge a more human, more equal, much more fair and participative society?
As we celebrate Teachers´ Day soon, we cannot fail to make a stop to reflect in solidarity on the situation that thousands of teachers are going through and suffering today. Let us join them by extending our hands -extending not only our financial resources but also our pedagogical ones. May our reflection turn into actions. Yet, it is also entirely appropriate to speak out, so that authorities may benefit them. We do know about the difficult situation of our country, we are all inside this difficult situation and, of course, so are our teachers. Through ethical, serious, intelligent and fair commitment to teaching practices we can contribute to changing education. Changes are achieved with a lot of hard work, changes are achieved with changes, and we should also go through changes in our minds and hearts. I think that we, the teachers, are called to bring about and become the agents of the historical changes necessary in the Peruvian education.
Hugs, César -------- About the author: Professor at The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, College of Education. Professor of Philosophy of Education -Theory of Education and Educational Trends, Professor of the course Socio-Emotional Skills for the Diploma majoring in Educational Orientation, Tutoring and School Coexistence – Professor at the Master of Education, of the Contemporary Curriculum Policies Seminar. Professor at Antonio Ruiz Montoya University.
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