After a pandemic break, the traditional “I choose to teach!” event returned to Vilnius. At the event, 29 participants of the eleventh “I choose to teach!” generation were congratulated and awarded the alumni status, and the new – thirteenth – generation of participants was welcomed.
At the event, the vision of the programme was recalled many times, welcoming the fact that “I choose to teach!” attracts and prepares teachers who believe in every child and are passionate about making every child feel respected and valued at school so that they can reveal their potential. Most of the eleventh generation of teachers, who have accomplished the programme, will continue to pursue this vision by working as teachers in schools, occupying leadership positions or contributing to education policy-making in the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. This demonstrates the sustained and significant impact of the programme on Lithuanian education.
The event also focused on the importance of community and support to create change in education, and teachers were encouraged to find a balance between personal growth and change creation as well as recovery of their personal resources, stressing several times that it is important to remember to take care of oneself and to take a break.
Representatives of the participating schools and students of “I choose to teach!” teachers came to congratulate the teachers. The event was attended by the representatives of Vilniaus Prekybos Support Fund Dabar, the main partner and sponsor of the programme, Eglė Pranckūnienė and Marina Vildžiūnienė, the founders of the Public Institution Centre for School Improvement, which implements the “I choose to teach!” programme, Ramūnas Skaudžius, the Vice-Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as guests from the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius University, Edu Vilnius, PRIMUM ESSE, and from other organisations supporting the programme.
On behalf of the Minister of Education, Vice-Minister Ramūnas Skaudžius greeted the graduating and the new participants of the programme. In his speech, Mr Skaudžius shared his personal experience of participating in the programme, which has changed his approach to teaching and learning. The Vice-Minister wished the new alumni and future participants to never forget that they belong to a strong community where they can always find support.
Before presenting the diplomas to the new alumni, programme manager Artur Adam Markevič emphasised that “I choose to teach!” is more than a teacher training programme. According to him, the programme changes the identity of participants: “Today, you are different from yourselves two years ago. You have undergone a transformation – you have become teachers. And this is much more than an employment contract at school. “I choose to teach!” is about the child. It is a vision, a dream of a school where every child feels loved and empowered to succeed. <…> You, dear alumni, are responsible for this dream, for this vision of the school,” said the programme manager in his welcome address.
The event was filled with moments of emotion, gratitude and sensitivity, and culminated with an interactive performance by West African drummers.
School representatives and students of the programme participants came to congratulate the graduating teachers and shared their impressions and thoughts even after the celebration was over:
“Today, our technology teacher Ramunė Guogytė is finishing her two-year journey as a teacher in the “I choose to teach!” project.” One participant who spoke at the celebration mentioned that teachers surrounded by students are stars. “That’s exactly what she is!” shared Vilnius St Christopher’s Junior High School on their Facebook page.
In her Facebook post, the Head of Vilnius Žygimantas Augustas Middle School congratulated the new alumna of the programme and expressed her happiness that “Ieva is and is going to continue to be a teacher at our school, and I feel so glad to be able to be a part of an important event in the life of our teacher”. Agnė Motiejūnė, former head and alumna of the “I choose to teach!” programme, also shared her thoughts on the importance and impact of the programme’s vision:
“Vision is a powerful tool. First of all, it gives meaning to values and dreams for yourself. Then, it helps you stay the course of your journey. And finally, it attracts other followers. And now we witness the “I choose to teach!” vision many times from so many different speakers and works.”
The thirteenth generation of teachers of the “I choose to teach!” programme was welcomed at the event.
This year, 18 new participants have joined the programme and will start in schools in September. The thirteenth generation of “I choose to teach!” will join the ranks of teachers of mathematics, history, Lithuanian language, fine arts and technology, ethics, chemistry, English, social and emotional education, economics and entrepreneurship, geography, primary education, career education and non-formal education in September.
The new participants will receive intensive training throughout July in the “I choose to teach!” summer school, where they will receive the basic pedagogical and psychological preparation they need to start working at school.
About the “I choose to teach!” programme
The “I choose to teach!” programme brings together the education community – programme participants and alumni, teachers and schools – to bring positive change to Lithuanian education.
Aimed at change, the programme attracts motivated participants who are focused on assisting others and who have been working at school for at least two years. After completing the programme, around 75 per cent of participants remain in the field of education and go on to work as teachers, heads of school, members of the academic community or education policy-makers. The programme is initiated by the Public Institution Centre for School Improvement. The main partner of the programme, Vilniaus Prekybos Support Fund Dabar, helps to bring change.