ASTANA – The skills needed to be a role-model teacher include effective learning strategies, educational coaching and the benefits of loving what you do. The Astana Times interviewed elementary school teacher Yelena Fadeyeva to learn about solutions to these issues based on her classroom practices and nuances of teaching.
Extensive teaching experience helped Fadeyeva develop her unique and productive approach. While the large number of certificates, diplomas, publications in newspapers and a letter of gratitude from the Ministry of Education and Science prove her high-level of competence, the achievements of her students are more important to her.
“I feel delighted when my pupils take top prizes in competitions on mathematics, Russian language and learning the world. I am grateful to head principal of the school Talgat Akhmedinov and vice-principal Lyubov Branets for their support and trust in all my activities at work,” she said.
Fadeyeva started in education in 1979 and served for quite a while as the vice-principal of a rural school. She has been working for 20 years in junior and senior classes in the capital.
Times are changing and educational approaches must keep pace. The love for children remains unchanged, said Fadeyeva, who currently works at the capital’s school number 35.
She and her students plan to release a book entitled “My First President” highlighting their essays dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Independence Day.
“I am happy I was born in Kazakhstan. I always wanted to be a teacher. I am teaching the grandchildren of my first students. I can safely call myself a happy person, as I am bringing up three generations,” she said.
In 2013, Fadeyeva successfully completed the training course developed by Nazarbayev Intellectual School in cooperation with the University of Cambridge. She admitted participation was a real challenge, but she coped with the obstacles and was able to master the latest learning techniques.
Fadeyeva added she coordinates courses for teachers and promotes her activities as a coach for 30 teachers.
“I organise trainings and seminars to share my experience. Young teachers make their projects and presentations on educational and methodical work. I am proud to then get only positive reviews,” she said.
Educators learn various topics including identifying barriers to learning, social interaction in learning and expanding its range by studying the interactive and inclusive nature of the lesson, as inclusive education is of special importance.
“I always hold various competitions and activities to identify gifted and talented children. My pupils learn the advanced mathematical programme, as I pay much attention to this science. I constantly say that mathematics is the queen of sciences; if you know it, then you will know all the other things,” she said.
Communication with parents is essential, too, and meetings should be conducted creatively and usefully. They should not just to come to the quarterly conferences, but should learn something new.
“I do the video reportages and presentations about the children’s life in school for the meetings. How we went to the theatre, what pupils did in the classroom and during the breaks. I am proud that parents willingly take part in our creative experiments. I want to know how parents see the teacher and what future they see for their children,” she said.
Fadeyeva also monitors student progress.
“I do the charts based on the tests and assignments. It is important to me if a child shows good progress. It also indicates my progress, too. My students work well in a group. The learning process of the current generation is based on the ability to work in a group, be able to empathise, conclude based on the knowledge and gain knowledge from others. One kind word or support and they are trying to show their best results,” she said.
The days seem like hours, she added. At the end of the week, the children do not want to go home.
“As a teacher, I wish that children could come and say ‘I have a problem and help me solve it.’ I also had videos where children made promises to learn better. When parents saw it, they started to cry,” she said.
She related numerous examples of positive feedback from both students and parents who are pleased to find understanding and a warm welcome from the teacher.
“I work 16-20 hours a day and sleep only four hours, but I feel great,” said Fadeyeva, brightening. “I enjoy working. I am always looking for new ideas and things useful for me and my children. It is very important to love your profession.”
“A teacher shouldn’t be a perfect person. A teacher is a person with his or her own experience. It’s great when the teacher is not afraid to make a mistake, as it contributes to a child’s development. Children shouldn’t feel that you are a teacher; children need to feel that you are a friend first and foremost and in the course of this friendship, there goes a learning process,” she said.