“I believe that our main responsibility as a community is twofold: first of all, we need to convince as many Bulgarian children as possible that they have the agency to change their lives and our society for the better… and second of all, we need to convince Bulgarian society that we’re all in this together and that there’s a long way to go before all children get an equal chance or start in life.”
This is a quote from the opening speech with which Trayan Trayanov, CEO of Teach For Bulgaria ad interim, addressed the new class of participants in the program during the opening ceremony of the 9th Summer Institute. Teach For Bulgaria class of 2019-2021 started their intensive summer training on July 8 in the town of Lukovit located in Lovech region. Our new participants are going to start teaching at partner schools in over 10 regions of Bulgaria in September of 2019.
“Even if we came up with the greatest idea in the world, without the support of dedicated people, it would be doomed to failure. You are the key to social change. Bulgaria needs people like you,” said Desislava Talyokova, Executive Director of the America for Bulgaria Foundation – Teach For Bulgaria’s initiator and main donor.
The Head of the Regional Management of Education for Lovech and long-term Teach For Bulgaria partner, Elenko Nachev, also addressed the new teachers at the start of their Summer Institute:
“Teachers should know where they’re headed and what their goal is. We have to start training children for jobs that don’t exist yet. It is our duty to discover children’s talents and every child is like a whole new universe.”
Teach For Bulgaria’s Summer Institute is a 7-week preliminary training program designed to prepare the participants in our program for their first year as teachers. Before the beginning of the Summer Institute our participants had the opportunity to shadow a teacher for a day, participate in a variety of workshops for effective teaching practices, meet with Teach For Bulgaria alumni, do a series of classroom observations at different schools, and do some additional reading and research.
In the meantime, any participants who are not certified teachers started their university qualification at Teach For Bulgaria’s partner universities in compliance with all state requirements.
In the first three weeks of the Summer Institute the new class of participants learn how to create a vision for their work, plan lessons, motivate students to accomplish big goals, get parents more involved in school activities, work with the national standards of education, and collaborate with other teachers and the school administration. The training involves many practical assignments including a field study in Lukovit and the neighbouring villages with the purpose to get acquainted with the community and context in which many of their future students live.
The training of all participants in the program also includes the internationally recognized model Teaching as Leadership. It is developed to be particularly effective with underperforming students from families with low socioeconomic status. Teaching as Leadership has six tested principles which help teachers see a considerable boost in the motivation of their students and lead to better academic results.
During the three-week Summer Academy the participants in the program teach classes from first to twelfth grade at two schools in Sofia (July 29 – August 15, 2019). They teach different subjects while a team of coordinators observe, give feedback and guidance so that teachers can improve their work in the classroom. They teach every day, meet with their coordinators, plan their next lessons, grade student work, and analyze the data from their classes.
During the school year teachers receive ongoing training and have access to teaching resources based on their individual needs. Every Teach For Bulgaria participant works with a coordinator who has prior teaching experience. The coordinator provides professional support during the two-year program. (S)he visits and observes classes, leads monthly meetings, gives feedback and guidance so that all teachers can constantly improve their work in the classroom.
Teach For Bulgaria has been working with partner schools in the region of Lovech quite successfully since 2013. Our long-term corporate partner in this region has been TITAN Zlatna Panega Cement AD.