The Continuous Learning Center/Mobile County Schools

At Cristo Redentor

From the Inner-City Classroom to the Favela: My Story--Project Summary:
For the past 23 years, I've mostly taught in inner-city schools. By choice. Unprepared for the challenges of teaching in a large, urban school district, I had to acquire the knowledge and skills to teach students whose background and culture were unfamiliar. Just as my experiences limited me, my students experiences limit them too. The inner city may look large on a map, but its inhabitants live isolated in a very small world of poverty and violence. This summer, I packed my bags to teach English in a Rio de Janeiro favela, or shantytown, to build a more developed sense of global understanding and responsibility among my students and myself. What could I learn about life in a third world country that would inspire, provoke, and ignite us all?

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is, indeed, a “cidade marvilhosa”— a marvelous city of extremes where great wealth and extreme poverty comingle, where verdant rain forests, ornate baroque homes, and glamorous beaches stand next to massive hillsides slums. One of the most intriguing aspects of living and working in the favelas this summer was getting the opportunity to bear witness to a community in the midst of a revolution. For the past two years, millions of residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas have lived in relative peace and safety. After a massive pacification movement, drug lords no longer rule the labyrinthine alleyways and these communities are enjoying economic opportunities, clean water, dependable electricity, and are teeming with a vibrant and pulsating spirit.

Mornings were spent blogging and lesson planning. Then I would trek deep into the favela to one or more "escolas" for English lessons. At night I helped teach English at a surfing academy and also helped build a classroom from scratch at a community center. On the days when the schools were closed, I toured the local landmarks, learned to cook the local cuisine, hiked a rainforest, studied Portuguese, danced the samba, and witnessed the Pope (or Papa, as he is known in Portuguese) deliver mass to two million Catholics on Copacabana beach. I also witnessed, by accident, one of the many protests that occurred this summer and engaged in lengthy discussions with teachers and locals about their jobs, their experiences, their lives. For a people with so little, their spirit, warmth, and productivity was inspiring.

 Ted-Ed lesson regarding what walking home from school is like in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Blog:  Teaching Without Borders


NEWS---Received a Grosvenor fellowship that  has allowed me to extend the work I began with Fund for Teachers.  Click link here.   Participated in a Nat Geo expedition to Iceland!

2014 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Bio

Angela Crawford

Angela Crawford is a two-time National Board Certified English teacher in Mobile, Alabama. A recent Fund for Teachers fellow, she taught in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to build a more developed global consciousness within herself and her students. During her 23 year career, her work has been published in professional journals and she speaks regularly at national education conferences.


As you may remember, in 2013 I received a fellowship to work in the favela Rochina in Rio de Janeiro.  I volunteered for an NGO that runs a school and taught English classes to all ages in a variety of locations (a surf school, a day care, a local home, a community center).  T.


This week I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Project Favela.  I've also been asked to be their Director-at-large of Curriculum Development!  What an amazing opportunity!  I am so honored and so THANKFUL that Fund for Teachers made this possible.  It's truly the gift that keeps on giving.  


Of course I'll serve in this capacity from the United States, but I hope to be able to travel there regularly to support this amazing program.  


All the best to you as you make teachers' dreams come true!


Angela Crawford


Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2016, 11:46 AM