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Belén García Villena

Elementary mentor

I chose Teaching seeking other realities, attempting to change what I always believed was wrong in the traditional school. I settled in the degree specialty of Music because at that moment I was studying as well in the Conservatory, and music was part of my daily life. Music also understood as body, pleasure, source of knowledge and way to approach and care for others. However, I became sad and disappointed when I started my teaching internship, since that revealed as very similar to my childhood schooling memories. Besides, my internship tutor was a very old fashioned teacher, who taught me nothing but what I did not want to do. Therefore, I thought that maybe education was not meant for me, and I had to keep searching in other places for my dreams. At that point, after finishing my degree, I moved to England and worked as an au pair for one year. That experience changed my life. It helped me mature, having the chance to live the experience of taking care of two children, living abroad, and learning another language. After that year, I made up my mind to study a degree in Humanities, followed by an Erasmus Mundus Master in Gender Studies, in my path to explore how to make the world a better place. In such path, I lived for years abroad, in Germany, Hungary and Dominican Republic, getting to know other cultural, speaking and educational realities. For many years I felt like formal Education was not what I thought it should be. However, I kept on studying educational topics from a theoretical approach. It was way after, through an annual course in group facilitation, that I reconnected with Education as a way of accompany students, and not from authority and imposition. That fact gave me hope that other projects could also think of Education from a loving, respectful and caring idea. Thus, I started working in a private school and I realized that, despite its deficiencies, teaching was indeed my path and I needed to get deeper in it. I went to visit the Paideia school, where I confirmed that other educational experiences had been already a reality for a long time. Therefore, I immersed myself in trainings on respectful learning and active pedagogies, together with different observation works in order to learn as much as possible about this thrilling reality.

Nowadays, I am happy for being able to work in Mayrit, a place where education takes part from a different approach, focusing on child development, caring, nature, and learning interests… and even if it could look like a dream, for these girls and boys it is a reality everyday.”