Educational Coach in Acajutla, El Salvador.
“I have a great commitment to the children, especially given that they are so young and need to have basic knowledge of maths and numbers”
Karla María Muñoz is a teacher at the Centro Escolar Caserío San Cristóbal, Cantón Miravalles, located in the rural area of Acajutla, department of Sonsonate, El Salvador. She has been teaching since 2000, despite having a very different origin.
Karla began by studying in architecture at university and was fascinated by all subjects related to numbers. Although she was unable to complete it, she always had the desire to continue learning mathematics. In 2000, she graduated as a teacher and started teaching first-graders in a public school. Years later she had the opportunity to opt for a speciality, the one she yearned for: mathematics.
“The Ministry of Education gave me the opportunity to study a second specialisation in my teaching course and so I trained in mathematics. Years before, when I had quit architecture, the taste for maths had lingered and life took me in another direction: teaching. Specialising wasn’t too hard, because I really enjoy mathematics”
Adapting maths to digital education
For the past three years, Karla has also been supported by ProFuturo in her teaching work. The school has tablets for teaching children and she has been trained to implement these tools in her classes.
“We were invited to the project and all my fellow teachers and I organised us to participate in the trainings for using the suitcase in class. I was nervous and scared the first time I had this kind of class, but neither I nor the children found it difficult! We’ve all become familiar with these tools”
Since the arrival of ProFuturo at the school, Karla has been very eager to receive training. Despite her many previous responsibilities as a teacher, she always showed an interest in learning, in being supportive to her colleagues and not giving up. In addition, she had the opportunity to take part in various trainings and workshops. Her proactivity has even led her to participating in the national ProFuturo teachers’ meetings, and she has had the opportunity to attend a bi-national meeting as well.
“I went to several trainings where I got to know the installation, the elements and the tools of the suitcase and where we would do practical training. I also joined online training sessions for tools such as Classroom and Meet. I felt that I learned a lot and that everything was very practical.”
Teaching during COVID-19
Karla currently teaches second-graders, with whom it has been a challenge to work due to pandemic-related school suspensions. However, she became even more committed to the education of those who cannot easily access distance learning.
“I had several cases of children who could not get their classes. Last year I was in charge of first grade and made a personal decision to go door-to-door, delivering printed guides to parents free of charge, in addition to making home visits to children who could not receive materials or lessons online because they did not have mobile devices or internet access at home. My family would sometimes tell me: why do you go? you’ll catch coronavirus, but I have a great commitment to the children, especially given that they are so young and need to have basic knowledge of maths and numbers.
Teaching mathematics virtually has been a big challenge for Karla, but her previous experience with ICT training thanks to ProFuturo, her commitment to children’s education and her ease with technological tools have been key in facilitating her work and the children’s learning. During the suspension of classes due to the pandemic, due to the difficulty of parents who did not have resources, she was unable to provide classes through platforms such as Zoom, but she sent her classes via WhatsApp and made home visits to children who did not have access to her materials due to lack of devices.
“With the help of ProFuturo we had several trials to connect with the children, but some of them could not see the images because of the type of device they had at home or could not connect. The solution was to start filming myself giving maths lessons with the help of my son. I then edit the videos and send them to the children via WhatsApp to their parents’ phones.
“Even in the face of adversity, Karla’s characteristic enthusiasm remains. She is a problem solver and is at her colleagues’ disposal when they have questions or ask for help in using resources or creating online lessons. She is self-taught and the ProFuturo team has seen how she has never given up, and instead always goes a step further on her own. “What I like most about ProFuturo is that they have brought technology closer to the teachers and students with limited resources in the communities”