Jose Eduardo Caraccioli: Making a Difference from Dentist to Educator
Hola todos! My name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist. Today I’m in Honduras talking to Jose Eduardo Caraccioli. Jose is a Dentist who found his way to education with the school Arco Iris in Honduras.
SPIFFY: Thank you for meeting with me, Jose! Dime, what challenge is Arco Iris addressing?
Jose: Our mission at Arco Iris (Spanish for Rainbow) is to train integral leaders and push them to acquire the academic and social skills to be valued citizens in the community of La Lima, Honduras. Stimulating self-esteem, discipline, values, and acceptance of differences using "adaptable technology", which we refer to as "any resource available at that time".
SPIFFY: You’ve got to make do with what you’ve got! What motivated you to become an educator?
Jose: I’m not the stereotypical principal since my background isn’t as an educator. I am a dentist who got involved in the learning environment through my biggest role model (my mother).
In my life, there have always been great academic opportunities since grade school – great schools, computers, phones or tablets, DSL internet, then the magical Wi-Fi, and so on. In Latin America, less than 30% of the most vulnerable households have access to a computer at home to do schoolwork. What keeps me motivated is closing that educational gap between a top-notch private school and the small school located in a not-so-safe community.
SPIFFY: What differentiates Arco Iris from traditional schools in Honduras? How does that make the world a more equitable place?
Jose: There’s a type of education that relies on a brick-and-mortar school, physical textbooks, and a blackboard. Our reality is 250 students having problems getting access to computers, cellphones, or the internet. Google’s Suite for Educations has given us the tools to adapt our teaching methods and find a way to get interact with all our students and parents. No matter the difficulty present, we make sure our students are being educated. We are leaving no child behind in the learning process.
SPIFFY: It must be hard to help your students keep up without equal access, what milestones have you reached in bridging this gap?
Jose: In February of this year, we started a project called "Morpho" centered on providing assistance (educational, physical, and psychological) to kids and teenagers with an educational barrier such as a physical/mental conditions. Preparing the physical space was a lot of fun. We painted walls ourselves, created special spaces for therapy, and repaired furniture. The project will initially benefit 50 families that don’t have access to psychological and physical evaluations and therapy and tutoring.
SPIFFY: You did it yourself! Tell me about a time when you’ve faced failure, what did you learn from it?
Jose: Can I refer to and adversity currently we’re facing now?
SPIFFY: Of course, it’s a challenging time.
Jose: This whole pandemic and the economic impact it has had on our organization, it seems like an imminent failure. Some students have transferred to the public school system, our cash flow is compromised, we have technical deficiencies, but my main ongoing lesson currently being learned is adapting is important. You can’t sit down and complain, it's all about asking, what’s wrong, what are the options, make a plan, and follow. The plan can change.
SPIFFY: You’ve got the heart to persevere, what’s something you’ve learned unexpectedly from someone during this time?
Jose: Perseverance and Passion. Our eldest teacher is in her mid-sixties and is in love with teaching the second grade. She has no computer skills, on the last day before we closed the door at our school to start online classes, she told me she would be ready for the tools we were about to deploy. To my surprise, she had taken private computer classes. Now she’s running video conference classes, preparing presentations and content for her students, sending emails with attachments of documents of course work, and all of this because she said she can’t leave her second grade behind. Thanks to her, the second-grade class is learning English as a second language. She reminded me if you persevere you achieve, and to do so you must be passionate.
About Jose: I am a trained dentist from Honduras with an MBA from INCAE Business School. Focused on project management and problem-solving I work as a consultant in diverse areas, from health to education. I am currently working on a project to develop technological skills on kids that do not have access to these tools.