Not Famous But Loved:
A High School Teacher Who Makes a Difference
It gets harder and harder for the new generation to find the pleasure of going to school. Unfortunately in Romania, conventional education is compulsory so teachers have to learn to work with what they are given: a crowded class, bored pupils to entertain in order to pay attention, not enough freedom in teaching practice and of course limited resources.
Even in these dark ages, a teacher has found the necessary amount of energy in order to make high school years brighter for the students learning at Dr. Ioan Mesota National College. Ana-Maria Csiki is a dedicated English teacher who instilled to her students not only the love for the English language but also the respect and consideration for her efforts to make classes a fun but also productive activity.
'Teach' as her students call her, is the daughter of two doctors who chose to leave the family convention and obtained an English Literature and Language Diploma in 2004. After an interview she revealed with a nostalgic smile on her face that, I quote: 'Becoming a doctor has been a tradition to my family, as my parents are not the only ones working in this field, so I suppose I am the black sheep for not following the trend.' Although teaching wasn't the first career choice, she was totally into literature and language from a young age as she admitted.
When asked what she wanted to be growing up, a young and naive Ana answered she would be a doctor, but the interest for science was low and after failing to gain high results at the Chemistry Olympics she decided to follow the Human Sciences. Young minds are unpredictable, therefore becoming a teacher wasn't the second choice either, but positive experiences change minds. After teaching several classes of youngsters she decided that teaching was her vocation and her future students agree.
Being a remarkable teacher takes patience, energy, passion and a pinch of salt. Digging into her students' thoughts, I have found out that what they appreciate the most are her innovative ideas, unconventional practices and free spirit. Also they tend to seek her advice in crucial situations and they were never disappointed by the answer. They find her teaching very relaxing but at the same time effective. A student from a senior year said: 'Teach makes classes fun. Having 6 English classes per week is like a full time adventure, even Grammar seems appealing in her presence.'
How does she do it? Well I will let her brut answer to convince you: 'Whenever I prepare a day's lesson, I try to put myself into the student's shoes and come up with ways of stirring their interest. I tend to get bored easily, especially when delivering the same lesson several times, which is why I try to come up with new engaging activities. After all, variety is the spice of life. 'As I observed, teaching is an exhausting activity, but Teach wasn't totally in agreement with me: 'It is exhausting indeed, not just teaching for several hours, coping with dozens of students, their level, expectations and personality, but also preparing for the following day, not to mention assessing tests and essays. I suppose I am still excited about my job, I perceive it as a hobby, not a necessity.'
Teach believes in individuality and knows how to seek the 'weak spot'in her student's personality in order to help them nurture their skills and their personality. The students are grateful for her struggles to bring harmony into their collective. What they appreciate the most in her class is the unconventional teaching practice which make them absorb the info at a higher speed. Besides that, they really feel close to her because 'she sees us as individuals with thoughts and emotions, not as some objects that bring her a stable monthly income'.
Our class has known 'Teach' for about 4 years now, and we consider her presence in our life a blessing, a divine sign that tells us we are on the right path. Asked where she sees herself in ten years, she hesitated for a second, but with a confident voice she answered: 'Hopefully still here, teaching future generation. However, there is a part of me that yearns for some time spent teaching abroad.'