Still Curious S2E12 - Maria Fernanda Puertas
    Maria Fernanda Puertas

    The hardest part about leaving teaching is that emotional backlog you have, and the feeling that you have betrayed the community, and that is imprinted in your personality and who you are when you are a teacher.

    The guilt is terrible. When you make that decision, and this is something that after connecting with many teachers that had also transitioned into the edtech industry in diverse roles, they all quote the same thing.

    Danu Poyner

    You're listening to the Still Curious Podcast with me, Danu Poyner. My guest today is Maria Fernanda Puertas, who describes herself as a Latina tea lover and cat lady who is passionate about the science of learning and community building. Today's conversation is all about what happens when a mingling of interests meets a sudden change in priorities.

    It's about the moments where you change from being one kind of thing into another, how that happens and how you update your self understanding along the way. It's about teaching moments and learning moments, the beating heart of education that enables each of us to reflect on our experiences and capitalize on those reflections in ways we can put into practice and that move us forward.

    Maria Fernanda Puertas

    Basically it was retrospective saying maybe I have always been this, but I'm just realizing that this is a thing to be.

    Danu Poyner

    Maria had been a teacher and a head teacher in Argentina for 10 years when she suddenly found herself in the hot seat at the start of the pandemic.

    Maria Fernanda Puertas

    The academic year started on March the 11th. On March 13, we stopped attending schools and we never came back. I went home and spent, seven, eight hours, just writing an email because in that email, we had to communicate clearly reassuring the entire community that we knew what we were doing when actually we had absolutely no idea

    Danu Poyner

    . It was a heady time and brought into focus for Maria, the importance of being part of support networks and communities of practice, what student wellbeing really means, and discovering the challenges of dealing with parents who ultimately needed something that the school was not really there to provide.

    The whole experience caused Maria to reflect on what was no longer working for her about the school system and how she could leverage her strengths and interests to reconnect with what you loved about education by making the transition to learning design and operations.

    Maria Fernanda Puertas

    I just knew that I wanted to work in tech creating, or supporting learning platforms or learning resources online because there was a huge lack of those. If I can support my 200 teachers with a training session on how to manage a video call, imagine what I can do by designing a resource that can support 1 million teachers.

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