Teacher Stan Gabriela,
Gymnasium School No.7, Petrosani
I always thought that teachers and students must have a good relationship if together want to succeed, to achieve new knowledge. Yes, teachers can achieve new knowledge from their students.
When I used to say this in the teacher’s room, I remarked smiles on the faces of the others. They had never thought and believed about this before the pandemic. But… guess! Some of those (who had smiled) were in the position to find out from their students’ ways of communicating or doing different activities using the computer or even their mobile phones.
Over the night our lives changed and no one was able to tell us how long it will last, when it ends, or what exactly we have to do. Almost everything was new, provocative, interesting and strange.
I couldn’t have imagined how little students –those from the primary school, aged 6-7 years-, might learn English. Some of them did not know the letters. “What should I do?” I wondered.
Fortunately, my first online classes were held with 8th grade students. We had changed the role for a short time, meaning that those who had digital abilities became my guides, my teachers. I think, you the one who read, smile, don’t you?!
The first step was to create a link on the Zoom platform. Easy, did I say. Then I was learnt how to share screen and to use jamboard. After that things started being clearer and clearer. I had to work more for teaching and practicing.
I started searching online courses, educational platforms and sites. I could say that I was lucky because I and my students had done listening and reading activities long before the pandemic has troubled us. I used my laptop for listening activities and my students used their phones for reading activities. We were lucky, weren’t we?
Since I was a young teacher I thought that if students and teachers have a good relation, they may do good things. All I ever wanted was to make my students feel comfortable during the English classes, to be relaxed, to allow them to express themselves without fear.
At the beginning of each year, we tell each other our expectations. I like saying that we are open- minded, that we are friends and students need to know why they got high/ low grades.
I always encourage my students to self-assessment. I am glad remarking their rightness. That’s why English is one of the most relaxing classes. I can say that I am able to make my own worksheet on different platforms.
It’s important for everyone to feel well, to be confident, and to help each other. Time passed, the summer holiday arrived, but for teachers, it was just another beginning of achieving digital competences. I, myself wanted to learn new things besides platforms and sites and I am proud of what I learnt.
Not every change comes with something untouchable. It depends on the way you want to see, to understand. I think that if you like your job and appreciate your students, you will do your best. The most important thing is communication because it is the basis of solving all problems.
I like having conversations with my students asking them how a teacher should act, what kind of activities they would like to do during the classes. Their opinions are very important for me and I noticed they are not afraid of expressing their expectations. Long ago, I found out that for them is very important the way a teacher enters the classroom. Even if they did not prepare well and might get a low grade, but the teacher is a kind person who smiles and explains that they did not well, they don’t get upset and try not to repeat the mistake of not learning.
I think that a teacher should never forget that he/ she is the one who makes students responsible and honest; we have to learn them what is better, we need to be, first of all, human and cross beyond the teacher’s desk (this is just a place where we put our things, nothing more!).
During this pandemic year, I learnt that teachers and students can behave the same as before, that both teachers and students may sometimes change their roles, that we learn all our lives, that all of us are important, that we need to be human.
Never forget to smile and to say a good word, everyone deserves it. Be childish, be yourself, be open- minded! Respect if you want to be respected! The best recipe for teachers and students’ well-being: happy teachers+ happy students= happy school.