Winner of the Global Teacher Prize shares her keys to reinsertion

María Francisca Elgueta became the winner for the general category of the Global Teacher Prize Chile, the highest educational recognition in the country, which she won thanks to her outstanding work in school reinsertion. This award is known as the Nobel for Teaching, which seeks to recognize and highlight the effort and dedication of the thousands of teachers in the country’s educational system. The prize is known in the midst of the worrying levels of desertion that are registered in Chile.

The History teacher works at the Bretaña de La Granja School, where her students are young people who have been excluded from the educational system and who have returned to the classroom to finish their schooling in a 2×1 modality. The winner He pointed out that many students have stopped finding a welcoming space in schools that meets their needs. About his work and how he sees the educational scene in Chile we talk in future with Maria Francisca Elgueta.

I am still very excited with all these feelings, full of inspiration and learning to share with all the finalists.

Why did you focus your work on reinsertion?

I have been working in a context of great vulnerability for 10 years. I have seen how with a culture of high expectations, with a job well done, with the conviction that we change lives, and from the beginning I felt that there was something special. He managed to hook the students and make them passionate about history, which he managed to make vibrate and convince them that it was important. This is how I opened up to new, more challenging spaces, I was in different towns in Santiago until 2020 when I decided that school reinsertion would be my new challenge, there is still a lot of work to do. It was necessary to convince the students that the school was an important place.

Regarding reinsertion… How can one reinsert a young person? Which is the work? Or the key…

There are two important elements here. The first is the work in schools and teachers, to create a space that is safe for students. Those who were expelled are extremely hurt by this space, the courage that is required to return means that we offer a space that is unconditional, because they are students who were taught that this space conditions their presence. Today, post-pandemic, how we handle the socio-emotional issue and how we work on it is a national priority.

When I speak of a culture of high expectations, it means that students, and especially those who are vulnerable, must be provided with the best quality of education. There is an important element in everything we do. Responsibility must be returned, to reinsert a student there are many factors as to why the student left these spaces. Society has to have these conversations even if they are uncomfortable. What is happening with the children who have to go out to work, like the immigration crisis, we all have to take responsibility for that.

We are talking about the context of a power, how only one of the children is rescued from something that is obvious like drugs, organized crime…

Violence is condemnable in all its forms, for the same reason, the school space is a training space. They should have the support, for a child to do that kind of thing means that we fail to access housing and many other things. I believe that schools must be given the support they need, understanding that they fulfill a function that is much more than just educating. We are solving housing issues, food, I have no doubt that a regular school does not want to expel a student who just does not have the support to support him. We need great supports that we are not having. I believe that there are many factors and we must provide support to schools so that they have the entire network of things that we need.

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Winner of the Global Teacher Prize shares her keys to reinsertion