FRANCISCO GUAJARDO MEDINA
Profesor de Educación General Básica
Fuente: El Mostrador
** Translation from the original by Google Translator & Thomas Jerome Baker
I remember a situation that occurred in the summer of 2003 when I attended the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil (in protest at Economic Forum in Davos). At that time I began my second year of basic teacher education, and since then I have been motivated by the social aspect, everything social that is linked to education. For that reason, I attended a meeting called Chile Social Forum, which also took place in Porto Alegre.
Upon entering the room, I saw clearly a majority of the Chilean and Latin American people. Among them, I remember seeing a strong Gladys Marin, an admirable person and always a necessary voice for social matters in Chile.
At one point, among all of the presentations and conversations, the issue came up of the value of education as the basis and driving force of social change. Among the many speakers and interventions, a man began to say that he is a teacher, he believed that education was one driver of change, however, he included what guidelines were other major political, economic and endless etceteras. Unconsciously, I started to repel his ideas in my mind . Since my earliest days of my professional life, I began to reject deeply those claims he made.
Consequently, I raised my hand to say, considering how serious I found it to be that an education professional with many years of experience could manifest such ideas publicly. After a moment, I got the opportunity to speak. In expressing my disagreement, I met for the first time how those who think they own the truth operate. I was silenced.
Over the years, recently graduated, I saw that same man who did not believe in education as a pillar of social change, assuming more or less the presidency of the Chilean Teachers Association. I was astounded and thought, “Is there any sense in an education association of teachers if this man is the president? The answer for me was a resounding, No!!! Although we do not always think so, we can not forget how we build a society of teachers.
The president of the association, who we suppose ought to be part of the defense of education -I saw him marching in 2011 with students in the context of social movement from the viewpoint of education- at a time when the great convulsions that Chilean society needed began to take shape, the problem of education began to wake up a sleepy country, and this man was leading! This man, frankly, I do not understand.
What I do understand, after 7 years of teaching in different places, is that teachers are not paying attention to scientific and professional forces that fall short of what schools and colleges have been able to accomplish.
Education is a right and this is not traded or sold.
Further, our dignity as professionals goes largely to defend that premise.
The educator Paulo Freire said:
“I can not be a teacher if I sense more and more that my practice can not remain neutral, calls me to a definition of myself.
A stance. Decision. Rupture …
I teach against the capitalist order that invented this aberration; misery in abundance.
I am a teacher in favor of the hope that animates everything.”
A Way Forward: Change
Theories exist that proposes change from within the current system, the current order, the current frameworks and organizations.
I do not see change from within as viable.
It seems more right and just that those teachers who do not feel represented by the current Chilean Teachers Association take center stage. We must form a new group with autonomy to create new efforts, not only public but solid pedagogical constructions, to make the transformations required that are conducive to our national education system.
The urgency we face is more than a matter of life or death.
As stated in the text by Claudio Naranjo, Changing Education to Change the World (2007): “Learning, in this sense, goes far beyond being a more general theme. The failure in this area is currently in a fundamental way, the focus of world problems.
From this premise, an association of professionals who are protagonists of educational processes is indispensable.
Teachers are called to be at the forefront of the national education debates, and with all due respect that deserve NGOs, foundations and institutions that make concrete contributions needed from other areas like engineering, psychology, sociology and others, which by nature of their quintessential work, school, etc. are vital, still, there must be teachers at the forefront of education proposals, teachers reviewing laws and teachers doing everything that involves the construction of curriculum and educational science! We are the teachers, and this is our responsibility as teachers…
On this, a friend and colleague, Antonio Pulgar, said: “The reformulation of education professionals should not come detached from education and we can not expect students to do the work for us, it is we teachers who must have a greater role in the educational demands, and so far, we teachers have been asleep. ”
From the perspective of teachers is where the contribution of all other organizations and professions would be channeled with a sense of reality. Thus, we would no longer, as they say popularly, “put the cart before the horse”.
My intention is not to insult anyone or attack an existing teaching profession. No, this is not my intention.
My intention is to show what to my mind is a contradiction. It is a contradiction of who currently heads or looks to lead an association of teachers becoming less representative of teachers. This is not acceptable for me.
The new education professionals, in majority, we are not by represented. We do not contribute.
And those who do contribute, will have to face the fact of having to bond with ideologically politicized structures, which are far from the idea of building “Education from the Classroom to Society.”
We make a call to teachers to form a new independent union that completes the current dialogue with civil society.
We make a call to be learners, that is, to settle in a permanent learning and collaboration to generate educational structures from our vision of teachers from the classroom every day.
We call for self respect and self decency without waiting to be summoned and organizeed by others, others to do it for you and us. We can not let others do for us what we are supposed to do for ourselves.
We make a call to be teachers 3D in this XXI century that is well underway.
So we may become, at all times, as expressed by Paulo Freire: “Teachers”, the ultimate goal of the teaching profession, and no longer be called “uncles” or “misses” (tio o tia).
Teachers and guardians of the dignity of Educating for freedom is what we ought to be, can be, and must be.
It takes at least 25 committed and dedicated people to begin a new Chilean Teacher’s Association. I am in. Who else? Who says, “Me too? Who says, I?”