Õpetaja Aamna lugu: “The students at Avatud Kool are a lively and curious bunch, always eager to learn and explore new ideas”

Kogukonnakooliks kasvamine

Avatud Kool kannab uhkusega kogukonnakooli staatust ning lisaks lastele-õpetajatele on meie kogukonna väga oluliseks osaks ning tugevaks taustajõuks pered. Perede abiga sünnivad näiteks ägedad üritused, saavad värske värvi koolimaja seinad ning valmib videojäädvustus laste tegemistest.

Meie kool kasvab iga aastaga suuremaks, kuid tahame ikka ja alati jääda oma vaimsuselt hubaseks kogukonnakooliks, mille liikmed üksteist tunnevad, tänaval naeratades teretavad ning ühiseid ettevõtmisi korraldavad.

Me tähistame

Avatud Koolis on tähistamine väga olulisel kohal. Tähistame suuri ja väikeseid võite, eneseületamisi, märkamisi, pühendumist, julgemist, hoolimist. Nüüdsest tahame rohkem tähistada ka Avatud Kooli laste perede lugusid, õpetajate lugusid, tugipersonali lugusid, huvikooli lugusid. Lugusid, mis avavad Avatud Kooli kogukonda kuulumist erinevate nurkade alt ning tekitavad loodetavasti rõõmsaid äratundmishetki, annavad mõtteainet või pakuvad ainest mõneks edasiviivaks arutelukski.

Avatud Kooli lood

Meie lugude sarja järgmises loos saame tuttavaks Avatud Kooli õpetaja Aamna Nauman Bilgramiga. Kui palusime tal end paari lausega kirjeldada, said paberile sellised read:

“My name is Aamna Nauman Bilgrami and I have been living in Estonia for the past 5 years. I am a Pakistani national and I am living here with my 6 year old daughter, Aareen Owais and my husband, Owais Afaq who is a tech entrepreneur. I joined Avatud Kool as an English language teacher 3 years ago to help students become proficient in English so that they can communicate effectively and confidently. Why do I do what I do? I really want my students to explore new cultures and create meaningful connections with people from different backgrounds.

A student recently came to me and shared his experience happily about how he enjoyed communicating in English while he was travelling abroad and he understands very well now that this is a widely spoken language and essential to learn to make his travel experiences more enjoyable.”

Mõnusat lugemist ning kui sul tekib Aamna ja tema pere lugu lugedes küsimusi, millele edaspidi Avatud Koolide teistelt õpetajatelt vastuseid saada sooviksid, pane oma küsimused palun Sandrale teele sandra.jarv@avatudkool.ee.

Hey, Aamna! Thank you for taking the time. Let’s get to know you a bit more.

AK: Why did you decide for Avatud Kool as a teacher?

As an expat teacher, I was excited to join Avatud Kool for its innovative and student-centered approach to education, which emphasizes personalized learning and student choice. The school’s commitment to technology in education also appealed to me, as I enjoy integrating technology into the classroom to enhance the learning experience.

Family vacation at Legoland, Billund.

In addition to these factors, Avatud Kool’s dedication to inclusivity and diversity was a major draw for me. As an expat teacher, I was thrilled to work in a school that values cultural diversity and fosters a welcoming and supportive environment for all students and teachers.

Overall, I am thrilled to be a part of Avatud Kool Tallinn as a teacher. The school’s focus on technology in education aligns with my own teaching philosophy and values, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and students everyday to create a positive and engaging learning environment.

AK: How did your family members take the news?

When I shared the news of my new teaching position at Avatud Kool with my family members, they were very happy for me. My husband, who is the CEO of a tech company, was particularly excited to hear about the school’s emphasis on technology in education, as he understands the importance of this field and its potential for enhancing the learning experience.

My daughter was exclusively homeschooled at that time. Although she is still quite young, I believe that the tools and learnings I acquire in my own journey here will benefit her, as she progresses through her own educational journey.

So, my family members were very supportive and I feel fortunate to have such a wonderful support system as I embarked on this new chapter in my career.

AK: What are the kids like in Avatud Kool?

Students having a fun lesson on Halloween, understanding different cultures in the world.

The students at Avatud Kool are a lively and curious bunch, always eager to learn and explore new ideas. While they can be challenging to discipline at times, as most kids are, they are also very creative and willing to think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving and learning.

One thing to note is that many of the students are not yet proficient in English, as they speak Estonian and Russian at home and with their friends. However, this has not hindered their ability to engage with the material and participate in classroom activities. In fact, their multilingualism has only added to the diversity and richness of the learning experience at Avatud Kool.

I am thrilled to be teaching such a dynamic and engaged group of students. Their openness to learning and willingness to explore new ideas makes every day in the classroom a rewarding and exciting experience.

AK: Is it difficult to teach a class of children with different nationalities?

Teaching children with different nationalities can be challenging, especially when it comes to language proficiency levels. However, this diversity provides a more dynamic and enriching learning experience. Differentiated instruction and support for students who may be struggling with English have helped me create a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

A Sunny day in Tallinn, let’s celebrate.

In this diverse environment, I’ve become a more adaptable teacher. The benefits of inclusivity and the broadening of horizons of everyone in the classroom outweigh the difficulties. The sense of community that emerges from such diversity is rewarding, and I feel grateful to learn and grow alongside my students each day.

AK: If you would possess the power to change one thing about Avatud Kool, what would it be + why?

If I had the power to change one thing about Avatud Kool, I would limit the usage of smartphones among students. While technology is an important part of education, excessive smartphone use can be a distraction and detract from the learning experience. By setting clear limits on smartphone usage and encouraging students to engage more actively with the learning material and with each other, we can create a more focused and productive classroom environment. This would enable students to better absorb the material and make the most of their learning experience at Avatud Kool.

AK: Compared to your school-days, what is the biggest difference in being a student/teacher in Avatud Kool?

Avatud Kool’s approach to education differs greatly from my experience as a student. Instead of traditional lecture-based instruction, Avatud Kool prioritizes a student-centered approach that brings out creativity, critical thinking, and active learning. I saw a lack of this approach during my time as a student, that empowers students to take ownership of their learning journey, providing a more engaging and fulfilling experience for both students and teachers.

Enjoying fall season in Kadriorg park, November 2020.

AK: What has been your most difficult moment as a teacher here?

As a teacher at Avatud Kool, the most difficult challenge I have faced is adjusting to the cultural differences in teacher-student relationships. Coming from a traditional Pakistani background where respect for teachers is highly valued, it has been a challenging transition to adapt to the more informal and egalitarian approach to education in Estonia. It has taken time to find the right balance between being approachable and maintaining a level of authority in the classroom, but I am continuously learning and growing as a teacher.

AK: And the most inspiring one?

Attending a family wedding in Karachi, Pakistan – December, 2021.

The most inspiring moment as a teacher at Avatud Kool is when former students come back and share how much they miss being in my class and the impact it had on their learning journey.

AK: The most important fact you would like to share about Avatud Kool to all the parents in Estonia?

I think all parents should know that this school empowers students to explore their interests and passions while also providing them with the necessary tools and resources to succeed.

AK: Where do you see Avatud Kool in 5 years?

As the school continues to grow and evolve, I believe it will become an even more influential force in the education sector, not only in Estonia but also internationally. With the innovative approach to learning that Avatud Kool has, it will surely help prepare students for a rapidly changing world and equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. I see Avatud Kool making headlines in the next few years with the impact it would have created on the society at large.