Why teachers?

Victor Civita Foundation believes that Teachers are fundamental in improving the quality of Brazilian Basic Education. They have the opportunity and the challenge to positively influence the lives of their students, despite all the difficulties.

In the 20th editon of Educador Nota 10 Award Ceremony, in 2017, the following text was read:

“Why does one become a teacher?

The question is not easy to answer. But the world is not just about easy questions. Each of us disguises, for fear of appearing pretentious, but deep down we really like the hard questions. Or we’d still be in the caves.

Why does one become a teacher?

On October 15, we celebrate Teacher’s Day. On the Facebook timeline, the ever present and omnipresent social network, a history teacher in Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), named Felipe Pimentel, published that day a simple but profound post about the teacher profession. In other words, a letter. It says:

I have two professions. In a sense, they are opposite, because as a psychologist I sit listening, and as a teacher I stand talking. In another, they are complementary: both deal with memory – psychology with the individual, and history with the collective. My mother, Bia, was a Portuguese teacher and a school principal. I remember being very small going to her school and watching her passing a saying or dealing with the difficult everyday situations involving directing a school. My godmother Cecília has dedicated her entire life to education. My best friend Marcelo started teaching when he was still a kid. I chose early to be a teacher, and a history teacher, with much admiration for my College professors. One of my best friends, Simone, was my College teacher, whom I only teased, and who ended up teaching me that teachers welcome challenging students, rather than reject him.

In the meantime, teachers who have taught me literacy have become classmates, lecturing thousands of students in various cities. When I arrive in many places, people receive me with a resounding “teacher”! And that gives me a good feeling. Many find me and say “you teach in high school, that must be difficult …”. And my reaction is strange, because for some reason things are easy, fluid and happy for me: I have too much fun with the students and as I understand their anguish, they also have a lot of me to accept.

Why did this all happen? Why this choice? Why these influences? Where did they touch me? What insistent memories, what is your strength? Why is it that so many people find it difficult and unfeasible in this country (Brazil)? Why?

I do not know.

I never found the vaguest answer.

I think being a teacher is asking yourself that question until the last day of life. It seems to me that these influences, teachers and friends, these memories, all these feelings and the pleasure of teaching, are not the answers, but the partners in the attempt to answer.

Maybe when we respond it, the enchantment will end.

At the end of the letter, Professor Felipe thanked all his teachers, his profession colleagues and, of course, his students, wishing Happy Teacher’s Day!

Well, Felipe, we do not know the answer to the question of why become a teacher. But one thing that does not have a single possible answer, but thousands of possibilities, is something of extreme and absolute value.

A teacher is not one. Like all of us, human beings, teachers are a world of possibilities.

Text by Jeffis Carvalho, read by Dan Stulbach.