Lower School News
1. You have several degrees in a variety of subjects, including a PhD in political science. You worked for many years in banking and consulting, both in Spain and in New York. What led you to teaching after this?
Moving to São Paulo gave me the opportunity to devote a couple of years to finishing my PhD. The first time I got involved in education was during my dissertation research. I was writing my dissertation on governments investing in education as a tool to prevent corruption. Soon after, I began volunteering with a nongovernmental organization in São Paulo, teaching English to empower women and young people and helping them to achieve their goals. Working with these students helped me understand the real struggle of people who come from low-income families and go to schools with little funding. This made me recognize how much a difference a teacher can make in a person's life.
2. How and when did you end up in Brazil?
After living in New York and Madrid, my husband was transferred to São Paulo for work. We were very excited because we had heard it was a dynamic city filled with culture and good food. We decided São Paulo was a good fit for our family.
3. You have five children. What’s the hardest part of having a large family? What’s the best part?
Whenever I say I have a large family, people ask me about the amount of work it involves and the level of noise. But having a big family is more than just work and noise. I love having a large family. For me, the best part is that there is always something happening, and there is always someone to share that with you. There is never a boring day at home. Someone always has a new topic to talk about, a new situation, or a new pet to take care of. My days are filled with events, from sunup to sundown.
The hard part of having a big family is that we can never sit together when we fly on an airplane. When we go to the supermarket, we sometimes need to get two or three carts, and we have to go back and forth to get everything we need.
4. One of your hobbies is hiking. Where have you hiked?
I have hiked many places around the world, from the desert to snowy mountains. But I always enjoy going back to my very favorite place near my village in the north of Spain.
5. When you are happy, how do you like to celebrate?
I like to celebrate with friends and family at home. We enjoy cooking together and spending time in our garden.
6. You teach math. What is one mathematical concept that many people don’t know but should?
I usually find that many people believe that mathematics is mainly about speed, which seems to be confirmed by my grade 6 students crying over long division or having to compute fractions. Many people incorrectly believe that being good at mathematics means being fast at mathematics. I don't think it does. I believe that we need to dissociate mathematics from speed. We no longer need students to compute quickly; we have computers for that. We need students to think deeply, to connect methods, to reason, and to justify. That is why I feel so happy working at Graded, where we promote critical thinking skills and perseverance over fast computation.
7. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
I really love being part of our community. We have felt welcomed and cared for since we first arrived. I have two sons who have already graduated from Graded, and we have seen how the school’s diversity and strong core values have prepared them for the “outside world,” promoting their critical thinking skills, their respect for diversity, and their appreciation for kindness. My other three children participate in all sorts of academic, sporting, and community events, which provide my family with enriching experiences. As an educator, I enjoy the diversity of our student population and its energy and enthusiasm. There is always something going on at school! I also appreciate working with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds. It makes our working environment a rich one. Graded is also constantly improving, applying new trends in education, and promoting continuous teacher professional development.