Elevating Education – How A Teacher’s Approach Can Ignite Curiosity
We are halfway through Movember and as you already may know – this is the month to put a focus on men’s health and our annual IT Beards campaign. At Scalefocus, we value continuous learning and improving every day. In a way, we are all eternal students and constantly learning, teaching, and sharing knowledge. This is why the cause we’ve chosen to support this year is the education of young minds and one of the organizations we are supporting is Teach for Bulgaria – an education non-profit organization that works to provide quality education for every child in Bulgaria.
Today is International Students’ Day and it’s a perfect opportunity to share with you more about Teach for Bulgaria’s work and how they impact the lives of students in the whole country.
We have two stories about two students, situated in the small Bulgarian village of Polikraishte, shared by their teacher.
The first student just graduated 4th grade. On the last day of school, he was awarded an honorary certificate for academic success and is one of the most curious and diligent students in class. He received a nearly excellent score on both of the yearly external exams. He loves to smile, and he actually likes to get extra homework. He is excited to bring home the crafts he creates in class to show off to his father. He does it because he likes to hear his parents’ praise and feel their support. For the past three years, he’s shared both successes and challenges with his teacher and he loves to ask her questions. The trust and confidence they’ve built over the years is something he appreciates. He feels supported both at home and at school and is always proud to speak about his
The second student is in second grade. At the beginning of the school year, his class had a new teacher yet again. This is the third teacher in a row, and he’s already accepted that she too, will likely leave. At home, his father is constantly telling him – “You will embarrass and disappoint me, you can’t handle school.” Even though the boy is in second grade, he doesn’t know the alphabet and can’t count to ten. In class, he refuses to raise his hand or participate in any way. He sometimes shows aggression in class – if he gives the teacher the wrong answer or makes a mistake, he punishes himself by hitting his head or hitting the wall. He often gets so overwhelmed that he cries until he can barely breathe and hides under his desk. He has one friend at school, but he is unsure of himself even outside of the classroom. During recess, he often hides by himself and doesn’t want to play with the other kids.
Actually, these are not two different students. Both stories are about a boy named Zarko. Zarko at the beginning of second grade and Zarko at the end of fourth grade. How is such a transformation possible in only two years?
The road to change begins when Zarko meets his new teacher, Stasi. At first, she is confused by his behavior and tries different approaches to understand and motivate his learning. It’s not until she gets to the root of his behavior, Zarko’s unsupportive family environment, that she finds a way to get through to him. Stasi believed that his parents wanted the best for him, but maybe they didn’t know how to best support him in this process. The teacher began initiating frequent communication with the child’s parents, both over the phone and through visits to their home.
It’s through these meetings and conversations that Stasi gets Zarko’s parents to realize their impact on their child’s success. She listens, she offers advice, and she shows her faith in Zarko. Together, Stasi and Zarko’s parents work to encourage him, support him, and believe in him, so he can believe in himself.
In the classroom, Stasi continued to show Zarko that she’d be there to celebrate each and every one of his wins and that she was someone he could trust. Stasi doesn’t leave like the other teachers – she shows commitment and perseverance in her career to provide quality education for every child in Bulgaria. This is clear in Zarko’s story – a story of transformation and confidence, a story of a child who had the proper support system and a motivated teacher who believed in him every step of the way. Zarko is no longer the boy who hides and punishes himself for his failures – he is now proud and confident, knowing he can overcome any challenge that comes his way.
Let’s support teachers like Stasi to continue their exceptional work by taking part in IT Beards.