28 •  oct •  2022

With more than six years of experience, the History and Geography teacher, was part of the nominations for the Global Teacher Prize, known as the Chilean version of the Nobel Prize for Education, organized by Elige Educar. In this article we tell you more about her story, motivations and commitments in the educational world.

It was in her adolescence when she knew that her vocation was linked to education. While in high school, Francisca Villegas (33), a native of La Reina in the Metropolitan Region, used to give chemistry tutoring classes to her classmates at the Enrique de Ossó Teresian School, understanding the ability she had to explain the subject and work in groups. Years later, when she graduated from fourth grade, she made the big decision: to become a teacher.

She studied Pedagogy in History and Social Sciences at the University of Chile and, after five years in higher education, she began her career as a professional. Her beginnings were in Enseña Chile, a foundation that seeks to form a network of agents of change with the conviction of impacting the educational system. There, she participated in a program that allowed her to enter a professional technical school.

Her initiation school was the Pascual Baburizza Agricultural Institute (IAPB), which is located in the Calle Larga district of Los Andes and is supported by the Luksic Educational Foundation. It was then that her vocation made her decide to leave the capital and move her home 70 kilometers away. After two years at the IAPB, in 2016 she became part of the teaching staff, in charge of the History subject. After demonstrating her leadership skills and passion for education, she became a tutor and head teacher of middle school courses.

There are many characteristics that make Francisca stand out as a teacher, but without a doubt, her strong point has been the communication she establishes with her students and the dynamism of her classes. “I try to carry out planned activities together with the students to form bonds. We create games to lose modesty, in which the students have to dress up as historical characters. There they take it seriously and speak as their impersonation,” explains the teacher.

Reaffirming once again her commitment to education, this year the teacher was one of the applicants for the Global Teacher Prize, a contest organized since 2016 by Elige Educar, a public-private initiative that operates under the auspices of the Public Policy Center of the Catholic University. This decision meant a new achievement for her: becoming one of the five finalists, among more than 20,000 applicants from all over Chile.

“I feel honored and with an enormous responsibility. This has been a new impulse for me. It motivates me to think about building a better world. I faithfully believe that education can make better people, where we listen to each other despite our differences, where we learn to work collaboratively and think for ourselves with autonomy,” concluded Francisca Villegas.

To close the final stage of the Global Teacher Prize 2022, the five finalists will undergo a new evaluation process that will conclude with the winner, who will be announced at the awards ceremony at the end of November, which will be broadcast live on Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN).