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Winner of the student competition: International teacher about how to show all life

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This work is one of the 10 winners of our competition Profile competition 2022. You can find more here. Brian Mittliderauthor, 17 years old and goes to Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Florida.


Brian Mittlider

It was an American dream. They had a house in the suburbs. A minivan was sitting on the porch. Their son studied in kindergarten. But despite the fact that each of them worked 12 hours a day, she and her husband drowned in debt. She said to herself, “There must be a better way than this.”

While visiting her husband’s old high school in Argentina, she found him. Six months later, the house, car and country dream disappeared. Her decision? Teach abroad.

For 20 years, Karin Mariani has taught thousands of students from three countries. In every culture she felt – let it be an open-air community atmosphere in Buenos Aires; a new intensity, similar to Vegas, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; or the spirit of liberation in São Paulo, Brazil – she accepted the view that “every day we make choices about how we want to live. Create your life the way you want. Deciding otherwise is a waste of life. ”

Since then, Ms. Mariani has moved on to teach students at private schools in Brevard County, Florida. In this interview, edited and summarized, she reflects on her experience in international teaching and beyond, especially her time in Dubai.

When did you decide you wanted to go teach?

I had no plans to teach. When I was studying literature in college, I never asked myself what I was going to do with it. In my 20s, I worked as a bartender, sneaking into the 1996 Olympics, completely unintentionally. When I decided to go to the curriculum, it was organic. In general, that’s how it goes. You come across something, say, “It’s a good idea. I’ll do it and see if I like it. ” I appreciate that a lot in life is luck. This is. Present.

You seem to have been very influenced by Dubai. Why did it affect you?

I liked the kindness of my Emirati students and their parents, the invitation to their homes. It was something I had never experienced in the United States. We may not be building community as a cornerstone of our society as some other cultures do.

Dubai’s policy went against my low instincts. I believe in democracy, women’s autonomy and not the politicization of identity. I had to come to terms with the fact that I chose to live in a culture where my values ​​might not match, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t be in a class full of students and show them kindness and compassion, and much more that supported my value system.

How did you feel, feeling so many cultural shifts when you moved?

In every place where you live, there is so much growth because of these cultural differences. There is no doubt that part of you will break off when you leave. But listen: the students are the same, from the ultra-progressive girl in Sao Paulo to the indoor, Muslim Saudi girls in Dubai to the students I have now going through the debutante process. There are several interactions that are different. There are small cultural things I need to think about because I respect the place where I live. But I talk to them the same way.

Do you expect to teach internationally again?

Now that I’ve got the professional positions I wanted and lived where I wanted, I don’t know what I need more is this crazy life. Now, maybe all I need is a tiny yoga studio on the street and the beach in front of it.

Is there anything else you would like to convey?

Most of my generation, when we were 17, did not consider themselves citizens of the world. Your generation has such great potential because of this little box of world knowledge that you have in your hand. The problem is that you have to use all this sensory information that floods you from the screens to find a path that will be calm and quiet. Hopefully the teacher’s task is to teach you to get rid of all the noise and find exactly what you are looking for.

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