“I always have a plan! In the long run, it is not necessary for the plan to be detailed, but you should at least have the main frame,” says Ivan Petrov, who just made a big change in his life plan. Moreover, this decision might change the lives of a handful of Bulgarian students.
After graduating from the University of Dundee, Ivan’s original plan was to accept the offer for an MA in Political Economy at the University of Manchester. Having studied for 6 years in the UK, this would have been the logical step for the 23-years-old Bulgarian. However, as challenges exist to be accepted, shortly after bumping into the website of the non-for-profit organisation "Teach for Bulgaria", he decided to dedicate the next two years of his life to teaching.
"Teach for All"
"Teach for Bulgaria" is part of the "Teach for All" network, which includes 27 countries and is growing fast. The aim is to give students equal education opportunities and to inspire them. The easiest way to do that is by employing some of the most promising future leaders as teachers.
In its third year "Teach for Bulgaria" will welcome 65 teachers, who will be placed in classrooms around the whole country. Ivan is one of them and hopes to be allocated to a smaller town or village, because the impact his presence will have, would be bigger there.
Teacher, or Leader?
The difference between the teachers from the program and the traditional ones is rather obvious - while the average age of the teachers in Bulgaria is 50, most of the people who join "Teach for Bulgaria" have just graduated. Most of them have international experience, which seems to be invaluable in forming their own personality. Although most of them don’t have pedagogical education, only great personalities can be inspiring enough to wipe out the big difference between the quality of teaching in the different schools in Bulgaria.
The new teachers should teach actively – they should lead the child through the way of reaching an answer and stimulate them in every way. Ivan knows that teaching doesn’t end with the last school bell and wants to involve his future students in different activities outside the classroom. Having in mind his education in Economics, he would also like to help the students in developing an entrepreneurial way of thinking – something that many believe is missing in the modern Bulgarian schools.
Ivan is aware of the fact that teaching is not as easy, as it may seem and is ready to accept all challenges that will come on his way during the next two years: “The teacher should be a leader in the classroom. His duties go far beyond the everyday marking of the students“
Just to confirm his own words about having plans in general, he points out that the first thing he will do in the classroom is to prepare an accurate plan that will be followed. In the very first days he wants to persuade his pupils that learning is something exciting and that they will need the knowledge from school in the future. He will also gain new knowledge from the classroom and there is no need in persuading him that it will be useful: “I will become more organised and more focused on my goals. I already met some of the other teachers from Teach for Bulgaria and they are all great people! They are motivated and work towards the success of each single child!”
The biggest prize for Ivan, and probably for all teachers, will be to see his own students enrolled in a prestigious university or having a job that makes them happy.
"Teach for Bulgaria" seems quite promising: what can bring Bulgaria out of the bad ranking in most European fields, if not young inspired leaders followed by their students? And let’s not forget that the students should become better than their teachers.