Meet the Class of 2020: Monika, Danail, Krasimira

трима от новите учители на Заедно в час

April 15 is the deadline for applications for Teach For Bulgaria’s program. Despite the state of emergency, we’ve completely reorganized our selection process, which is now entirely online, and are still looking for applicants who are motivated to help students unlock their potential.

The first successful candidates, selected after excelling in all three stages of our selection process, have already started their preliminary training. They will start teaching in September of 2020. They will also go through an intensive Summer Institute with theoretical and practical modules which involve teaching in Teach For Bulgaria’s annual Summer Academy.

We are happy to present three of the first participants from the new class of 2020-2022 – Monika, Danail, and Krasimira. If you are motivated to work with them and provide every child in Bulgaria with better access to quality education, apply on our website by April 15.

Monika Teneva: In order for students to be successful, they have to believe that they can do it, while we, their teachers, have to show them that we also believe in them.

Monika Teneva

Monika is 26 years old, from Burgas. At first, she wanted to major in economics, but then reconsidered and decided to follow her passion for journalism, so she majored in Bulgarian philology in Burgas Free University. Thanks to her wonderful professors, however, she had a change of heart and decided to become a teacher during her third and fourth year as a university student.  She is currently finishing her degree in history and completing her teaching certification in the same university.

Why did you apply to be a Teach For Bulgaria teacher?

This was my second application for the program and it was successful. I first applied 4 years ago right when I finished my bachelor’s degree. I’m happy that I got a second chance and I feel even more motivated than before. I decided to apply because I want to make a difference for as many children as possible.

During my university teaching practice I taught a few classes to tenth-graders whose only reason to be at that school was that they were not accepted anywhere else. They were not accepted in better schools because of low GPAs. Most of them lived in the remote neighborhoods of Burgas and were raised by their grandparents. They were so full of life and at the same time so distant from everything at school. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get their attention and they left my classes with big smiles on their faces. Then I realized that apparently I CAN teach. I’ve always had the support of my family, my great teachers, and friends. That’s why I am motivated to be that kind of teacher for my future students.  

What do you expect from the next two years as a teacher?

Many challenges. I’m going to encounter something new and unfamiliar every day, but I’m ready to learn. I hope the next two years will bring change for me and for my students, why not even break the stigma of Bulgarian education.  

I want to show my students that nothing is impossible, that everything is up to us, that they shouldn’t give up. I want to teach them to smile at the world, to be curious and knowing. I hope to see them as grown young people who take ownership of their lives, think and act with sensibility. I want to show them the positive energy of Teach For Bulgaria and make them realize that how much you know is not important, what matters the most is the ability to apply what you know in practice. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but I believe that change is just beginning for me.  

 What education do students need to be successful and happy?

Students need equal access to quality education. They need a supportive environment which makes them feel equal regardless of their ethnicity, birthplace, etc. Children should feel special because they are. Teachers are role models and children spend more time with them than with their own parents.

Children should understand that they need knowledge and learn how to apply it. In order to be successful they have to believe that they can do it while we, their teachers, have to show them that we also believe in them. They can find information anywhere in today’s digital world, but they should be able to select and draw conclusions from it. We have to teach children what self-respect is, but also to respect and show empathy to others. As part of this society we all should recognize that we are equal, have the same rights and obligations, only then will we be able to live in a better world.

Danail Raykov: I hope I’ll be able to transmit the experience and development I get from Teach For Bulgaria’s program to my students

Danail Raykov

Dani has a master’s degree in international economic relations and has specialized in international project management. His love of books leads to a job at one of the largest publishing houses in Bulgaria. He loves spending his free time with friends, at home with a good book, or working out outdoors.

Why did you apply to be a Teach For Bulgaria teacher? 

I had several reasons to apply. Even though I’m only 26, I realized that my office job was not rewarding, so I sought the change I thought Teach For Bulgaria would bring. I feel that teaching is my calling and at the same time I realize that this kind of motivation is often looked down upon nowadays. Perhaps I’m drawn to the profession because my parents are teachers. My great-grandparents met as teachers and my mom still teaches. My strongest motivator to join the program was the opportunity to become a teacher and at the same time to contribute to the much needed positive change in our society.

What do you expect from the next two years as a teacher? 

I think I’ll be both a teacher and a student in the next two years. My guess is that they will be filled with challenges and difficulties, but you can only learn how to swim in deep waters. What I do know, however, from my interactions with students at Teach For Bulgaria’s partner schools, is that working with these children will be a great pleasure for me. I hope I’ll be able to transmit the experience and development I get from Teach For Bulgaria’s program to my students because I would like them to have the same access to opportunities that I have.

What education do students need to be successful and happy? 

Students need the type of education that doesn’t feel like an obligation or a requirement, but as an opportunity for a better future. Otherwise, they will just give up. To get to the point where they associate their education with the opportunity for a better future, however, they need motivated teachers who put them in the center of the process. And this process doesn’t need to be anything more than a friendly environment where students feel safe and where they are able to gain not just subject-matter knowledge, but learn about relevant topics of interest as well – motivated, driven, and happy.

Krasimira Lazarova: It is our responsibility to find students’ strengths and motivate them to grow

Krasimira Lazarova

Krasi is from Ruse. She has a degree in industrial economics from the academy in Svishtov. She has worked as an economist at different organizations. She loves challenges, gardening, cooking, travelling, and learning new things.

Why did you apply to be a Teach For Bulgaria teacher?

I’m at a stage in my life when I realize that I have a lot of experience and knowledge I can pass on to the people around me. I attended one of Teach For Bulgaria’s recruitment presentations and I liked the idea of a different type of teaching with new methods for influence and motivation in the classroom. I liked the fact that Teach For Bulgaria has built a community of like-minded people who want to be change agents and are ready to work for it.

What do you expect from the next two years as a teacher?

I intend to work on unlocking every student’s potential, building their self-efficacy, and providing them with opportunities for development and self-expression. I hope that by implementing modern technology in the classroom, I’ll be able to engage and motivate my students with dynamic and captivating lessons. My vision is for my classes to be planned as training sessions and to be executed with my students’ active participation. I think it’s important to get feedback from them – how they feel about our classes, what they’ve learned, what they need to work on.  I hope to gain their trust and be accepted as their partner. I hope they won’t see me as the enemy on the other side of the barricade.

What education do students need to be successful and happy?

I think that lessons should be taught in a way that would help students understand the subject-matter, learning should be like a game with a focus on group work and with a big goal that everyone should aspire to achieve. The big goal could be a book festival, for example. Students might have to read 500 pages to attend the book festival. I think that students will be happy and successful when they are allowed to do the things that they like. Our responsibility is to find their strengths and motivate them to grow.

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