Back to School Diary of an English Teacher in Moldova

The following diary entry comes from Tatiana Popa in Moldova, as part of our ‘Back to School Diary’ series.

On the eve of the new academic year 2021-2022

Times have never seemed as uncertain in the education field as they do now. The Covid pandemic has changed enormously our approach to learning and teaching. If anyone had said at the beginning of March 2020 that we would be teaching online or on the hybrid, as a whole school, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Still, a year and a half on, we are doing this as if we have always had. There is no new day in education that won’t bring surprises, but having had my vaccines makes me step with more certainty in this academic year than I did a year ago. The Coronavirus hasn’t disappeared anywhere, but with most colleagues vaccinated and a big part of students getting their vaccines as well, I feel much safer as a community. We spend our entire day in school, that’s why the safety of our whole school makes us sleep better at night and not worry about this deadly virus that has already caused so much pain and loss on the planet. Heritage community is a safe place, in fact, as we had no cases of spreading the virus inside the school last year and overall the case numbers were very low or almost no cases.

This year we feel much safer from the psychological point of view having vaccines administered.

It’s a pity we still need to keep students in bubbles, and this means many of our usual activities will still look different – I refer here to the format of my eTwinning club.

Nevertheless, we will find a way to offer the same opportunities to our students.

The pandemic has a toll on all  educators – planning our teaching is different: we need to take into account that our audience might be not only in class, but also some students learning from home due to various serious reasons. In this case – teaching materials should be more digital in order to suit the needs of all students. I am stunned at how flexible educators are – it’s so difficult to teach both target groups and still we all do that so well! Saying this, I am not sure my inner batteries are completely charged to start the new semester – but I do miss my students so much! Teachers stay young at heart because they get the energies of their students daily. Who will know more about favourite online games of children, or interests, or their interpersonal skills than we educators do? I love listening to their ideas, seeing them talk to each other or tell jokes. Challenging them with new projects is my favourite part.

Reigniting Learning

Education must not suffer because of any global pandemic. Countries have joined forces together by sharing best practices and inspiring one another – the Global School Alliance is one example here – all of this for our young minds so that we offer what is the best in education.

I have several important projects that I started last year and  have the commitment to continue them, which I will do gladly:

The Climate Action Project, the Goals Project and the Rethink Plastics Project, which tackle the most urgent global issues are at the forefront in my planning for this year. The importance of these sustainability projects was illustrated and mentioned in my COBIS event on sustainability and PBL, where my guests spoke about the utmost importance of tackling SDGs in education and our daily living. HE Steven Fisher, the British Ambassador to Moldova, spoke about the COP26 Conference in Glasgow coming this November and why such high-level events are crucial for the planet in joining hands and making a positive change, but also how equally important it is to ‘grow our own garden’, in terms of taking action and making the world a better place. My students spoke about their hopes for the future and their feedback showed me once again that I am on the right track and I felt proud I am part of their shaping as global citizens.

I also have some eTwinning projects to continue and I am very much looking forward to working together with my team this year, so that I can apply for our eTwinning School title again in February.

Main Focus

The sustainability projects, the eTwinning Club, UN International days celebrated in our academic calendar, as well as my teaching degree attestation are the key priorities for the coming academic year. I am looking forward to participating in the T4 Global School Showcase in October – it has become a tradition to be part of the T4 events.

I am lucky to be part of a wonderful global network of educators and I learn from them daily, we share best practices, inspire and support one another. I am an ambassador for Global School Alliance, T4, eTwinning, Climate Action Project, and there are many other wonderful educational events happening – one just needs to be looking in order to see them! But what is an ambassador? Aren’t they the enthusiasts that promote what is best in education? Anyone can be an ambassador, as long as they have the willingness to learn and bring the latest opportunities for their students. I am looking forward to welcoming more enthusiasts in education during this new academic year – our young people are the only hope for a better future!

Saying one last thought – no one has inspired me more to do things in education than the children that sit in front of me – they are the present and the future for us all, the sparkle in their eyes is the best motivator for every teacher not giving up to change the world!

Author: Tatiana Popa

Teacher of English and Cambridge Global Perspectives, Moldova

Bio: Tatiana Popa is a teacher of English and Cambridge Global Perspectives at Heritage International School in Chisinau, Moldova. She is an eTwinning  ambassador in Moldova since 2015, but also an ambassador for Global School Alliance, Climate Action Project and T4 Community. Tatiana involves her students in global collaborative projects and brings the world into her classroom on a daily basis.

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