The 21st century is a time, I would say, a time of rapid changes that we can no longer follow so easily. Almost unnoticeably, unavoidable mobile phones entered our lives without which we no longer leave the house, the Internet from whose speed depends on how much time we will need to finish all our obligations and there is a cable TV which slowly steals our free time.
And in this new century, some new children are born who should be educated, taught, made interested; we should stimulate thinking process, creativity in them... When I enter the teachers' office, I often hear my colleagues who complain to each other how children have changed, how they have no attention, how they do not learn, how they are uninterested... And could it be different? I am convinced that it could be so. First of all, I think that we, teachers, need to adapt to the new conditions of life, to let life in our classrooms and to stop sticking stubbornly to the content which we ourselves see as unnecessary, redundant. Let's give our imagination a go and prepare the students for life. Although someone would say that I teach history and that we deal with the past, my look and the look of my students are towards the future. My goal is to teach them to think critically, be creative, to teach them to be ready for different challenges and using web tools and the Internet platform for teaching helps me a lot in this. The contents of my subject are only the basis for reaching the goals.
Each class has had its own Google classroom for two years, which is a safe space, hidden from the eyes of the public, because only my students and I have the code for the entrance in this space. This is the place where they ask me questions and they often remind me that it is time to give new homework. And they are glad about homework! The space where we work is outside the classroom. Since I have twelve classes, I have twelve classrooms - for each class one classroom. And we really enjoy working on some interesting projects.
These days my students in Year 8 have been making a virtual newspaper about the culture and life in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In the newspapers they had space not only for texts, but also for short films, advertisements, interesting things... This winter the students in Year 7 have shot short films about how the influence of Turkish rule on our lives looks like today. They searched for Turkish dishes in our kitchen, for the words we still use, customs etc. These days the students in Year 6 are besieging the library of our small town in search of the virtues and disadvantages of the rulers from the Nemanjić family because they need to prepare themselves for the debate and the trial of the rulers.
Once I heard a story that I am going to share with you. Namely, a teacher in a western, developed country was looking for a job. A member of the board asked him how many years of work experience he had. He said that he had ten years of work experience. And the next question was: Do you have one year that you repeated ten times or did you innovate your work each year, so that every year was different? What about you? How many years of work experience have you got? Do you do the same themes in the same or similar way every year, or do you try to go beyond the limits with your students every year?
Our job as a teacher can be very nice, creative, can motivate us to try to do more. After thirty years spent in the classroom, every day brings new challenges to me for which it is good to find appropriate solutions. Old Romans used to say, "Use the day!" I would just introduce the old saying into the classroom and say, "Use the class!"