Thursday, May 16, 2013

20th Anniversary: Teachers as Constants in a World of Change

"Ms. Natasha, is there only one may I go to the bathroom?" said one of IE teacher Natasha Kuzovleva's first students. Once upon a time, the KIS campus was located on the left wing of a Ukrainian school in downtown Kiev. Ms. Natasha's class was located right next to the only bathroom on her hall. "The little girl was surprised because high school students would come during our class" she explained. "The first thing we taught our students was 'May I go to the bathroom', so she had an image that the phrase 'may I go to the bathroom' represented the actual name for a bathroom.

Although it is commonly said that the only constant in life is change, here at KIS, the case is different. Over the last 20 years KIS has been submerged in change: there are now 10+ bathrooms, the facilities have moved and expanded, the technology has been updated, and the student body has increased. Despite these improvements, the one thing kept at a constant are some of the staff.

Ms. Natasha has been working for the KIS community for about 19 years making her a constant in the ever-changing KIS community. This occurrence however would not be happening had sudden changes not taken place in her life. At the young age of 15, Ms. Natasha had two interests: learning English, and learning chemistry, but having to support her mother caused her to enter university one year earlier to study English at a deeper level. "I can't say that English was my first choice. If I hadn't entered university that year, I would have tried Chemistry the next year, but I don't regret it because my teacher career has been splendid." After gaining experience in the fields of teaching and interpretation, in the pursuit of a higher degree of education, Ms. Natasha came to Kiev and finally to KIS.
A part of KIS since 1993, Ms. Natasha has been a witness to most of KIS's evolvement. Up until now she can still remember relocating to the Svyatoshin area, the creation of the tennis courts, even teaching the first Korean students of the school. In her opinion, the most important change that KIS has gone through is the creation of more opportunities "Now we can do more than what we used to. Our teachers are having more professional developments. It wasn't like that in the beginning. I feel like we are moving on and it will be more refined, more beneficial for the students because teachers are aware of the constant development of the mode of thinking, and we are aware that the paradigm of education is changing. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of kids."

"Time flies so fast, and when you look back you realise how many changes you have lived through, and it's just an amazing feeling." Ms. Natasha reflected about her experience as a teacher in an international community. "I've met so many people who come and go, and I communicate with many of them, keeping in touch with a few. It's like I'm a part of the whole world here. I have this feeling like I'm involved in the lives of many people." And indeed, she is involved.

Ms. Natasha's Classroom
Throughout our education, we will go through many ups and downs. By the time it has ended we will look back and realize how many changes our environment, as well as ourselves, have gone through. In the near future we will look back, and we might not remember what
our teachers taught us, whether it be the quadratic formula we learned in our Algebra 2 class, or the numerous poems we had once memorised for English. We will, however, remember the people who tried to teach us. Because in the world of rapid change that we live in, it has been our teachers who have remained constant: always there to help us, to inspire us, and to watch us grow. And even if our minds do forget, our hearts will always remember.
As Ms. Natasha once said, "I think that many of our graduates or the students that I taught will not remember me, but that's okay. It is normal and we tend to forget many things. They may not remember my name but I am sure the general feeling of comfort, of fun, of safety, will be remembered."

By: Nadia Rendón