Победитель и лауреаты конкурса для учителей английского языка «Inspiring Teachers-2017»
28 ноября 2017
Подведены итоги конкурса для преподавателей английского языка «Inspiring Teachers-2017», организованного агентством Международного образования «Инсайт-Лингва» при поддержке Мальтийского Управления по туризму и международного языкового центра Kings Education.
В этом году тема конкурса звучала так - «My Insight». Благодарим всех участников конкурса за присланные эссе! В год, когда «Инсайт-Лингва» отмечает свое 25-летие нам особенно приятно было читать про ваши - профессиональные и личные - инсайты.
Надеемся, что и программы, которые мы предлагаем, станут для вас и ваших учеников тем решением-инсайтом, которое все расставит по своим местам.
If I had to put a name on my story, I would call it "Switching Dimensions" as it explores the abyss-deep difference in educational systems and concepts, both of which I happened to be a part of.
Half of my professional life was spent in IB, i.e. International Baccalaureate. I went all the way from someone who had never heard of it before and up to coordinating Programmes and Departments. Categories, titles, evaluation visits, being a speaker at Annual IB Conference in Hague? – Sure! You name it. But two years ago I felt an undeniable urge to re-pot myself. It happened on all levels, from professional to personal. To put it simply, our paths with the Management of the school I had been working for at that time diverged and at about the same time I decided to end a disfunctional marriage. Having to start two lives from scratch ain’t easy but I knew better: my professional experience taught me to be a challenge-seeker and leave a comfort zone behind if one wants to break a habit loop and make miracles happen.
And so I did. That’s how my journey from being an IB "princess" in a private school to a working horse in a public one began. I resist the temptation to label it with an "up" or "down" preposition, as only Time will tell.
But there I was: groups got bigger, number of students skyrocketed to hundreds a day (with 7-8 groups per teacher), the pay was more down-to-earth (thank God it has never been my primary motive to be in this field) but that’s peripheral. Mentality of it all – that was a reality check. I found myself in front of an audience "with an investigative capacity of a one-legged cockroach" and "an attention span of a one-eyed chicken in a hurricane"*. I had to face a dismotivated, unskilled, socially awkward and, challenged-in-many-respects-crowd on an everyday basis. But a fighter in me kept this battle: and so, we wrote down the clusters of skills, watched Tony Wagner’s speech at a Conference of two Americas, got acquainted (and loved) a totally new (for the students) structure of a lesson and instruction. We are learning to reflect and pose problems. In less than a year’s time I was able to see the positive shift in mentality and, as a bonus, academic results of my students.
And here comes my insight: no other environment absorbs IB better and more rewardingly than a non-IB one. I find a lot of joy in being able to explore, experiment and blend in different concepts without all the administrative and rigid part of a process.
My journey is far from being over and I am thankful for the opportunity to share it.
*Terry Pratchett "The Hogfather"
My Dear Reader, do you know what Beauty is? Of course you know. I thought I did. But when I saw pink white lotus flowers I understood I had known nothing about it. It was terribly beautiful I could not sleep or eat. One can ask me ‘Why’ or ‘What the problem was’? There was no answer for some time. Once it came the problem was ‘How to teach my students to see, understand, appreciate and multiply the Beauty?’
One day I decided to plant my first lotus lake. My son, daughter and I had cleaned the neglected swamp behind our house before I brought lotus roots. It was not easy to get them. Three years later first flowers appeared on our lake. Old and young people came to it to admire the beauty of lotus flowers.
Then I decided to organise Ecologo-Linguistic Club ‘Lotus’. I made an advertisment and invited my students to join the Club. More than 30 students came. We had our meetings. Members of our club suppoted different projects for the sake of Nature. We prerared concerts and shows to protect our environment. We cleand the Japanese sea shore, travelled, made a lot of friends in different countries. It was proper language practice.
We spent summer in my native village in my parents’ house having all day English practice. My students created many lotus lakes in Primorsky Region. Children of different ages, nationalities, families were our club members.
Some people argued with me. They asked ‘What on Earth was I doing that for? It was not my duty. It did not bring me money.’ I cannot agree. I’m proud of my students. They just all became good peaceful, helpful, creative people. Nowadays they live and work in different places. They grow up their own children. I know they will be able to teach them to find and appreciate Beauty. Dear Reader everyone must do more than required.
Maybe my story is not ingenious, but some time ago English changed my life completely and became an essential part of it. Now it is my job, hobby and passion. It makes me move forward and develop my skills, it gives me a great chance to communicate with lots of people all over the world.
Yet my journey to the present situation has been long and complicated. At university I studied English. But after graduation I devoted my life to a completely different sphere and all my conscious life I told everyone that never in my life would I be a teacher. So I worked for a mobile company for nine years. I appreciated my job and I gained great experience in sales. Suddenly the idea that I didn’t want to lead my life like this anymore hit my mind. I started soul searching and for a long time the situation was touch-and-go. I reflected on purchasing, tourism and HR, but nothing attracted me as much as I imagined. Still I didn’t take teaching into consideration. One day my friend asked me to teach some English lessons to 3-5 year old children at her private language school. I was shocked, I couldn’t help thinking that it was impossible, that I didn’t want to teach anyone, especially kids, but I couldn’t say “no”. Although, I felt nervous and upset overcoming my unwillingness, I prepared for the lessons. And... during the first lesson a miracle happened. I realized that I liked the process and these extremely emotional and creative children. After the lesson I shared my feelings with the friend and she said, “Perfect, it’s your cup of tea” and I understood that finally I had found myself.
So I have chosen my way and since that moment I can’t stop learning. Every day I spend a lot of time preparing for lessons and this gives me real pleasure. I’ve got TKT, CAE and CELTA certificates and I’m thinking about doing my CPE and even further education abroad, because being a good teacher means never stopping learning and constantly developing yourself.
What is insight? I believe it is a will of God, an inexplicable phenomenon, which occurs at the crucial moment of your life in order to facilitate the situation. It mainly brings about positive changes and washes away all stumbling blocks on your way to success. I am lucky to have experienced this state several times in my professional life.
This story took place at the dawn of my career when upon graduation I was assigned to teach the weakest classes. To make things worse, I had to be a tutor for one boy at his home on the grounds of his constantly being ill.
During our first lesson the boy struck me as an attentive and diligent student. But when I came next time, I was completely taken aback. His mind seemed to have gone blank as he couldn’t utter a word.
When I left, I was on the verge of tears. My colleagues hinted about his mental problems. I surfed the Internet every day, and finally found...dyslexia, it accounted for everything.
I firmly believe no meeting is a coincidence. So I felt responsible to put an end to his misfortune. I did not sleep a wink that night and decided that my next lesson would be a far cry from everything I had done before. That was my insight moment. I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm and felt a flow of energy.
Next time I brought with me various toys. When I was taking them out of my bag instead of books, the boy’s eyes sparkled with curiosity. He preferred a hare to the others. I said that the hare had difficulty speaking English. The boy was elated and exclaimed he could teach it colours. Thus, we started to play. Being engrossed in the activity, he started making progress. I was in 7th heaven; his parents also noticed some changes and desire to study. Most importantly, it was confidence and can-do attitude that he acquired at our lessons.
Today I draw many psychological methods to my lessons regardless of students’ age. My credo is “ if you win a student's heart, you will also get his mind”.
In conclusion I would say that the insight was a blessing for both of us. When we are lost, it is like a beacon, which gives us a surviving light of hope in the darkness of doubts.
Hello! My name is Inna Junior. I’m an inseparable part of Inna Senior, who helps her in her full and energetic life. Inna Senior is a creative and optimistic person. To make her lessons modern, up-to-date and naturally funny, she always tries to think something new and original, because her job demands art and creativity. However, as she is Libra by her star sign, she constantly hesitates about making up her mind. Thus, this way she applies to ME. Day by day she asks me if it’s right or wrong, if her students will understand her ideas or will make fun of them. Once I told her –“You should see in every student and individuality, try to find the zest in every person.” Trying to think it over, we both came to the conclusion that has been an insight for us for as long as she works. I whispered her that if you want to be understood by your pupils, try to be them and don’t impose your or common ideas to them. One day I gave her a hint-“Make your students tell you even the most amusing and contradictory answers to your questions”. I assured her that every kid’s answer is right, even if most people think differently. As Margaret Thatcher said “You shouldn’t agree with the person to find a common language with them”. Giving students a white paper with a small black dot and asking them what they see, make them see this black dot, because it will develop their mind and will let them consider things from another angle. Thus, we try to create the basis for the flourishing of students. They understand her, work at the lessons as a team and hurry up to her lessons.
I’m happy to be a part of hers and I fill her life with as much creation, happiness and self- satisfaction as it can be taken.
Did you guess who I am? Yes, I’m her INSIGHT.
Best regards, Inna Junior
Since my childhood flickering flames have enchanted me. The fire has always been full of inexplicable mighty and passion. Tiny sparks of fire seem to appeal to my heart and my first memories are inextricably connected with them. Also the strength of wizards in fairy tales is associated with fire. Maybe, two Greek philosophers Heraclitus of Ephesus and Socrates were right to state that our universe was born out of fire and sparks of that fire are hidden in people`s hearts. In addition, Laura Bloom, the Mexican novelist, believes that “each of us is born with a box of matches inside, but we can`t strike them all by ourselves”.  We need magic to inflame inside and I think true magicians who could spell may be teachers that`s why I am a teacher.
It seems to me that I have a magic wand and create the world for each student in my lessons. In my view, the lesson for my students is their little life filled with unforgettable experience. Furthermore, it is a moment where the cooperation and collaboration take place. In my opinion, every pupil has unique sparks of fire which must be protected and guided. I realize that my vibrant fire makes my students inflame. The more I am interested in researches the more my students are captured by them. So my life of a teacher reminds me of various mazes. The more they are challenging the more students follow me. It seems to me when my heart burns, I live and work and I can ignite other hearts too.
Keep a little fire burning is not for me. My motto is that I survive because the fire inside me is burning brighter and brighter, that`s why flickering flames of any fire always attract me and the more I am absorbed in fire the better I can be as a TEACHER.
* Laura Esquivel. Like Water for Chocolate. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/likewater