Teacher Sofía, at the Juan Ramón Ochoa Elementary School.

"Are you here to see Sofía, the school's celebrity?” a worker says to me at the door of the Juan Ramón Ochoa School. The question confirms what I already know about this woman, whose living gospel was born at the age of 11, with the epic stamp of the Literacy Campaign, and lasts until the sun of her 73rd birthday, counted and full of life.

Teacher Sofía, at the Juan Ramón Ochoa Elementary School.Las Tunas, Cuba.- Sofía Peña Batista knows her way around the place, 53 years of work speak of her performance in a school to which she has dedicated almost all of her knowledge and dedication. "Since I was a child I wanted to be a teacher and the triumph of the Revolution opened the doors to that possibility. I started teaching with the Campaign and I liked it more and more. I taught literacy in the Maniabón area and trained as a member of the so-called Makarenko teachers in the Minas del Frío-Topes-Tarará program; that's how I became a teacher.

She says it loudly as if projecting her voice in front of her 35 students, in one of her mathematics shifts; she says it and reaffirms her credo: "Every day I like it more, it gives me satisfaction to teach and to see the children progress and learn. It pleases me a lot and I know the need for teachers. The school, my school, needs educators and I am still able to work.

However, she clarifies that she did not plan to teach for so long, but the sense of belonging mobilizes her and there she is, the protagonist of a long, lasting, and fruitful exercise. Among her greatest joys is meeting her students, now grown up and educated, and hearing them say "¡MAESTRA!" which makes her so proud.

Like Martí, she knows that the authority of the teaching profession lies more in love and exemplarity than in the exercise of power. Preparation is the essence of successful pedagogy and fairness is a way for every child to know that he or she is equally valuable in the eyes of the one who teaches.

"How long in the classroom?" is a question that you may have asked yourself or been asked on many occasions. Seventeen years ago, she could have said goodbye to this work, and although today, not yet tired, she does glimpse the beginning of a definitive retirement, she knows that the title she has honored throughout her life will accompany her beyond the classroom.

Her harvest is numerous; Sofia sowed in fertile soil. Her story is paradigmatic and synthesizes that of an entire generation that to this day gives heart and knowledge to a country that is grateful and indebted to so much fruitful teaching.