A puppet who acts as a mediator in the class and a round where words are put together to talk about the right to play. The best known song suddenly becomes a unique moment and discover that solidarity and joy can be fostered as a life practice. All this can happen in a school, hand in hand with teachers who make each experience a learning opportunity.
Teachers from different realities share anecdotes from this time of work in the pandemic. Those stories as short as they are powerful that reveal how important affects are to learn.
“The generational bonds that are woven in life in schools function as emotional support to the extent that they help to deal with social pain,” says Doctor of Education Carina Kaplan.
The educator – consulted by September- considers that “the unprecedented experience of the pandemic highlighted the importance of care as a relational practice.” And it is precisely in school life where “one learns about sensitivity for the other, about caring for oneself and others”.
Thus thought – he adds – “the school is undoubtedly an institution that leaves traces” and where “the intersubjective school experience means getting involved in the humanity of others.”
When anecdotes begin to roll –the educator understands– they also become an opportunity to understand how school life is configured. “Learning at school is organized through affective circuits. What we feel individually becomes shared learning when experiences are socialized. That is why it is necessary to legitimize all feelings to be able to share them and put oneself in the place of the other ”.
Carina Kaplan is also a professor at the Universities of Buenos Aires and La Plata, as well as a researcher at Conicet. A key theme of his research is that of feelings at school.
“And the chinstrap?”
Mabi Poremba and Luisina Almada They are 5th grade teachers at School No. 798 Vicente A. de Echevarría. Mabi also works at School No. 94 and Luisina at No. 154 Julio Bello. Always from Rosario.
They met days before the pandemic. When Luisina arrived (she is from Villa Mugueta) to school 798, recently titled as a teacher and sharing the 4th grade with Mabi. “Only four days of being together”, they say of how the isolation forced to rethink all the plans. Instead of “parallel teachers” and working by areas, they gave way to common projects. Networks and communication by WhatsApp made their contribution as well.
“We prioritize the bond”, they mark where they stopped to teach in a situation never before experienced and where they had to make use of the known and not also. But undoubtedly the key character who encouraged the meetings was “Manu”, a puppet created by the teachers inspired by Manuel Belgrano.
In 2020, its students were in the 4th grade, where the promise of the flag and the closest story run through the daily curriculum.
2021 arrived and also the return to the presence. Until then in the grade they only knew “Manu” through the videos. He was the mediator in learning.
Happy with the return, Mabi took out the puppet in the middle of the classroom, but without noticing that the character did not have a chinstrap. “Sir, you are not complying with the protocol,” the girls and boys automatically marked him. The teacher immediately followed that creative game given by the dialogue to get out of trouble: “But Manu, how did you forget your chinstrap!”
“He just had another one in his pocket, I put it on him and we continued the talk about the protocols. But they have you will claim the care measures ”, assesses Mabi with Luisina. The two rescue the gear of pedagogical proposals supported by playfulness and the affection that they displayed in this hostile time.
The most valuable word
Maria Soledad Chervo She is an entry-level teacher at School No. 144 Juan Larrea de General Lagos, where she is in charge of the 5-year class. He is also an educational scientist and is pursuing a doctorate in the field at the National University of Rosario (UNR).
In 2020 the garden hours passed, communicated mainly by WhatsApp. “Always with playful proposals”, he points out. But what was expected was the return to the meeting in the room that they were able to specify in 2021. “Never have these face-to-face spaces been more precious to me. The gestural, putting the body is unique in education, I think it is irreplaceable, “he says.
And the day came when they entered the garden room. María Soledad suggested that each person sit in a round in their chair. “The looks, the body, the gestures took on movement, the words did not stop coming out. That day, the exchange shifts cost a lot, since everyone wanted to put into words their experiences, experiences, ”says the teacher.
The space was enabled to do Philosophy for children, a moment of the day where the accent is placed on “learning together to express ourselves, to defend and base ideas. To think about what each one can do for the common good ”. It is there – he points out – where fascinated girls and boys express their feelings and pose their questions.
In one of those meetings they worked the right to play. “We work that it is a right. Simon said, “a question”; Malena, “a way”; India said “one word”; Ignacio “have friends”; Lorenzo «come to the garden». Iara appeared saying “have fun”; and another Nacho saying “play”; also Renzo, who said «costumes» and Nereo, «play at being» ”.
María Soledad rescues from that encounter the dialogue and the collective construction achieved. The answers on the right to play were also taken to the notebooks that serve as personal blogs, where each person keeps the word they feel is most valuable.
Lucia Marconetto She is a 1st and 2nd grade teacher at School No. 613 Ovidio Lagos de Rosario. A school where, he assures, works very well with families, something very encouraging to go through the pandemic.
Lucia is also a union activist. Just before the mandatory isolation, he was carrying out territorial work in the Los Pumitas neighborhood. And although he sets out to keep a distance between what he does at school and in the community, practice tells him otherwise.
This happened in December 2020 when the neighborhood asked them for a hand to collect toys for Christmas. “We were in tremendous trouble. We had 200 toys to collect in less than 10 days. We organize it together with the Education Workers Front ”, Lucía reviews.
The call was uploaded to his WhatsApp status and circulated on the networks. She also asked her fellow teachers for help. And without going directly to the mothers at the school where he works, they found out.
“These mothers organized themselves to collect the toys, to bring them to my house and take turns washing them and leaving them in good condition. My house was transformed into a toy store ”, Lucía celebrates of what she defines as a very significant move.
“My childhood was very happy. I was going to school happily. I had possibilities to know different worlds. This is the task that we have to do, regardless of whether it is present or not. It is about being able to accommodate all childhoods ”, Lucía explains about a task that requires military joy on all fronts.
Between games and laughter
Maxi Ponzetti He is a 5th grade teacher at School No. 1333 Dalagaic Quitagac (Nueva Esperanza). A bilingual intercultural school in Rosario.
Maxi’s story starts at the most difficult moment of the pandemic: that of the strictest sanitary isolation that forced schools to remain without physical presence for a long time. A situation that for the reality of School 1333 was exacerbated by not having access to connectivity.
“The bond with boys and girls was completely difficult, knowing what that means for teachers today,” Maxi confides.
But 2021 came with the possibility of a face-to-face return and the day that children are celebrated was an opportunity to strengthen themselves in the meeting. “We take the opportunity to celebrate Children’s Day with a recreational, playful day with lots of music. We had an incredible time between games and laughter, making us forget even for a moment this sad reality that we are living. That feeling can only be generated by girls and boys and their energy ”, the teacher chooses to put in the foreground.
Another physical education class
Analía Del Fante She is a physical education teacher at Centers No. 2 and 15, where students from different schools converge. He also teaches in the faculty of ISEF N ° 11 in Rosario.
One of the biggest challenges that the pandemic posed for physical education teachers was adapting to virtuality. “A different place from the one we like so much to be, such as the playground, in contact with the students, in the game, looking at those little faces that say more than words,” says Analía.
That is why today he is certain that 2020 was a “difficult year for everyone but also one of much learning”. To cope with this reality, the professors divided tasks, thought out activities and designed proposals so that “everyone could do them, alone or with others, with elements that are in any house, they had to be playful, fun and contribute to the distraction of all ”. As the days went by, the screens were added and there they began to know more about the homes of their students. The families appreciated each initiative.
In those trials of doing school in the pandemic, Analía remembers a very special video that came to them in response to an activity sent. “This is a well-known song that we send to beginning-level girls and boys and it says:«I am a snake that walks through the forest adding a part of its tail …»We always imagine that the return video would be at most one or two more little brothers singing. But in that video we saw five very young children, playing, singing this song in a very precarious, very small house with a cement floor, joining in this activity. We were very happy, because we were able to give the family a moment of joy and distraction ”, recounts Analía from what also represented a valuable educational opportunity.