For four years, the School of Education of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the University of Warsaw has run the only full-time postgraduate course for future teachers in Poland. This June, the academic year-end ceremony was unusual because it had to be held online. “I would like to thank the graduates for their decision to study at the School of Education, where the program is unusually ambitious. I wish you many successes in both individual work and teamwork. I believe the knowledge and experience of the School of Education community will have a stronger and stronger impact on the shape and quality of education in Poland,” PAFF President and CEO, Jerzy Koźmiński, said.
UW Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Quality of Teaching Professor Jolanta Choińska-Mika said she was convinced the course completed by the graduates was a formative experience. “A lot can happen over a period of ten months, in specific circumstances and with a certain group of people. The School of Education is like fertile soil that sustains growth. It arms young people with protections against a wave of incredible stories,” the Professor said. She also expressed her hope that the School of Education builds a special bond among its students and staff.
A Program Director of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, Marianna Hajdukiewicz, noted that the experiences connected with the pandemic can be an excellent lesson for the freshly minted teachers. “You’ll face many such surprises as teachers. Thanks to the School of Education you are prepared to take them not as a problem but as a challenge. You’ll have to trust your skills and intuition, “ she said.
As in former years, a permanent component of the academic year-end ceremony were presentations prepared by the graduates. The new teachers of History, Biology, Polish Studies, and Mathematics talked about things that had the biggest impact on their opinions and attitudes, and what new tools and skills they will take with them to their classrooms in September.
One interesting presentation was given by Jolanta Główka. She compared the situation at school to a drought. “I decided to be a teacher for selfish reasons. My education had been a desert and I wanted to reclaim school for myself. I want to find those moments at work which make everything come to life, make the heart beat faster,” the Biology teacher said.
Piotr Miśta focused on the role of a teacher and which is more important – to be a charismatic visionary or remain a distanced researcher. Is it necessary to choose one of those roles? That History teacher pointed that he had learned strategies at the School of Education that enable him to combine both those roles so that he cannot impose his beliefs and at the same time not to give up emotional relationships with students.
Polish teacher Adriana Sadowska spoke about a modelling method and how impressed she was with it. “At the School of Education we could check the effectiveness of a given method with all our senses, and then either accept it or not as a tool in our teaching practice,” she noted.
Aleksandra Korba, a graduate of the Mathematics path, gave a presentation on … beams and lifts to show how important it is for teachers to be able to set the subject of their lessons in real life to show students that the issues they are learning about really matter.
The School of Education community has ended an academic year that was unique. The graduates will start their work at schools in September. They can use the post-graduation two-year support program carried out by experienced tutors provided by the School of Education.
In August students of the fifth year of the School of Education will start. Those interested who would like to apply can still do so, as the enrollment for the 2020/21 academic year is still open.