|27 Sep 2023|
|2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize|
Yarinett Rojas, a dedicated English teacher from Venezuela with 17 years’ experience, is a driving force in transforming education within her community; her passion for teaching and commitment to quality education leaving an indelible mark on her students and colleagues.
Yarinett's teaching philosophy goes beyond traditional methods to engage her students in a more communicative and interactive approach. Through innovative techniques like songs, role play, dramatization and games, she has made learning English a more effective and meaningful experience for her students. Her charismatic and motivating personality fosters enthusiasm and dedication among students, resulting in heightened engagement in every activity.
Her impact extends beyond the classroom. She firmly believes in the power of quality education to drive a nation's development, motivating her continuous pursuit of personal and professional growth. In 2019, Yarinett earned a scholarship to represent Venezuela and the Cojedes State in the United States as part of an international exchange program for secondary school teachers. This experience broadened her perspective on education, emphasizing the importance of multiculturalism in building global support networks. Leadership workshops during the program also propelled her into a role of professional leadership and educational ambassadorship within her region. She founded and now serves as the president of the first and only Association of English Teachers in the State of Cojedes-Venezuela, where she engages in activities to empower English teachers and inspire effective teaching practices.
Yet Yarinett faces numerous challenges. Her students, primarily from rural areas, often have limited resources and little academic support from their families. Additionally, inadequate infrastructure, such as a lack of electricity, lighting, and internet accessibility in classrooms, adds to the difficulties. Undeterred by these challenges, she maximizes opportunities, continually seeking growth and improvement. She even received a scholarship to take an online course on Education for Sustainable Development, focusing on training programs for teachers as agents of change in the Cojedes State. She has integrated climate change education into her teaching, encouraging her students to reflect on their local actions' impact on the planet and engages them in environmental projects, including tree planting and waste collection campaigns.
One of Yarinett's remarkable achievements is her implementation of project-based learning, involving students in real-world issues; she not only imparts academic knowledge but also hones critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and creativity skills - an approach that instils a sense of belonging and purpose in her students. Yarinett has introduced gamification into her classroom, enhancing student engagement and motivation, proving creativity can flourish even without advanced technology.
An astounding 90% of her graduates have excelled in various professions, both nationally and internationally. She also founded "Smartkids: My English School" to offer English language education to her community's children during vacations, subsequently expanding to "ProFuture: English Program" for both local and global learners. Her international experiences motivated her students to become aware of their role in society and the world, engaging in projects that strengthen their sense of belonging, teamwork, critical thinking, creativity, and global awareness.
In a challenging educational landscape, Yarinett is actively working to improve the teaching profession, offering free professional development programs for English teachers and training for teachers as agents of change, promoting leadership, research skills, and project development.
Her remarkable efforts have not gone unnoticed, with recognition and awards for her outstanding teaching performance and contributions to education. The most recent was her appointment in August as Advocate of the Global Schools programme, an initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).