Most recently, the city stage of the “Teacher of the Year 2022” contest ended in Murmansk. The absolute winner was Nataliya Abolemova, a teacher of English and French in high school #8. Correct pronunciation, declensions and turns of speech Natalia Vilovna
has been teaching children for nine years. And now it is even difficult to imagine that the path to the profession was not easy.
The first pancake is lumpy
After leaving school, the priority for future student Natalia Abolemova was the Faculty of Foreign Languages. I managed to enter the then Murmansk Pedagogical University on a budget.
Studying was easy and already from the fourth year there was an opportunity to earn extra money in the evenings at language centers. He gradually got involved in the teaching process and started looking for a place in the school. It was found pretty quickly. And now, it seems, the process has been started, you can plunge into the profession with your head. But everything turned out to be not so simple.
– The first year of work was spent at school number 23, and I frankly failed it – recalls Natalia Vilovna. – Despite my honors degree, the fact that I thoroughly prepared for all classes, the lessons were very hard and stressful. Not everything turned out the way I planned and wanted. The children turned out to be “not so”, the level of education of the students was also “not so”. In a word, in reality everything was very different from what I imagined. I admit, it was hard, I wanted to leave everything and run away. But many thanks to the colleagues who supported me in a difficult period, helped with advice, professional tricks.
In order not to be completely disappointed with the chosen path, the future “Best teacher in the city of Murmansk” changed her job and moved to a school in the village of Molochni. Among the students there were many children from families in a difficult life situation. It seems that this fact not only does not make the work of a young teacher easier, but gives rise to a bunch of new problems. But it was there, according to Natalia Abolemova, that a real breakthrough happened and, as they say, it worked.
“There was a wonderful team there,” says Natalia Abolemova. – Lots of pedagogical freedom, creativity. I found my approaches to children and worked on mistakes on myself as a teacher. I learned to hear from the guys what I was doing wrong. For example, they disliked too confusing explanations of the material, too large homework assignments that were physically very difficult to handle, and excessive rigor. It is clear that the guys said it in their own way, but I learned to listen and hear them, to adjust my work so that it was good for them and for me. And it worked for everyone.
Not two, but “failed”
A foreign language is a specific subject and it is no secret that it is not easy for everyone. Some catch the lesson on the fly and still do extra work. Some people find it difficult to remember irregular verbs. But in the educational system there are requirements for mass quality. That is, all must be taught. So 15 people came to the class and all 15 have to learn a certain minimum. And at the same time, teachers are required to work in-depth with gifted children, special attention should be paid to them. And to combine everything in one lesson when the children are different in the class is a big task.
“We need to find a balance,” says Natalia Vilovna. – There are different approaches, including multi-step tasks. For example, someone makes only the base. It is well made and you can’t touch it anymore. And someone gets it easier and faster and you give those guys extra complex capabilities. The main thing is to explain why this is happening. So that there are no questions that one has less tasks and the other has more because it is unfair. It is necessary to motivate the child so that the next task is perceived as a reward, an opportunity to receive an additional assessment. You need to communicate with children. They imperceptibly read the smallest lie, some of your mistakes are noticed much faster than you. It is important to be aware of this.
Of their English teacher, the eighth-grade boys say he is strict but fair. If there is an expressed requirement, everyone fulfills it without exception, the rules are the same. Another thing is that even a bad grade does not look like a sad sentence, but an opportunity to correct the situation. For example, a couple is never heard from in class. If the child has written the work poorly, the teacher says “failed”. That is, there are grades “excellent”, “good” and “failed”. And there is always an opportunity to earn a good grade and correct bad work.
The main thing is to want
The basis of success in any business is motivation, interest in the result. And learning a foreign language is no exception, and Natalia Abolemova experienced it herself.
“Of course, motivation is needed, for example, when you have to speak and understand people in this language,” Natalia Vilovna is convinced. – As a teenager, I fell in love with the work of the Rasmus group. She is Finnish, but they sing in English. Of course, I realized that if I had the opportunity to communicate with these people, I would need knowledge of the English language. And that became motivation. I read and translated texts, learned and said phrases to myself, imagined dialogues and translated them in my mind, looked at what words and rules I was missing in my vocabulary. I went to the teacher with these questions. That is, interest is charged. That’s the whole secret.
As Natalia Abolemova says, she continues to study to this day. And competitions are also an opportunity to improve your skills.
“There is an opportunity to see something for yourself, to discover something new,” says Natalia Vilovna. – And even if you see how it doesn’t need to be done, it also happens. At the top of everything is communication and competitions – this is a great opportunity to communicate. Before the regional stage. And then I’ll probably take a break for a few years. It takes time for a new professional idea to mature and take shape.
teacher around the clock
A series of competitive trials, excitement, experiences and joy of victory gradually turn into pleasant memories. Daily realities – lessons, checking notebooks. At home, they catch up with various creative thoughts and ideas for future classes. And it’s time for inspiration: you can come up with interesting explanations for a new topic, look for films and photos to illustrate. It’s basically a 24/7 job. In addition, a class guide is added to the core subject. So, communication with children, parents, solving current problems. That is, there is no such free time. But if it appears, it is possible to go with an eight-year-old daughter to the pool or to the cinema. By her own admission, the best teacher of the city has not yet thought about how to spend the prize for winning the competition, but there are contours.
– I think that the best investment is travel, – Nataliya Abolemova is confident. – I would like to go with my daughter to Moscow, to walk with the child around the zoo.
Photo: Igor Eremenko.