César Bona

Primary school teacher

"Innovation does not mean wiping out everything, it constant evolution while always thinking about the well-being of children"

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I did not want to be a schoolteacher. All I thought about was sport. Now I am schoolteacher, it is a privilege. How many professions are there where you can invite boys and girls to try to improve the world in which they live?

Not everything can be learned on the internet. The internet is like an ocean — you can find tin cans or treasure. That is one of the duties of schoolteachers: we can invite children to compare the information with what they see, or to transform that information into knowledge. And then, ask them what they are going to do with that knowledge. Because it is not just about learning things; you are a social being. And that's where the task of teachers is absolutely fundamental. We help families to bring up their children. The first model they will have is their families — their parents and mothers — but then there is us. And that's why it is a privilege to work as a teacher, right? A privilege that goes hand in hand, as Spiderman said, with great responsibility.

There are many things that are being done well, but we also have to be critical of ourselves and know that there are many things that need to be improved. Starting by looking at ourselves and being aware that every day we have to do our best to get the best out of our kids. Training is vital, at university and for practicing teachers.

To those about to embark, I always tell them to think once they are in the classroom that it is not just them who will be sharing things — the children have lots to share, too. And the verbs listen, precisely, and share are tremendously important and go both ways.

"Educators and parents must always work together as a team and with dialogue as a tool to help us to move forward"

Happiness is not the destination but the journey. First, that is false. Those who say that focus on happiness and neglect knowledge is a fallacy. It is one of the sayings that we have to try to distance ourselves from. Because whoever thinks that humans are made purely for knowledge and not for emotions needs to take a minute. Right now, for example, we know that a child can learn with joy. Can they learn with fear? Yes. But what happens in the brain varies greatly from one person to another.

In your work, if you are happy you perform better. If you are unhappy, you don't do your best and you may even try to change jobs. But children do not have that option. It is also our mission to make them want to come back the next day. At the very least, we strive for well-being. Children will spend their childhood and adolescence in educational centers. What interests me is learning, but also that the child comes to school happy the next day. If you do not think like that, you might need to consider why. Everything evolves: technology, medicine, transport...everything evolves. And education… Why has education always been associated with resistance to change? That is paradoxical to me.

You can learn so much from children when you put your mind to learning. To do that, we have to go back to the child we used to be, to understand them better and vice versa. But if there is something that they teach us every day, it is to live life simply, to worry about the now and not tomorrow. For child to start to talk in just a few months is infinite. And to find magic in the small things. What many adults don't even notice, children find magical. It is that excitement that you pick up if you are surrounded by children. That is why being a teacher is a privileged profession.

We need to listen to children. And families and teachers, so we can transform all this together. We have to rethink many things, and it is essential that families take part in that. Family is the first educator, then school. For that reason we must work as a team.

Elementary school teacher and graduate of English Language and Literature. Author of books as "La nueva educación" (The new education) and "Las Escuelas que cambian el mundo" (The schools that change the world), he was the first teacher from Spain to have the distinction of being a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize. His educational initiative "El cuarto hocico" was awarded by primatologist and recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award, Jane Goodall. Bona calls for dialogue with students and the crucial importance of teachers as fundamental pillars of education.