By: Li Novak
Belgrade, Sept. 10, 2009 (Serbia Today) - We asked teachers in primary schools about school’s reality, from their personal angle. Wide range of opinions could be heard.
Teachers mostly agree with the opinion that today’s generations are very much different from the old ones. They say that the children nowadays are surrounded by medias and high technology. For that reason, it’s much harder to interest them for the school lectures and some kind of visualization is necessary in the classroom. Milica Vojvodic, the teacher of Serbian language told Serbia Today: “Parents are occupied by making money, and they aren’t checking enough the quality of their children’s time. I don’t believe in opinion that today’s children are more progressive. Some things and information are accessible for them, but they often have knowledge about mostly irrelevant things. They are not progressive in social development. There are some kids who don’t know almost anything about their classmates. Also, they read books less then pupils in the earlier periods.” Teacher Milena Ilic agrees with that and she notices that today’s children are not curious enough and do not explore new interesting things as much as they should.
Marija Radisic, English teacher, has a different opinion: “I think that today’s children aren’t different from the earlier generations. They now had new communication devices, mobile phones and internet. But, their feelings, personalities, flaws and virtues are the same as they have ever been; and also the level of intelligence.”
Today’s school pupils are very interested in how to be more economic with their time. They want to learn how to finish as soon as possible the obligations they don’t like and to commit themselves in doing what’s pleasant (going out, reading interesting books, playing sports etc).
The teachers say that the favorite part of their job is direct work with children. Aleksandra Aleksic, the teacher of Social Sciences and English language, told Serbia Today: “I like working with kids, because they are so joyful and positive, it’s never boring. The best thing is when children are always around you!”
Serbian school system has some flaws. The teachers emphasize the following: many teaching programs hadn’t been changed for a long time, for ten or twenty years. Even if there have been some changes, they were minimal. The children are overwhelmed by the lectures and they have too many classes. For example, pupils in 7th and 8th grade have at least six classes daily. Also, there are some teachers who don’t have a will to advance and they stick to old teaching methods even if it doesn’t suit today’s generations.
We also asked teachers what should be changed, for making better conditions in schools. The teachers have lots of ideas. Marija Radisic told us: “It is much better working in small classes, food in school kitchens must be better quality, and evaluation should be more rigorous… For a teacher, it is important to increase salaries, to have seminars paid by the school, access to the internet, acclimatized classrooms, more intensive communication with parents, etc.”
Milica Vojvodic has similar ideas: “I would reduce the number of children in one class or make smaller groups for some school subjects. Also, I would cut down the number of obligated subjects (it is possible to join together certain subjects, for example, those that belong in science).
Milica reminds us of a citation about essence of primary school: “I’ve learned that pupils will forget what you said, pupils will forget what you did, but pupils will never forget how you made them feel."