Rising to the Challenge and Thriving

Last night Braztesol Maringá proposed a challenge, they selected a few brave teachers to talk about the challenges they have been facing since the world pandemic broke out and the ideas they found in order to overcome these challenges.

Now, as a teacher and also as panellist at the event, I can tell you it’s quite easy for us to speak about the challenges we have faced, as there have been so many of them. Speaking for myself, before the pandemic I was already: mother of 2 (which by itself already says a lot even when the world hasn’t gone completely mad), wife, daughter, sister, home owner, cook, cleaner, boss, teacher, teacher trainer, Storyteller, school manager and owner, school coordinator, student, friend, citizen and many other roles which although varying slightly, make up the daily lives of a regular person. These roles alone are challenging and when we think what we’ve had to take up on top of all that, looking back just sounds insane. Suddenly, taking our children to school was out of the picture. Family meetings on the weekend? Out of question. Going to work? Sure, at home. But ok let’s stick to the subject at matter. What was that again? Ah, yes successful ideas we’ve come up with to deal with unprecedented times. Unprecedented times…did I mention we had 7 minutes to speak and 3 to answer questions? It’s almost impossible to imagine a teacher being put on a limit to speak right? We are, a great many of us, so absolutely passionate about what we do that it seems almost insane to imagine we might need to talk about the problems we faced, the solutions we came up with and the results in only 7 minutes, but guess what? We did it! With a lot of self control and a little help from our Braztesol friends, but all in all the ideas and solutions shared were amazing.

Imagine if we had been given 30 minutes? Personally I found some of the ideas shared especially important, all of them were important of course but some of them left a more lasting impression. The first one was creativity. Every single panellist demonstrated high levels of creativity and passion when speaking about his or her chosen topic, that alone to me is amazing. Nearing the end of this turmoil of a year and we are still all going strong and keeping motivated. The next topic which made me feel warm inside, was the fact that in absolutely all the presentations given, teachers were always more worried about how their practices impacted on the authentic interactions between them and their students than their actual teaching methodologies. This is often taken for granted in regular in person classrooms so seeing that all the presenters were more concerned with the “person inside the student” 🙂 put me in a happy mindset.

Another fundamental question which seems to be becoming of more and more awareness to teachers (thank God) is the importance of keeping our own (speaking on the teacher’s side) mental health in order. In my own presentation, where I spoke about how I dealt with challenges when teaching Young Learners, mental health was one of my own solutions, not really a solution it should really be a basic self care practice, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower (which are both also linked to mental health) but one which we often tend to take for granted. Without this last factor all the creativity, passion and amazing ideas cannot flourish and often lead to other serious consequences of which I won’t dig deep into right now.

So, just to wrap things up, I know…I wrote a lot…remember what I said before about how easy it is for teachers to ramble on about their work? Bruno Albuquerque, Hulgo Freitas, Jessie Vidal, Miriam Figueiredo, Adriano Zanetti, Guilherme Guerra, Marcilene Reinert, Vanessa Oliveira, Ricardo Cezar and of course the brilliant Henrique Moura thank you for spreading your ideas and helping to build this stunning worldwide community of teachers who go way beyond their roles to make teaching and learning better every single day!!



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