María Felicia Ibañez Matienso didn’t think she was a teacher. His father’s passion for laboratories infected her since childhood. However, although she had in her hands the scholarship to study Industrial Chemistry, he joined the Pedagogical before the call to extend education to all corners of the Island.
“My father was a sugar sorter at the Arechabala factory. His work with the chemical elements caught my attention; besides that he was for me a paradigm, a person with whom one could speak on any subject, because I read a lot”.
“However, one day I was summoned to a meeting at the school, along with another group of students, where they explained the need for teachers in the country. They thought we had the characteristics to study that career,”says the professor.
“That’s how I started at the Enrique José Varona Pedagogical Institute. The teaching there was very rigorous. I had excellent teachers like María Dolores Ortíz and Arzola … they were an institution.
With marked demands in terms of costumes, hair and behavior, without time to walk and always engaged in reading, Felicia Ibañez received a rigid training that today thanks:
“On one occasion one of the teachers required me to go to the classroom with small rings. According to her, those were easy women’s earrings. And as I am, that was a very big shame, ”she smiles as he tells the story. Remember also how much they stressed that the teacher should be an example and not only in the level of knowledge, but in the way of proceeding.
«That was a maxim for me,» she adds. First selected as a monitor and then to teach at Pino del Agua, the teacher showed her commitment to teaching when she had to face a group of students with behavior problems.
“That was another great school where I had to grow as a teacher and as a person. I learned that many of those young people needed guidance because they dragged in with family problems. ”
Later she would also arrive to Camaguey where she would work in schools in the countryside and then in one of the first two Experimental Schools of the country:
“There in Las Cuabas, Camagüey, in addition to guiding students, we also helped them in agricultural activities. She had never carried out such work and… I fell in love with my profession, my profession became part of the meaning of my life”,” she confesses.
Today, a professor in the department of Marxism-Leninism at the University of Matanzas is one of the Educators of the 21st century, a condition she received during the Day for the Educator’s Day by the Association of Pedagogues of Cuba in the territory. On his rejoicing he states:
““ I think it is an undeserved recognition, without false modesty. I think there are many professors worthy of that award before me, but I appreciate it and it certainly stimulates me to be better every day. The first prize is the one that the students do, more when it comes to the Association of Pedagogues then the joy is double, because there is also implicit the love of the students. I feel happy, proud and committed. ”
On her advice to the new generations of teachers, she says: “I always tell the youngest that one of the most complex tasks is to educate. Teachers are the builders of society; they are responsible for shaping future professionals in different spheres. It is therefore a difficult mission, especially in a period as troubled as the 21st century. Educating is a task of giants. ”
Few students of this institution will forget the teacher «Fela», as some call him affectionately, and many will always remember with a smile their typical cadence when referring to philosophical terms such as concatenation.
There is no doubt then that one of the treasures that the University of Matanzas preserves today is the wisdom and disposition to the work of this woman who did not think she was a teacher, but without a doubt she became a real one.