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    Norka: lessons in physical and virtual spaces

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    Norka Inés González Hernández

    “We are prosperous blacks thanks to Fidel and the Revolution,” Professor Norka Inés González Hernández frequently repeats when referring to her and her daughters, “and people laugh, but she expressed it that way because it is the truth, since we come from a very humble family and this social system dignified us”, she adds.

    She is forever grateful for the opportunity to become a teacher. At first, it was just the aspiration of a girl, while she performed as such in role-playing games, but time and educators like Iris Soto accentuated the vocation and passion for teaching.

    She always liked teaching and commanding, she says, unable to contain her smile.

    She obtained a degree in History and Social Sciences upon graduating from the Máximo Gómez Báez Vocational Pre-University Institute of Exact Sciences, in the province of Camagüey, where he stayed to continue his studies at the José Martí Higher Pedagogical Institute.

    Since her qualification as a graduate, in 1982, she has passed through educational centers of different levels in the municipalities of Morón, Primero de Enero and Ciro Redondo, in the province of Ciego de Ávila.

    Secondary Education occupied her the most time, particularly the years dedicated ―as a teacher, head of the Department of Humanities and Degree, and director― at the Nguyen Van Troi Urban Basic Secondary School (ESBU), in the so-called Rooster City.

    She also directed the ESBU Benito Juárez, from Morón itself, an activity that he alternated, without difficulties, with a master's degree in Educational Sciences, successfully completed after defending a methodological strategy aimed at inserting local history in the program of studies for the Intermediate Level.

    She, valued its potential, and due to the need of the sector, began to work as a methodologist for Professional Technical Education (ETP) in Ciego de Avila, where she reached her retirement, however, she decided to rejoin, with the will to stay as long as she can contribute, feel satisfaction when teaching and be lucid.

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    She recognizes her involvement with the ETP as a significant moment in his professional life, where she discovered new motivations and took on the challenge of improving herself, because it is a very demanding level, although some mistakenly consider that it is stagnant.

    The adaptation of History lessons to the cognitive needs and interests of students at that level constitutes one of the fundamental challenges that he assumes, along with other methodologists, at a time when the educational system is called to improve its quality.

    In this effort, she highlights, they join cultural institutions dedicated to the study and dissemination of National and Local histories, to introduce new experiences in the teaching-learning process, which have given good results, and therefore, they are extended to all the municipalities.

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    She affirms that greater motivation for the subject is achieved when classes take place in historical sites and museums, students join debate spaces such as Tardes Martianas and, in the case of the municipality of Morón, there is a novel experience at the Félix Varela Urban Polytechnic Institute, where they combine interests from the subjects of Political Culture, History and Physical Education.

    On the road to transformations, she considers the strengthening of relationships between the family and the school essential. It is not possible to educate and instruct without the support of the latter, therefore, a rapprochement between both parties is imposed, which will allow understanding changes that are being carried out for the better.

    It is also essential to promote integration into the neighborhoods and communities where the different schools are located, so that they can consolidate themselves as the most important cultural centers in those spaces.

    Schools, she says, are the workshops where life is forged; there are no contradictions with the aspirations of families because, in any circumstance, it is desired that children and grandchildren have positive qualities and values ​​for performance during their existence.

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    It is necessary to continue looking for methods, forms and strategies that favor the school-community-family union, she insisted.

    Norka advocates strengthening the role of the school in citizen education, which requires the performance of extracurricular work, as conceived in the educational system, and will allow greater linkage to the nation's prioritized programs, such as Food Sovereignty and Nutritional education.

    More than 40 years dedicated to teaching enable her to define the precise qualities to perform in this work, among which she distinguishes vocation, love for education and students and the constant desire for improvement.

    The teacher, she asserts, is the mirror in which all students look, not only in Primary Education, but at all educational levels, therefore, they must be an example to preach knowledge and behaviors, and be aware that in any context his profession distinguishes her.

    Creditor of numerous recognitions for her career in the educators' union, she recognizes the highest award for her effort in attitudes such as that of Omelio Carvajal, who was her student and declares that, inspired by her, she studied for a degree in History.

    She also feels rewarded with the greetings of former students and their parents in the streets, in whom the memory of her teachings prevails, facilitating the path to different trades and teachers who have turned them into good men and women, useful to society.

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    Her achievements are those of a family -small, but united-, which always supports her; and, as a greater satisfaction, she recognizes the professional growth of her daughters, graduates in Law and Social Communication.

    As usual, this December 22, Educator's Day, she receives numerous congratulations early on, details that make the difference with the other days, always starting with the preparation of a good coffee and, while tasting it, he reviews the events of the day and post some tweets.

    Mastery and motivation have allowed her to turn new technologies into weapons to defend her Homeland.

    In an advanced stage of her life, she perfected her knowledge of cell phones, so she was able to enter a fascinating world, where she has numerous followers, and reinforces her essence as an educator by transmitting messages or teaching her classmates how to use social networks.