This autumn, members of the 11th generation of the programme “I choose to teach” (Lith. Renkuosi mokyti) are to join the ranks of Lithuania’s teachers. Only 30 participants were selected from 357 candidates. Today they have started preparation for a new step in their career. A month-long summer camp will help them boost their courage to make their first steps as teachers in Lithuania’s schools and gain competence necessary for working with children.
It is important to remember every single child while working at a distance
Conditions of remote teaching determined by the quarantine became a real challenge for the entire education system in Lithuania. The programme “I choose to teach” was no exception. This year will be different for the 11th generation of the programme as new learning conditions require new qualities from teachers and the ability to adapt to the changing situation fast.
“To prepare the training syllabus for the new participants, we had to change the format of training and to adjust it for the conditions of remote learning. For this reason, part of training will take place as usually (under normal learning conditions in natural learning environment), and part – at a distance. This will serve as practice for our participants who may be forced to adapt to different situations while working at schools. This is a challenge for our team – we have been looking for the best ways to help the participants cope with the possible difficulties of remote teaching at schools”, Agnė Motiejūnė, head of the “I choose to teach!” programme, said.
According to Dr Eglė Pranckūnienė, education expert and founder of the Centre for School Improvement, which has been implementing the programme, it is important not only to know how to properly give lessons at a distance, but to also see every child who needs attention and assistance. “Having observed how schools manage to cope with remote teaching for a few months, we can say that we are delighted with the outburst of teachers’ creativity and effort made by teachers and schools. All this has contributed to making lessons useful and the learning process smooth. Yet, it should be mentioned that the ability to build up contact with children and help them reveal themselves remains extremely important. This task is not easy, especially when screens separate teachers from children. Therefore, the values fostered by the programme “I choose to teach” which encourage the teachers-to-be to reveal the learning potential of every child have become important as never before”.
“I choose to teach!” is the base for sustainable changes in education
Belief in changes in education has brought the enthusiastic teachers-to-be to the schools of Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Prienai district, Šiauliai district, Elektrėnai, Kretinga, Trakai and Visaginas. They will strengthen the workforce of teachers of primary education, biology, history, art, theatre, informal education, media, English, mathematics, German and physical education. The “I choose to teach!” programme has attracted the specialists of economics, history, biology, art criticism, creation industries, kinesiotherapy, veterinary medicine, architecture and other fields to gather to the eleventh generation of the programme.
The participants will work in schools for two years and will contribute to the creation of real changes together with the entire school community – they will implement the project on changing schools.
Participants of the “I choose to teach” will have the opportunity to contribute to positive changes in schools not only by working directly with children during lessons but by also implementing a joint project on changes together with school communities. The right direction and the necessity for change in a specific field will be guided by our researchers’ team that will conduct research and analysis in every school in which the project is run,” Ms Motiejūnė added.
Most participants of the programme tend to continue their life and work in education. For them, completion of the two-year programme is not the end. Not long ago, the ninth generation of the programme with 22 participants was seen off. Most of them – almost 80% –plan to stay in the field of education and to further contribute to the creation of positive changes.
“I am delighted that the contribution to education yielded by the programme has been sustainable. Figures speak for themselves. In my view, investment in education and people who work in the field with passion is what Lithuania needs now. The fact that their work does not stop after the programme proves the benefit of the programme,” Evelina Černienė, head of Vilniaus Prekyba Foundation Dabar and partner of the project “I choose to teach!”, said.
About programme “Renkuosi mokyti!”
The “Renkuosi mokyti!” (I choose to teach) programme has been implemented by the public organisation Centre for School Improvement in cooperation with the Vilniaus Prekyba Support Foundation Dabar. The foundation plans to allocate almost EUR 1 million in four and a half years. In total, 60 schools will take part in the project and about 90 participants will take part in the programme “Renkuosi mokyti!” over four years. The changes will involve about 30,000 schoolchildren and 360 already working teachers and school heads.