Recently, I have spent a lot of hours in my office trying to write new lesson plans, new activities, and new STEAM challenges having my students in mind –how to help them become better people and lifelong learners. The truth is that over the past year I have seen more and more schools changing their curriculum and their teaching methods. I’ve noticed that many teachers feel stuck and want to try something new, or ‘follow’ the trends fearing they’d lose their students (oh! Do I need to open this chapter, too?).
Text by: Konstantina Karamouta
But again, I have some questions.
- What happens if schools are changing due to competition pressure?
- What happens with the schools that are addicted to the old, traditional methods and do whatever they can to prove that ‘other’ methods aren’t working?
Well, I strongly believe that revolution in education is fast-moving but changes take time to be seen. The raison d'être of our job is child and adult education. However, a revolution often involves a struggle of ideas between the old and the new. There are unfortunately plenty of schools and educators who are changing just because their competitors did. So, what I simply mean here is that teachers need to start thinking about their professional development more seriously if they want to change! There are so many insightful seminars, webinars, training courses, MA and BA programs as well as many books we can read to educate ourselves. The biggest problem is that we are trying to educate our students but... what about ourselves? Building a new curriculum, creating activities, and writing new material for students requires hard work, time, and effort if you want to be successful. You always think about what is pedagogically appropriate, you reflect, and you revise again and again.
So, using a photo from the competitor’s social media account claiming you follow the XYZ method without study, research and piloting will not make our lessons better, it will make our lessons worse! And we may also cause damage to our students if we do so. What I am trying to say to my fellow teachers who are reading this article is the following: Believe in YOURself! You need to find YOUR own resources, you have to search and find the people you wish to collaborate with, you need to pilot YOUR techniques and activities, and last but not least, you have to do what YOU believe will have an impact on your students. Not because the competition does it!
To all teachers who are constantly trying to apply new teaching methods, who are struggling every single day, who want to see what their students have achieved, I say ‘BELIEVE IN YOURSELF’! People talk and they will always talk and the truth is that competition in our field is really fierce! If you truly believe in what you do, if you have a vision, then do not look back and keep going! All teachers, school owners, and educators have to care for their students. If someone thinks that the grammar-translation method is the best-case scenario, fine; no one can force them to change their mindset. But show respect to the other colleagues who believe that the holistic, experiential way is the best method. So, don’t try to prove that you are right and someone else is wrong, just do what you do and always have your students in your mind.
I have heard and I keep on hearing ‘Oh, they don’t learn in that school, they just play games’. When I first heard of that I got really disappointed. But then, I sat back and I said to myself ‘Do you believe in your method? Do your students learn more than they used to? Are your students happy? Do they care about what they learn?’ and I answered YES, YES, YES!!! People who don’t know your work, believe what they hear. We always have to focus on our vision and our mission and we should not care about other people’s opinions if we teach our students properly!
I believe in the power of education. To all teachers who are reading this article, I am saying ‘do what is best for your students and for you’. Do not enter unchartered waters just because your competitor did! Do what your heart tells you because our job is a profession of the heart!
Let’s have an amazing academic year!