When the Future of the Automotive Industry Enters the Classroom
Or how Bosch employees inspired the students from Secondary School “Lyuben Karavelov” in Plovdiv to be more motivated and focused on their personal development
“We need to somehow show students that there are plenty of opportunities for development.” This statement sums up why Vladimir Vladimirov, Project Manager at Bosch Engineering Center in Sofia, was so motivated to visit the students at Secondary School “Lyuben Karavelov” in Plovdiv.
His visit was part of Teach For Bulgaria’s initiative Role Models. Role Models connects successful professionals from different sectors with schools. The goal is for students to get an extra boost in their motivation and to start thinking about their future personal and professional development.
Vladimir visited the school with his colleague Panayot Nikolov, Director of Sales for Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Bulgaria and North Macedonia. Panayot also participated in the initiative driven by his motivation to help young people in Bulgaria by sharing his own experience.
It was actually the teachers who decided to invite the two professionals from Bosch. They wanted to make their classes more relevant and practical and to motivate their students.
“It is crucial for us that the role model can inspire the children because they seem to have lost their motivation during the long periods of online learning. This provoked us to look for people who can be role models for them, so that their inner drive and ambition can be rekindled,” commented Bozhidara Ilieva, IT teacher and A New Way to Teaching alumna.
Roza Baltova, senior teacher of Bulgarian language and literature and coordinator of the school’s project My Vision for the Future, added that the open communication and approach the visitors chose to share their story influenced the students on a deeper level. Their story may have sounded like a hybrid between a sci-fi novel and a lecture on economics, but Vladimir and Panayot managed to share their professional journeys and tell the students about the future of the automotive industry, technology, and innovation in “a very natural, approachable and personable way with the appropriate visualization.” This helped them convey important messages to the students on the importance of having the right mindset, perseverance, discipline, optimism, compassion, and tolerance. According to Roza, this was very important for the students’ personal growth.
“During our visit we discussed personal growth, the importance of interpersonal skills, and ways to identify exactly what you need to work on, in order to be successful at your job and also be a better person,” shared Panayot Nikolov. He was very impressed by the interesting and meaningful discussion they had with the students and their teachers after the presentation.
“I was surprised by the energy and enthusiasm I could see in the students and in their teachers. Their motivation and interest in what I was saying, their questions were very unusual, some of them were really intriguing. It was a pleasure for me to answer their questions. Another pleasant surprise was the connection between students and teachers. I could feel the positive energy in the room. There was no clear distinction between students and teachers – they were all on the same team,” added Panayot.
Vladimir agreed with his colleague and commented on the positive environment, sense of belonging, and shared values:
“The children were very inquisitive and I could tell that their teachers were keeping up with the latest developments, I could tell that they were thinking out of the box. They really try to develop their students. The school was perhaps one of the best schools I’d ever visited. I loved the relationship between students and teachers, I had never seen anything like it before. When we got out into the schoolyard, a teacher went to a group of students and started talking with them, they were talking and laughing as if they were peers.”
A few years ago Vladimir made a successful career change – from an athlete and a national karate and kickboxing coach to an engineer of innovative automotive technology. He pointed this out to the students in order to illustrate that personal growth comes from internal motivation and life-long learning, regardless of what career they choose. And that nothing is impossible.
“There are more and more international companies in Bulgaria. Bulgaria has a lot of capable people with potential, they just need someone to give them a chance and to show them the opportunities for development that lay ahead,” commented Vladimir.
Vladimir and Panayot’s visit is part of Teach For Bulgaria’s partnership with Bosch which started in March of 2021. Besides the inspirational school visits, Bosch supports us with funding for the purchase of the hardware and software we use for the training of the teachers in our two programs – A New Way to Teaching and Model Schools.
We are very grateful to Bosch for believing in every child’s potential and for supporting our mission!
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