| Apr 3, 2017
Coordinator Profile: Astrid
Deeply passionate about education, Astrid has dreamed of being a teacher since she was a little girl. As regional coordinator of 6 preschool classrooms in San Juan La Laguna, and embarking on her 4th year as a teacher for Aula Magica (teaching preschool from the library in San Juan, her community), one could say with certainty that her dream has come true. However, for much of her childhood, Astrid’s chances of becoming an educator seemed slim: from ages 11-13, Astrid had to quit school to help support her family financially. For two years she yearned to return to school, her desire to study taking precedence over everything else. Astrid values education so highly that she hasn’t left the classroom since: because of her past, Astrid gives all that she has to her job as a teacher.
Astrid spent the first 5 years of her life with her parents, before her world shifted. Her father (an alcoholic) left the family, and her mother remarried. Astrid moved in with her grandparents, who’d had 9 kids of their own. Of the nine, only three went to school. Astrid’s mother was one of the three, having completed the 6th grade- an uncommon accomplishment in rural areas of Guatemala. Astrid feels immense gratitude for her grandparents, who gave her all they could: her values, and the opportunity to get an education. Now 75 and 73 years old, they treat her as a daughter, rather than a granddaughter, and Astrid wants nothing more than to be able to reciprocate the care and support they gave her. Still, Astrid felt a sense of lack throughout her childhood, seeing families with kids and full lives and longing for those experiences. When she had to quit school at age 11 to in order help provide her family with extra income, she was heartbroken. Astrid worked daily making textiles and picking coffee, making 15 Quetzales ($2) per textile- a craft learned from her grandmother, and the family’s main means of income. She was embarrassed to not be in school, and had no friends, only leaving her home on Sundays. So when the municipality’s government gave Astrid’s mother a small grant and Astrid was able to return to school at age 13, she did so with a renewed sense of hope, motivation and gratitude. Astrid knows that it was due to the support of many that she was able to graduate with a specialty in teaching, and wants to return the gift to her community; aspiring that all may feel the enthusiasm she feels for learning, and the opportunities that come from it. She carries not an ounce of bitterness from her past, only appreciation; she even hopes to one day reconnect with her father and share her gratitude and positive outlook with him.
For Astrid, the most important thing she can teach her students is that education is fun. To this end, we have to teach in a way that’s fun... so kids want to go to school, and have a desire to learn everything: this, Astrid says, is every teacher’s job. It’s also Astrid’s specialty: she creates a dynamic classroom that’s full of energy, teaching with love and patience to build the best education possible for her students. She seeks to share these values with her peers, so that they too can build successful classrooms and a culture of enthusiasm. Astrid also sees great value in the classroom games played with recycled materials, geared towards developing the minds of her students. She wants to make these games so accessible that they’re played by children in communities all over Guatemala, developing their minds while playing. Because for Astrid, learning and fun are one and the same: she teaches with joy and enthusiasm, motivated by her past to shape bright futures.