Notes from an old teacher: educate with models and stories (I)

“Do I bother you? I’d like to talk to you,” he said. It was around 4 in the afternoon, and I was eating in the SETAB cafeteria. He was a teacher who I later learned worked in the municipality of Jonuta (161 km from Villahermosa). “No, you don’t bother me. If it bothered me I wouldn’t eat here, I would go somewhere else.” And he sat down and talked to me about his proposals for his education. I listened very carefully. And he said that teaching should be based on models and mythical or real stories, which move the student to think, reflect and improve. And he told me one of those stories.

“MILÓN DE CROTONA, in Greece, was a skinny boy who announced, being mocked by everyone, that he would get to participate in the Olympia games. All who heard him laughed. All scrawny, ñengo, they would say around here, they didn’t see him There was no future or possibility in that adventurous announcement. Only days or weeks later they would see him carrying a small calf on his shoulders from home to work and from work to home. As the days went by, the calf was gaining weight, and with As the weeks and months went by, it increased more and more, in such a way that Calf and Milo both developed, in what is called the “principle of progression.” The greater the load, the greater the development, and the greater the development, the greater the load. Discipline and effort will always pay off.

IN SUCH A WAY THAT a year and a half later the calf was already a bullock and then a 400-kilo bull, which was what this mythical boy Milón was already able to carry, in such a way that carrying said animal he arrived at the coliseum where the Games were held. Olímpicos, put the animal aside (it is also said that, cruel, it killed it with one blow) and faced his rivals, becoming champion of the sports joust. And he remained champion for 25 years, not only in said and famous games in the city of Olympia but in all competitions “.

I TOLD THE TEACHER that I fully agreed with him, that a set of stories of this type should be edited, as didactic material, that when exposed to the students, they generate reflection that remains as a lesson for life, let’s say. That is to say, to raise and reflect on each one of them. And that there were two per month in each of the grades; if possible one per week. We talked for a long time, I told him about other stories of this type that I know (of Diogenes and his lamp lit by day walking through the streets of Athens: what Socrates said to his students before he died condemned to drink hemlock, etc) and that of course formative films should be screened, with stories of overcoming, effort, personal struggle to emerge from all obstacles.

NOW WITH THE INTERNET and educational videos circulating all that is much easier. After that talk with Jonuta’s teacher, I saw three illustrative videos of adults who remember very well the way “one” of his teachers managed to arouse in them that interest in learning. In one, the person tells of his math teacher that one day he asked for non-perishable food to qualify them for the month. The person who tells the story says that he was terrified because in his house there was nothing to eat, much less to take away. The next day the teacher called the students one by one based on the list, to deliver what they had brought. Only he (the one who counts) was jumped on the list. And before he finished, he decided to go to the desk and say: “Teacher, I didn’t bring anything because there’s nothing in my house.” “Your grade will help me carry all that,” the teacher replied. And when they left with the load of groceries, he told them: “I know that there is nothing in your house, that’s why I ordered the groceries, they are for your family, but none of your companions will know.”

HE HIMSELF COUNTS THAT he liked mathematics. And that for a weekend the teacher left a lot of exercises on equations and vectors and I don’t know what else. Then the classmates came to him (the one who tells) to ask him to do the exercises together and for him to explain them to them. And they would cooperate to give you an economic amount in return. So they did. They all got good grades in the results. Then she told his teacher that he had earned some money. And the teacher, laughing, told him that he had put them precisely for that, so that he could help himself. That is to say: the teacher knows his students and knows who is about to drop out due to economic problems, and he can now raise it in the school Technical Councils, to see how this dropout can be avoided. (These continue notes in a second part…)

Notes from an old teacher: educate with models and stories (I)