Faculty in Focus: Marcello Bulgarelli, High School Portuguese Teacher
Posted 02/22/2018 02:30PM

1. You have several degrees in education, including a master’s degree from the University of São Paulo. What inspired you to dedicate your life to education?
In fact, I never thought about becoming a teacher until the very last year of college. Until that moment, I thought I would be a reviewer, working for a newspaper, reading books, watching movies, and making money by exploring the joy of reading and writing. But when the time for doing my internship in a public school came (in Brazil, if you want to teach, you need 400 hours of internship), I realized that I could teach teenagers that reading was fun and so many worlds could be seen through someone’s words. John Lennon was right: You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.


2. What one book do you wish all your co-workers or students would read?
Definitely, Ciranda de Pedra (The Marble Dance), by Lygia Fagundes Telles. It’s the story of a young girl, Virgínia, trying to fit into the circle (or "dance") of her family and friends and then…. NO! You have to read it to find out why it is a work of art! Check it out from the Graded Library.


3. You’ve taught children of all ages over your career so far. What about teaching high school students appeals to you?
Teaching high schoolers opens the possibility of learning new things every day, like using Snapchat or Instagram, sharing perspectives, listening to their suggestions, recreating the world in which we live, replanning where we are going to live, and knowing that it is going to be better and fairer… because we are working together for that to happen.


4. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Many people do not know him, but it’s Reuven Feuerstein, a cognitive psychologist. He taught me that intelligence is modifiable and through mediation, every single person can learn and can be modified. And at the same time we modify those we work with, we are modifying ourselves. Nothing and no one remains the same when learning happens.


5. You’re very involved in the Graded community – in FALA, as a coach, and in theater, among other things. Why?
The IB learner profile states that we have to be balanced, taking care of our intellectual, physical, and emotional lives. I cannot expect my students to improve and develop their balance if I am only focused on teaching IB Portuguese A Language and Literature. Moreover, I love sports - playing, watching, and now coaching. I also love arts. I love working with people and being modified by them.


6. Which talent would you most like to have?
Actually, there are two talents I'd like to have. First, like Doctor Dolittle, I'd love to talk to animals. I’d love to learn from their experiences, understand how they see the world we live in, hear how climate change, for example, has affected them. Maybe this would help us care more about planet Earth.

And, thinking about something more personally, I would love to draw and paint. I love art, but I know that art, for me, is something I can only admire. And the reason why is that I am too critical of what I do. After having known Pollock, Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci, Portinari, Tarsila do Amaral, Georgia O’Keeffe, and so many others… Will I be able to do something that remarkable? But now that I thought about it…. I can learn how to do it! That’s my goal for the next 20 years!

7. You’ve worked in both public schools and private schools in São Paulo. What lessons could private schools learn from Brazil’s public schools?
They could learn that there is no problem that cannot be solved if we work collaboratively. By collaboratively, I mean students, teachers, administration, and families. There is no right answer. Together we will certainly find a way to deal with what bothers us.


8. Where would you most like to live?
I love living in São Paulo. Every time I fly back home and I can see the city lights, my heart beats faster. But I would consider living in a big city in the United States, like New York or San Francisco.



9. What is your greatest fear?
That, one day, humans will stop considering dialogue a way to solve problems. With dialogue, even if we don’t solve the problems, we can at least make them smaller.


10. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
Graded makes me both a better person and a better teacher every working day. Here, we know that problems can be overcome as long as we never forget that we are a team. And maybe my favorite thing is that I trust that my colleagues, friends, and students are all doing their best in their own way.

Av. José Galante, 425
São Paulo, SP - Brazil - 05642-000
T: 55-11-3747-4800
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