As Wall (2006) argued: "Autoethnography is an emerging qualitative research method that allows the author to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her experience to extend understanding about a societal phenomenon."
Teaching in Brazil was not an easy task. The schools were old and the school’s supplies were scarce. The economy in Brazil was never good, and the corruption contributed for the lack of resources for schools and for so many other organizations dedicated to the public interest. In other words, a very sad situation, but that never let my mood to be changed or my dreams to be vanished away!
We had, though, to save absolutely everything in order to have materials available for any project we wanted to create. That was always our main goal, to save as much school supplies and resources as we could to make it last until the end of the school year. Students had to learn very early in life how to “budget” for school supplies…
With the “save everything’s mind set” came a lot of creativity. We had to be creative, we had to invent and recycle things. I remember using lots of different materials in my Art classes; we also learned how to share and trade everything we could.
I used to have in my classroom a large treasure box! It was not like these treasure boxes that you see here in Canada at the restaurants where the children can pick a cool toy at the end of their meals. My treasure box housed recycled pieces of paper, wool, tape, buttons, thread, yarn, glue, a few pairs of scissors, and a few other things that we could use to create a great artifact. That was all we had to be artistic when working on a classroom project. Sometimes I would have a few students bringing some supplies to the class as well, but nothing fancy, only a few scraps of what their moms had in their sewing kits, a few empty yogurt containers, egg cartons, etc.
However, at the end of the day, we would have castles, princes and princess, parks, forests, airplanes, hospitals, schools, cars, ambulances and so many other cool things made of recycled materials, but created through a lot of creativity and involvement.
We had to be careful so our “objects” would not to fall apart, as the amount of glue and tape we had was limited. We normally had a mini-fair where the other students from different classes would come and look at our creations. Then, the kids would take their creations home and cherish them as if they were precious models. Those objects were precious!!! To them and to their families those simple pieces of artwork were more than precious! I really miss that…
Wall, Sarah. (2006). An Autoethnography on Learning about Autoethnography. In International Journal of Qualitative Methods 5 (2) Article 9. Retrieved from http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/5_2/pdf/wall.pdf