28 May 2020, Thursday





New year, new luck!

New year, new luck!

Well, it’s another new school/academic year and after a three-and-a-half-year period of unpaid sabbatical leave here I am again on the battle field, oops, in the seminar hall. For me, the past first week with my freshmen students was quite interesting and controversial one, and for them, I’m pretty sure, too :)

My first meeting with each of the seven groups of students I’m going to teach this semester went pretty much the same way. In the beginning, they were looking at me with interest while I was explaining how the classes would pass. The very moment we actually started work, however, I felt a wave of resistance, apathy and distrust towards what I was trying to make them do. Things changed drastically when I stretched the large map of Europe I had equipped myself with to support the textbook exercises visually and make the practicing of dialogues more natural and vivid, so to say :) The volunteers to help me with the map were encouraged to ask their co-students the necessary questions, and vice versa. In English :) Such a lovely combination of duty and pleasure was thus achieved in each and every group that I cannot but feel extremely happy for the enjoyable and fruitful study atmosphere during this first class... While homework was assigned, again suspicion and distrust prevailed, but I could see clearly that the spark had already been lit. There was curiosity aroused in their eyes as they were leaving the classroom with the words good-bye instead of (the Bulgarian for good-bye)...

There’s a lot of hard work lying ahead but I know that the first step in the right direction has been taken. Was I tired afterwards? Oooh, yes! Was I satisfied? There is no one answer to this question. But this first teaching week of mine, after the period of research work that have kept me away from the classroom for quite some time, again provoked in me the speculations accompanying me through all those years as a teacher first at school, later at my language centre and finally at the university; speculations which I’m sharing here now.

Whether you are a student or a teacher, whether you are a university student or a lecturer, whether you are a parent of a student in Bulgaria, you are, no doubt, clear about the system. The educational system, I mean. But before you start criticising the government, the country, etc., let me tell you something frankly and from experience.

Responsible for the situation with the system are the direct participants in it – the teachers and the students. And their parents as well, to a greater or lesser extent. What happens in the classrooms is teachers’/lecturers’ and students’ fault or merit. With the weight on the shoulders of the former ones, for sure. Oh, yes, indeed, colleagues, it’s true. We are the ones to create a positive and creative classroom atmosphere. It is up to us whether eyes full of hunger for knowledge will look at us when we stand in front of the students, or they will be staring out of the window and at their watches bored and looking forward to the end of the class.  

Motivation is the key! Lecturers’ – to do their job properly, and students’ – to willingly take active part in the process. What very few people think about is that these two are interconnected and interdependent.   

Of course, everybody decides for themselves what motivates them best. Everybody chooses their own criteria defining the degree of their involvement and dedication. And although I am quite agree with a thought my father used to say – “who wants will find a way to learn” – my long teaching experience has shown me that even the most indifferent student could be involved in the process if approached properly; and on the contrary, even the most motivated student could lose interest in the course of study if the latter is not carried out the way it should.

So, do your job wholeheartedly, teachers and students colleagues! Give and you will receive! The former – gratitude and acknowledgement for your efforts. The latter – knowledge and a view of life. Believe me, this is the greatest reward and wealth in the world!

What’s luck got to do with the topic, you may wonder. Nothing, I guess :) Except for the fact how lucky one may be to meet a teacher who loves the job, the students and the subject taught :) Aaah, yes, and how lucky one may be to love the job, the students and the subject taught, rather than just fill the vacancy for lack of a better alternative. 

Good luck, colleagues! And remember that motivation, just like love, is inside every one of us. We just have to let them show.

2012-10-07 (Read 2193 times.)