Naval engineer Rodrigo Mota Amarante, 44, has spent almost all of the past two and a half decades teaching classes, from elementary school to graduate school. Chemistry, physics and mathematics formulas and subjects involving vibrations of materials and fluid mechanics passed through his blackboard.
He was not safe from the impacts of the economic crisis on education, intensified by the arrival of the coronavirus. Amarante was one of thousands of teachers fired in private higher education during the pandemic.
On this 15th of October, the G1 shows 5 stories about the life of a teacher in Brazil. Check out the others throughout this text.
Amarante’s career, which started a bit “unintentionally” when covering a class teacher in 1996, had an abrupt interruption on June 22 this year.
“When I entered the system, the ‘pop-up’ [janela que abre no navegador]: you are disconnected ”, he says. “It’s too cold. The semester was not over, there were colleagues who were unable to even put grades in the system ”, he reports.
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Pop-up in university classes system indicated the dismissal of the teacher – Photo: Personal Archive
Expansion of remote education
For Amarante, the dismissal was the result of a process that was already running in the behind the scenes of private higher education.
In December 2018, the Ministry of Education (MEC) issued an ordinance that allowed universities to assemble curricula for classroom courses with up to 40% of the workload in distance activities.
Remote teaching in all courses, with no limit on the number of hours, was extended until December 2021 through a resolution of the National Education Council (CNE), which advises MEC on educational policies.
With that, it is possible to gather classes in the same virtual environment. Where two or three teachers were needed, for example, now one is enough.
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“The teacher was seen as a cost. Private individuals were already wanting to expand distance learning even before the pandemic and, whoever was teaching, says that now there are 200 students in the virtual classrooms. How to teach in such an environment? How to clear doubts? ”, Says professor Rodrigo Amarante.
“Universities filled the rooms and fired professors,” he says.
Amarante says that there was a reduction in teachers’ working hours to cut wages. Whoever had four hours of classes per day, for example, now has three. He claims to have refused to sign a letter saying he agreed to the reduction. Months later, he was fired.
Uninove, in a note, affirms that the “telepresencial classes are happening with good evaluation by teachers and students, with smartphones and broadband for all teachers and a 20 giga chip for students as a benefit” and that it fully complies with the guidelines defined for the federal education system, given by the Ministry of Education – MEC “.
“Brazil does not value the teacher. Just look at the strikes, how he is treated. They say: ‘he is blocking traffic’, or ‘this is a communist thing’,” he says.
“The students ask: teacher, do you work in addition to teaching?”, He says, smiling. For him, among the phrases about the career that most hurt him is: “Who knows how to do it, who doesn’t know how to teach”.
“It is the opposite,” argues Amarante. “Who knows is who teaches.”
Amarante received a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in naval engineering, as well as a postdoctoral degree in mechanical engineering from USP.
But the job market for teachers presents challenges. The contests in which I was entered were canceled or suspended. In private institutions, there are job cuts and wages are getting lower.
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In addition to teaching, he worked with analysis of ship or platform designs and assessed whether a structure was stable to be subjected to winds and sea waves. It also tested or simulated ideas that were never implemented.
“I do not intend to return to acting as a teacher in the coming years. I will use what I know in a new profession: data scientist.”
He says he was able to replace himself and earned four times more pay than as a teacher.
For him, the idea that the teacher has love for the profession only gets in the way.
“The first point to understand that a teacher is important is to stop the ‘glamorization’ of the profession, if it is not very easy for the employer to pay a low salary because ‘the teacher loves what he does'”, he reflects.
“The teacher’s passion is October 15th chat. It became marketing.”
How much does a teacher cost
Rodrigo Amarante, 44, teaching undergraduate at a private university in SP. – Photo: Personal Archive
Of the 384,400 higher education teachers in Brazil, 210,600 (54.7%) teach at universities, colleges or private university centers across the country. Another 173.8 thousand (45.2%) are in the federal network.
Considering the two networks, most (89.3 thousand) teach part-time. Another 57.8 thousand have full-time contracts, and 63.3 thousand, per hour.
In the federal network, the base salary of teachers with exclusive dedication goes from R $ 4.4 thousand for those who do not have a master’s degree up to R $ 20,500 for those with doctorates, according to Andifes.
In the private sector, wages vary from company to company. In 2019, the highest hourly rate was R $ 165.25 for professors with master’s and doctorate degrees – and payments are made proportionally, according to the hours of the day.
The lowest salary was R $ 29 per hour / class for teachers with a master’s degree. The data are from a collaborative ranking, published on the website of the Teachers’ Union of São Paulo (Sinpro-SP) and contains information from 44 higher education institutions.
Data from the General Register of Employed and Unemployed (Caged) indicate that there were 1.8 million education workers in January 2020. The balance, in August, is 17,589 fewer vacancies.
Month-by-month data indicate that layoffs in the area of education were higher than hires from April. – Photo: Infografia / G1
The layoffs were concentrated in the private network. At federal universities, there were no cuts during the pandemic, says Edward Madureira, president of the National Association of Directors of Federal Institutions of Higher Education (Andifes).