Teacher’s Day: professors are enthusiastic about resumption of in-person classes after pandemic
Whiteboards, marker pens, regular pens, paper and folders. These are some of the tools that teachers and professors used the most in the past. Today, following the pandemic, the structure of classrooms has been changed by online learning platforms, electronic devices and screens. However, educators continue to enjoy and feel passionate about teaching.
October 15 is Teacher’s Day in Brazil. The idea is to recognize these important professionals, who make a big difference to people’s lives, from elementary school to undergraduate and graduate education.
In order to celebrate these illustrious figures, who enrich our day-to-day lives with knowledge, FGV News interviewed some of FGV’s professors: Gustavo Kloh of the FGV Rio de Janeiro Law School, Maria Cecília Asperti of the FGV Sao Paulo Law School, Aloisio Araujo of the Brazilian School of Economics and Finance (FGV EPGE), Marcela Canavarro of the School of Communication, Media and Information (FGV ECMI) and Marco Antonio Teixeira of the Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP).
Why did you decide to become a professor?
Gustavo Kloh (FGV Rio de Janeiro Law School) – I have been a professor at the FGV Rio de Janeiro Law School for 17 years. My interest began in the research area, with a master’s and doctorate. I started off on the research path and over time I became involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching.
When you decide to teach at university, you are deciding to remain in education indefinitely. The university becomes your home. The thing that excites me most about my career is that all the good things a university has – friends, new ideas and a place to meet, learn and exchange ideas – are perpetuated. They never end and they stay in your life.
Marcela Canavarro (FGV ECMI) – I have an undergraduate degree in journalism, a master’s in communication and a doctorate in digital media. I seek to use all my academic and professional experience in teaching, as a professor at FGV.
I looked around and thought that we needed to think about new formats, new paths, new approaches, to give students a better understanding of messages in communication. That’s when I started thinking about teaching and I began my master’s and doctorate. Thus, I embarked on the path of being a professor. Based on my practical experience in my master’s course, I was sure I wanted to be a professor so I then did my doctorate.
Maria Cecília Asperti (FGV Sao Paulo Law School) – Sometimes we think it’s a choice, but deep down I always knew I would be a professor. I was going to take another course, history, and I ended up studying law, and in this area you don’t think you’re going to be a professor, but a lawyer, judge or prosecutor. However, I continued along the path and my unconscious urge led me to become a professor.
I think I always knew I would end up doing this. As a little girl, walking to school with my mother, I used to teach her the subject I was going to be tested on that day. I think this sharing has always been part of my imagination. I wanted this for my future. I wanted it not only as a profession but as a way of life and how I spend my time.
Marco Antonio Teixeira (FGV EAESP) – My decision to become a professor was based on my decision to study social sciences, largely influenced by then Senate candidate Fernando Henrique Cardoso. He was a sociologist, focused on thinking about society’s problems in order to try to solve them. I began to identify with this as my career choice. So, I started teaching and did a master’s and doctorate. Today I’m here at FGV. Looking back, I’ve been very happy in this career. I feel a sense of fulfillment and I identify with what I do.
Aloisio Araujo (FGV EPGE) – My choice is closely associated with scientific activity, as I returned to Brazil with the idea of bringing new ideas and disseminating them, doing science and bringing the country closer to the frontier of science.
I have been in this field for many years, teaching doctoral students and sometimes undergraduates. It is with great pleasure that I see students developing. You see some of the ideas you have shared with students evolve and develop. It’s great to see this happening.
What was it like going back to the classroom after the pandemic?
Gustavo Kloh (FGV Rio de Janeiro Law School) – Online, the university experience can happen, but not completely. People need to cross paths and meet in order to come up with ideas and projects. This only happens in person. Many projects at our university started off at lunch, in the cafe, in the hallways. This just doesn’t happen online.
Marcela Canavarro (FGV ECMI) – The difference is stark. During the pandemic we had an online MBA group, which was very lively, with a little bit of that warmth you find in the classroom. However, the process of exchanging knowledge is affective and physical proximity has a lot to do with that. Our new communication course will start early next year, and I fully expect that in-person classes will further enhance the experience.
Maria Cecília Asperti (FGV Sao Paulo Law School) – I think it was hard for everyone, without exception, but for us professors it was very difficult. In the end, I think we became quite exhausted. Online interaction brought us a series of possibilities and we developed professionally by harnessing them, but in my opinion, nothing can replace lessons in a classroom. The in-person sharing of information and experiences is the happiest moment of our week.
Marco Antonio Teixeira (FGV EAESP) – There are no words to describe this. The pandemic caused unquantifiable suffering. Nothing can replace affection and contact. I think this certainty is very important, because before the pandemic people thought that new technologies were the answer to everything. That isn’t the case. When it comes to human relationships, technology can help bring people together but they cannot replace in-person contact. Perhaps we are now learning to balance this process. In my view, there is now great certainty that proximity makes sense in social relationships.
Aloisio Araujo (FGV EPGE) – Online learning can work well, but presence is essential and magnetism is personal. Seeing students’ reactions live is fundamental.
What do you feel about teaching?
Gustavo Kloh (FGV Rio de Janeiro Law School) – Every time I think of university, I think of home, because the university is a different home, where we meet people who are part of our affective space, people we love, to do different things that we would do at home. Here we meet to think and imagine a different future. We meet to have ideas, talk and change the world. Universities are meeting houses and it is wonderful to meet with everyone every week.
Marcela Canavarro (FGV ECMI) – I love my students. This relationship involves an exchange and it is not just about passing on content and lessons. It involves affection, vital energy and subjectivities, because the exchange of knowledge has to be affective.
Maria Cecília Asperti (FGV Sao Paulo Law School) – This is my tenth year at FGV. As a professor and researcher, I have worked in some other areas and I am extremely happy with the career I have ended up with, not only in the area of research, but above all in teaching. I have a feeling of tranquility, serenity, of being on the right path, with enormous gratitude. For me, the classroom is a lively place for exchanging and sharing information and experiences.
Marco Antonio Teixeira (FGV EAESP) – People who chose this path and gave up another career have a feeling of accomplishment. That’s what gives me pleasure. I can’t imagine myself any other way. Quite frankly, I would do it all over again. I found myself as a professional, I found myself as a person and I found myself as a sociable human being.
As a professor, I teach my students and I also learn a lot from them. I have no doubt that I learn a lot more from them than I can teach.
Aloisio Araujo (FGV EPGE) – I have great satisfaction to have worked with more than 50 doctoral students, and I am pleased that many of them have developed brilliant scientific careers, abroad and here in Brazil, in the public and private sectors. So, it is very important to value the role that professors play. Here in Brazil, our status is not recognized enough.