Starting up an ALC means knowing in advance you won´t be able to pay all of the facilitators, so you need to find creative solutions that makes it a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The third person I thought of, was Flor. Flor is a secondary school teacher who hates the system but who doesn´t have any other viable working option but staying. So her focus is always doing what she can in order to give her students different experiences, trying really hard to make school a more human place (and obviously being sabotaged by many of her co-workers).
I got to know Flor several years ago. She was recommended by a mutual friend to contact me because she was looking for someone who could talk to the parents about alcohol and drug abuse prevention. I don´t know much about addictions, but I do know teenagers, so I accepted and ended up not only training the parents but also big part of the teachers at her school.
Last year, Flor decided to take her kids out of school and put them in my old school project. That was huge! Not only for her kids who´d been in the traditional system since they were three months old, but for her family who had to change so many paradigms. But it was also huge for the entire school. It was the first time we´d managed to pull in a local family, which says a lot about the socio-economic situation in Puerto Escondido.
Flor is a very unusual Oaxacan woman: she works with herself, she challenges herself, she goes against the system always trying to find ways of rebelling without it being noticed. It´s a fine line between managing that and being thrown out. I´d be thrown out instantly, and I frankly have no idea how she does it!
I´d been talking about the idea of opening up a democratic school with Flor long before I knew it would be an ALC called Explora. My original idea was to open up in 2018, and always thought I´d hire Flor for that project. But now I start earlier and there´s no way I can offer Flor a replacement for her job at this point. But I will be able to do it in a couple of years when I open up full-time.
So, what´s in it for Flor? Well, first of all her three kids will attend Explora without having to pay. Second, Flor is going to learn so many things that she´ll be able to take with her and use directly with the teens at her secondary school.
The fourth facilitator has the same kind of deal. His name is Adalid, he´s a primary teacher that all kids love (especially the ones that hate school). I got to know him when I gave a lecture on alternative education at a local university here in Puerto Escondido in February. He approached me after the lecture and we connected immediately. He´s very similar to Flor in the sense that he hates the system and does what he can to give th kids and nicer experience of school, organizing camps, playing with them and stuff like that.
Adalid´s daughter will attend my kindergarten for free, and he´s giving me his time as a volunteer, learning the same things as the other facilitators and being able to bring the ALC dynamics into his classroom.
The three of us all think it´s a great deal, and what is going to be really exciting is to see how Flor and Adalid will implement the agile tools in the traditional system. Just the thought of it is thrilling!