The student Aylin Hadzhiyska talks about what Teach For Bulgaria’s Summer Academy means to her and why she is going for the 8th year in a row
My name is Aylin Hadzhiyska and I just finished 9th grade. I first enrolled in the adventure called Summer Academy right after I finished second grade. I was very little, quite curious, and I’d always loved school. After the first year I begged my mom to sign me up for this adventure every single summer. And when I finished 7th grade I was able to register myself.
I learned about the academy from a neighbor. She had already enrolled and invited me to join her. I was very excited at first, but when the Academy started in July, as far as can I remember, I felt a little strange, but it was still nice. All of my classmates slept in while I had to get up early to go to school in the summer. Perhaps it was a strange decision on my part, but it was exciting. I had great teachers at the academy. We learned something new every day, but it wasn’t like the way I was used to at school, it was more interesting. We learned by playing different games. It was so much fun.
The Summer Academy helped me make new friends and get to know myself better
I still talk to teachers and classmates I met throughout the years, even if we don’t live in the same neighborhood or town. Mr. Vihrenov (editor’s note: class of 2016-2018) was my class teacher and taught history in 5th grade. I still keep in touch with him. We communicate only online, but I’m very happy that we still talk after all these years.
I met Mr. Stoev in 6th grade. He was my class teacher and taught math. For the three weeks we spent together we learned how to be young architects and created a model of 90th school in Sofia where the academy was. When I was in 7th grade and I had to pass my external evaluation exams Mr. Stoev helped me a lot with my math problems. I saw him again last summer at the conference “The Adventure: It’s Up to Me”. We worked together again and I remembered how much I enjoyed being his student.
A little later that year I saw him again at a different event at the National Palace of Culture. After all these years we still see each other at different events and keep in touch. Of course, there are many more teachers who’ve had an impact on my life, these are just the brightest examples I can think of off the top of my head. If it hadn’t been for Teach For Bulgaria, we wouldn’t have met and become friends. I have friends from the academy and we joke about that every time we see each other.
What I like about Teach For Bulgaria is that they show teachers new and interesting teaching techniques to engage students. As an example I would point out the jar with colorful wooden sticks. Our names are written on separate sticks and when the teacher has to pick someone to answer the question, they draw a stick from the jar. There is a moment of anticipation while the teacher fiddles with the sticks which could be quite fun. At my school (editor’s note: 97 Secondary School “Brothers Miladinov”), we have more than 5 teachers who have completed Teach For Bulgaria’s program. The way they teach inspires students to learn. Their presence and the way they communicate with us makes us happy.
I was hoping there would be a Summer Academy this year because summer wouldn’t be the same without it
Despite the pandemic, I think it would be nice to have a Summer Academy this year. One of the reasons I registered to participate for the 8th year in a row is that I miss face-to-face communication. I think that the “stay at home”campaign had a negative impact on many students. We had to stop hanging out with friends and going to school. We had to change our lives drastically. The other reason why it had a negative impact was remote learning which changed everything. This is why I will be happy to catch up and discover something new and useful.
I believe that Teach For Bulgaria’s Summer Academy can help students a lot, if they struggled with some subjects during remote learning. This is an opportunity which can give us a lot, if we take advantage of it.
The last thing I would like to share with you is that the anticipation and excitement I feel when I think that I’ll get to participate in yet another Summer Academy are still there and they get stronger every year.
We are very grateful to Aylin for sharing why she decided to participate in this year’s Summer Academy. Classes were booked in a record time, but you can still support us. For the first time this year, we organized a public donation campaign in an effort to provide students with quality education.
Find out more about the Summer Academy here (link in Bulgarian).
This year’s Summer Academy is sponsored by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, TITAN Zlatna Panega Cement AD, Breaktime, ITST Technology, and Serdika Center. Our NGO partners are HESED “Health and Social Development” and Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance.