I became a teacher by
Don’t get me wrong.
It’s not that I don’t love teaching.
It’s just that I had a different plan for myself. I didn’t even
considered a career in education back then.
It seemed… well, dull.
Maybe it was because
of the way I was taught. Oh, I loved to learn. And I was always a good student.
But school felt more like the necessary constrain all children had to go
through to comply with a secret order, -one that only grown-ups could grasp-
and the burden we had to carry on until adulthood.
There were many things
I was interested in that I never got to learn at school. And then there were
many things I was sure I could do without, but had to rattle endlessly towards
perfection. School was deciding what I
was to learn, when was I to learn that, and how I got to learn it. I had no say on that. And maybe neither had
There were of course
very good teachers, interesting classes and fun things to do. But they were, at
least where I came from, scarce and hard to find, like little fireflies
shinning in a sea of darkness.
How could I even think
about becoming a teacher? A ringmaster
of a pathetic circus where children are painfully trained and –if well behaved-
applauded by their encircling society?
Then I became a
Founding a school is
no piece of cake. But even more difficult than that was to live with the
thought of the school system slowly chewing away my son’s individuality and
natural love of learning.
I borrowed money from
my father, sold my car, rented a small
space and opened a preschool with 17 children, including my own. I had no experience and no training. I hired a couple of teachers and began to
teach myself. It was so much harder than
what I had anticipated. I was exhausted and broke, but happy. I came to respect and admire the teacher’s
profession. It was truly hard work.
I studied at home to
get my teaching degree and eventually got a Master’s as well. The school –and
our kids- began to thrive. I found my element.
From the very
beginning, our school, “Colegio Valle de Filadelfia” searched to embrace
diversity, promote collaboration and provide rich opportunities for learning.
We focused heavily on arts, music, global awareness, physical excellence and
challenging academics. We soon opened
elementary classes and some years later also received secondary school
From the time I taught
my kids at home, I had become fascinated with the brain and learning. Over the
years, the model for our school evolved and was eventually franchised. Now there are 5 schools operating in
different cities of Mexico. Two international schools will open in 2016: Costa
Rica and Brazil.
I have been a teacher for some years now, and I have taught children from preschool to secondary school. I work mostly with little ones - early reading program - and with teenagers, in the subjects of History, Geography and Technology.
My team at Colegio Valle de Filadelfia is committed and passionate. I have been fortunate to have great learning and growing opportunities. In 2015, I received the ALAS-IDB Award as "Best Educator in Latin America" by Inter American Development Bank and Alas Foundation. That same year I was a Top 50 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize by Varkey Foundation, an honor that would repeat for 2016.
I said before that I
became a teacher by accident. But that might not be completely accurate. It is
true that I was not expecting my life to take the path of education. But once I
found myself there, it was my decision to stay. The discovery of a passion for
teaching was the accident. To embrace the teaching profession was a choice.
(Excerpt from "Flip the System: Changing Education from the ground up" - I contributed with a vignette for this book by Jelmer Evers and published by Routledge)
Reading, movies and travel are my definite favourites!
"Dream big, work hard". This is our school's motto.
My favourite author is Gabriel García Marquez. I also love Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, and poetry by Neruda and, if feeling a little irreverent, Bukowski.