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Ercilia Pepin, the first female teacher

Ercilia Pepin, the first female teacher

In the middle of the Second Republic while concluding the Restoration of the country in 1865 by the American intervention, Ercilia Pepin was born in Santiago de los Caballeros in 1886. Her parents, Jose Pepin and Edelmira Estrella were part of the city’s elite so she had a childhood surrounded by intellectuals and politicians. In fact, she was the niece of the legendary and audacious politician and military Perico Pepin.

When she was five years old, her mother dies and her grandmother Carlota took care of her. She received basic lessons of mathematics, physics and other disciplines by her Italian teacher Salvador Curullo, from whom she learned his language and also a perfect French.

To complete her instruction, she graduated as teacher with honorable mention in 1913. She worked as educator in her adolescence; with just 14-yeasr-old she taught at the school of girls in Nibaje, Santiago, becoming later the principal of another school at 20 years old. It should be noted that she is the first female teacher in the country.

At twenty two years old, she assumes the responsibility of being teacher of subjects such as mathematics, physical, and natural sciences, at the high school for ladies, replacing her teacher Salvador Curullo.

Ercilia based her methodology on the intellectual educator Eugenio Maria de Hostos, who aspired to achieve objectivity of things. Therefore, as part of her pedagogically she demanded order and habit formation as essential but also new teaching formulas that would involved social justice, public freedom and the ability to coexist.

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TEXT: Elena Crespo; IMAGES: Suresh/Archivos