I have been part of Proakatemia’s international team for a year. It has provided me a lot of different kind of experiences on international relations. I have visited an academy in Switzerland and been part of creating a network with other students there. I have been introducing our educational system to Brazilian teachers and university owners for a week with simultaneous interpreters. I have met a lot of different nationalities and seen a lot about the educational systems of other countries. I have learnt how to tell everything that is essential about our way of learning. Still I think that one of my best experiences has been co-operation with a Dutch university.
As a project I went with one of our coaches to the Netherlands in Eindhoven to coach teachers to become coaches. The university is making big structural changes in their educational system based to Proakatemia’s model. They are pioneers in their own country and in their university as well. It is not that easy to be there, standing alone against the old system and trying to build something totally new.
It is so funny how much resistance Proakatemia’s way of studying can cause. We are lucky because we have been here for almost 20 years and we have a lot of data (not enough though) that provides proof of the value of our existence. We are really lucky that we can say that look, we don’t do grades and we don’t tell the students what they should be doing but still we have the best results in so many fields. And still we can trust our students.
It is so much harder to start doing changes from scratch. It takes a lot of courage to be the pioneers. It means standing alone. I read this book of Bréne Brown, called Braving the wilderness. It is about the sense of belonging. Brown has been making a research about connection and sense of belonging for 15 years. She tells her own story about feeling misplaced all her life and how doing a research on these kind of things like vulnerability is not really much appreciated in the research field.
I could see this struggle of standing alone in the eyes of the Dutch coaches. What I really appreciated was how much they seemed to care about their students and about the success of their system. That kind of devotion is beautiful even though it is combined with this fraction created by the thought about being worthy.
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.
Price is high. Reward is great.”
– Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is quoted by Brené Brown in her book. It really hits me. Price is high. Reward is great. I really loved reading her book, as reading her articles or watching her TED Talks too. It gave me so much to think about my own existence.
It is not very easy to do something new. Or to be different. A lot of my personality is there only to create disturbance to these existing power structures. You know, things like how to act, what to say and not so say or the place of a woman. So that is what my personality creates, disturbance. And sometimes I forget that and then I feel surprised when people react to it in a negative way. Silly, huh? It used to hit me in my sense of self-worthiness, but not anymore. It almost made me to go back to my shell and act the same way that I thought I was supposed to act.
One of the most important things that I have learnt in life is that you can’t act the same and wait for a different result. It is really deep in my mind and it guides my actions every day. I have reached this certain point that I don’t care that much about what other people think, I just test what happens if I act or say or do something that I haven’t tried before. But where it has led me is something pretty awesome.
I have been so grateful of these opportunities that I have gotten. Or created, depends how you see it. Now I have reached my goal of working on international projects. Which would never have happened if I would’ve done everything the same way that I used to. I’m being paid for traveling to another country to coach and create something in a co-operation with amazing people. My work is appreciated because people know I will be honest, not despite of it.
I have also been able to bring value from this project to my team. I’ve been sending them to the Netherlands to take part in the project and work with the Dutch students. It has led to increasing interest towards international projects in my team. I love it! I know that I can’t really do that much alone since I’m only one, imperfect person. But imagine what we could do us a team in this field.