Tell us a little about yourself
As a child, I dreamed about becoming a teacher. Envisioning my future, I placed my stuffed toys to sit quietly in front of me facing towards the small blackboard I had in my room. Occasionally I would make sure my neighbour and my brother also participated in the lessons on subjects I don’t recall anymore. Soon, school life actually started for me, and that dream started to fade away. In Mexico, where I grew up, the focus on competition, grades and exams quickly overwhelmed me, and I became gradually unmotivated and deeply disenchanted with schools.
However, several years later, I watched that famous Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson on “Changing education paradigms”, and reconnected with that early aspiration of mine, but now from a different perspective: I wanted to help transform education and schools as we know them. I studied my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education in Oulu, Finland, and I have been working in different formal and non-formal educational organisations and schools in different countries. Most recently, I worked for four years as a class teacher in Espoo, Finland, and the more immersed I became in the world of education, the more passionate I became about its relationship with equity, the environment, children’s rights, and wellbeing.
I’m interested in exploring matters related to gender, social justice, the environment and educational policy. I love spending time in nature, roaming around forests and swimming in the sea. I also enjoy exploring all kinds of arts and crafts: writing, knitting, painting, singing, jamming, dancing - I think creativity is nourishment for the mind and soul!
Why do you want to work at HundrED?
After several years of working at different schools and educational organisations, there’s one thing that has become clear to me: education is key for our sense of community, and our sense of community is an essential aspect of our wellbeing. I’m thrilled to join HundrED as the Community Coordinator since this is an area where I hope I can foster a sense of community -especially among our Youth Ambassadors- while addressing educational matters.
I have always admired HundrED’s role in the educational arena, and I have learned about educational innovations around the world thanks to it. Being able to connect with passionate individuals and organisations around the globe is a constant source of inspiration. Furthermore, HundrED has shown a deep commitment towards working with teachers, guardians, schools, innovators and policy-makers alike in order to support and transform education.
Why should we change our schools?
Schools play an important role in crafting the society, values and culture around us. Traditional schooling with its one-size-fits-all methods has long disregarded children’s holistic development, especially of the most marginalised ones. Schools need to change to ensure the wellbeing of all children and youth, and adapt to different emerging needs to have a more sustainable future.
Educational transformation can’t happen without listening to teachers. Almost every teacher I know puts all their heart and soul into their work and wants the best for their students. The profession, however, has become more and more demanding, and teacher burnout has become a worldwide phenomenon. This is yet another sign that school systems need to be transformed and that teachers need to be supported in more ways by policymakers, guardians and innovators alike.
Schools, at their best, are communities where we get to develop life-long values such as a sense of belonging, social skills, and learning to learn. Children and youth are not only the future; they are the present - and they deserve to be seen and listened to with attention and care, respecting their own rhythms and supporting them to make sure they flourish in their own personal ways.
Why is innovation in education crucial today?
Innovating is important because it allows us to rethink and improve practices that might not serve us anymore in order to transition towards the future we hope for. Through innovations, we can solve very practical challenges in our local environments, as well as address broader global questions.
Three HundrED innovations you love and why
1. Redes de Tutoria - While living in Mexico, I had the chance to work with this innovation, so it has a special place in my heart. The Tutoría method puts deep dialogue between students at its centre, and it empowers students to be the tutors and tutees of one another to ensure deep and meaningful learning.
2. OpEPA - Bringing Nature into Learning - I love pedagogical practices that involve direct contact with nature, and this innovation equips children with a culture of care towards the planet. The more we learn about nature, the more we will cherish it, and the more likely we are to protect it.
3. Segni-Mossi - This innovation has creativity at its core, and encourages learners of all ages -children and adults alike- to explore their own artistic expression with a combination of movement and visual arts. So empowering!
Linkedin: Anna Paula Herrera