Teaching As a Calling
The issue of teacher’s status in Kazakhstan is raised quite frequently. It is one of the most difficult professions, which requires a lot of patience. Change adoptions are taking place in the educational system, amendments are made to the law as well. Recently, the Law "On Teacher’s Status" has come into force, which is aimed at protecting teachers from excessive work. We talked to the school teachers to find out what has changed in their lives after these changes, and how they came to the teaching activity.
Dinara Sekisheva is a young school teacher in Karaganda. She teaches biology in English within the framework of realizing polylingual education in Kazakhstan. She graduated from Biology and Geography Department, academician Buketov Karaganda State University.
"I work as a biology teacher at Pavlov School No. 35. I have 6-year teaching experience. When I was a kid, like many other children, I played school and doctors. I always felt that I wanted to become a person that makes important contribution to society. When I grow up the choice has been done.
I do not regret for choosing teaching profession. In my opinion, it is one of the important and grateful professions! I teach children not only Biology, but also to be a human, go straight to the goal and achieve it, teach them that dreams always come true.
I can recommend my profession to those who have a desire to be a teacher. Each person makes his or her own choice. I cannot make someone to make a decision on choosing profession. Everyone should go with his or her guts and make the right choice.
I am very grateful to my headmistress, Akhmetbekova Gainesh Malikzatdinovna, for always supporting me and sending me to English language courses in Biology.
The most interesting thing about my profession is that every day I can see the smiling faces of children, grateful looks, a good team and of course, monthly salary.
At schools in other countries, students can choose additional subjects. It would be great if our students could make that choice.
In my students I value trust, mutual understanding, mutual respect and sincerity.
There are pupils in the class who get behind the school curriculum. In order to help them, I maintain a friendly positive atmosphere, motivate and encourage children.
In my lessons, I use active learning methods, playful forms. I also use the applications as kahoot and quizlet.
For me, the perfect lesson is when neither I nor the children can hear the bell break. It's great when children have a desire to finish the work after the lesson, rather than go out and run during the break.
Some teachers have their favorite themes. Honestly, I like all the themes. One of my favorites is the body system. You need to know what processes are going on and why, where this or that organ is in the body and deliver that information to children.
This year the law "On Teacher’s Status" came into force. I think it is important for teachers, because it protects them from annoying parents. The salary has been increased, the work has been reduced. The status is that we can attract talented youth to the education system.
In general, the education system in Kazakhstan has undergone changes, there is a new system of assessment, which is presented in the form of a cumulative evaluation per section and a cumulative evaluation per quarter. I believe that it allows to know the subject in detail, not tenuous, it eliminates subjective evaluations. Students have the opportunity to control their own progress.
I teach biology in English and it's amazing. However, there are some disadvantages. Not all children can speak English fluently, but they try. They have an incentive. Polylingual education is a new step that will help students enroll in foreign universities. As they say, English is the language of science and communication. The whole progressive world communicates in it.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been studying remotely in recent months. I believe that distance education should be developed in the future as it is an opportunity to study from any part of the world at any time. Our children will be ready for it. There are disadvantages like slow internet connection. It is necessary to develop Internet platforms for learning and be ready for anything.
Amina Toleutaykyzy, 26, an English teacher from Karaganda:
“I entered humanitarian college in 2009 and graduated in 2013. I started my professional career in 2014 at gymnasium No. 92 in Karaganda. Then a year later I entered Buketov Karaganda State University majoring in "Foreign language: two foreign languages". In 2014, I started working at school No. 4 as an English teacher. In the beginning of my professional activity I worked with primary classes, taught pupils from the very basics, we learned the alphabet, the words of greeting, various topics like fruit, vegetables, animals, professions. I have been in this profession for over five years.
I dreamed of being a teacher from an early age, in primary school I wanted to be a teacher, most likely my choice was influenced by my first teacher, I wanted to be like her. Soon I began to think about other professions, I couldn't make up my mind. My parents and my older sister, who is also an English teacher at university, helped me to make decision. Following my parents’ advice, I do not regret the choice made. I am really fond of my profession, and I like what I do. It is a very important and necessary profession in society, I share my knowledge, teach children English, help to develop creative and intellectual development. My main task is to optimally organize the learning process for students, to interest them. I like to work with children of different ages, to see their genuine interest.
I believe that an English teacher should be competent in his subject. He should not only know his major, but also convey it to students so that they understand, not memorize and forget. It should be explained in such a way that students understand how they can apply the knowledge gained.
An English teacher is a person who loves and knows the culture of countries of native speakers. The teacher should not only awaken children's interest in the language, but also tell them about countries, attractions, culture and traditions, and use the latest technology.
I can recommend my profession as a teacher to those people who like to give new knowledge, who like to develop, and who realize that they can be in this profession for long time, who will improve their knowledge and skills in this field.
The most interesting thing about my work is that I can show myself from different angles. I can be an apprentice, a teacher, a companion, a friend to the children. I can also demonstrate my work from different sides, creativity is important here. I do open classes, extracurricular activities, online lessons.
At the beginning of my professional life, since I was a college graduate, many of my colleagues thought I was a school student, because I looked young. It's a lot of fun to remember that time.
In my students, I appreciate the effort when they try to do tasks, even though it's hard for them.
How can I help my students who are getting behind? I allocate extra time and explain topics that they do not understand. I can also give them tasks that are easier. For primary school, I teach and explain the lessons using game methods. With middle school students I use different methods, children like to compete very much, I give them group and individual tasks and they learn the topics well. With the older groups I use verbal methods as monologues and dialogues, we practice speaking skills. I also use a visual method, demonstrate the films in English, then I ask questions about the film.
The perfect lesson for me is when all children understand the topic and can apply what they have learned in practice. Of course, it is important that all goals are achieved at the end of the lesson.
What I like most about English-speaking countries is when we study the traditions and culture of the country. English teachers become a kind of guide to an intercultural space. The goal of an English teacher is no longer just to teach grammar and vocabulary, but to provide the student with the opportunity to understand the cultural background, put it in a linguistic context, and prepare for real communication.
This year the Law "On Teacher’s Status" came into force in Kazakhstan. Many people wonder whether the prestige of a teacher will increase after new amendments to the law. First of all, much is being done to develop and improve the qualifications of teachers. It is known that the teacher has much paperwork besides his direct task - teaching. However, nowadays, teachers are really less engaged in such work, as the number of reports has been reduced within the framework of digitalization and teachers are focused in their activities. Thanks to the new law, I think parents, first of all, will stop interfering in the activities of the teacher. I unequivocally support the novelties envisaged by the Law "On Teacher’s Status". We do not demand any special attention to ourselves, we just demand that both parents and pupils clearly understand that they come to school in order to get knowledge.
The psychological atmosphere in the classroom plays an important role. Respect for students, joint activities of the teacher and his students, mutual understanding, mutual enrichment give an excellent result. Every student waits for his activity to be assessed and wishes the teacher to mark his victory, even if it is a small step forward. Words of encouragement inspire students and give them confidence in their abilities.
Innovations have also been introduced now in the form of a new type of evaluation, which I believe is effective. For example, children learn a section, this section covers all topics and words. Under this section, children give a summative assessment. In English, the summative grade for a quarter is divided into four sections - listening, speaking, reading and writing. The summary grade for a section is divided into two sections in each section. In the past, our quizzes were taken as a lexical grammar test. Now all four skills are tested, we test how children write essays, how they understand English speech by ear. This assessment is based on the IELTS language examination, which is very effective for children in the future.
The downside to my work is the lack of hours. For example, for primary school, there are only 2-3 hours a week, I think it is not enough. There is also a shortage of teaching facilities in the classrooms, for example, to have listening practice.
Polylingual education is important in our educational system, knowledge of English in today's world is a kind of window into the world. With this language of international communication, you can achieve your goals with new opportunities. And you will certainly understand that the meaning of English is not exaggerated.
Now during the quarantine, we teach children remotely. First of all, these are technical problems in the form of slow Internet connection, adding the moment that it is difficult to control children how they perform tasks. Of course, it is important to communicate live, to see children and to ask them. However, these are all technologies, and I would not be surprised if in the future everything comes to distance education.