How did the best educators of Serbia of the Zivojin Misic Association cope with the pandemic?

"Those who dare, can. Those who don't know about fear, go forward. "

In the sea of advertising, the conquest of all digital and media spaces, it is the duty of the largest organization of the Best Educators of Serbia, the Association "Zivojin Misic" to deliver a public speech. We are responding with clear optimism and a well-defined direction of where we are headed, what awaits us along the way, and where we would like to get. 

Spring 2020 on Planet Earth will be remembered by all its 7,748,928,918 inhabitants, 800,000 insect species, 8.7 million plant and animal species from 195 sovereign states. Although the "perfectly" symmetrical leap year 2020 promised uniqueness, this was the beginning of the year and spring no one could imagine on the "third rock” from the sun. Specifically, the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) that has engulfed the entire world has tried to stop everything other than human thought: how to preserve health? Is that right, or is real life still obliged to flow in its course regardless of the diversion?

Let's start from the beginning. What is a pandemic and is it a brand new and authentic 21st century phenomenon? The word pandemic is derived from the Greek words "pan" (sve) and "demos" (people). Several times the world has faced the challenge of a pandemic. Aside from the current Coronavirus pandemic, in the last 100 years, four more pandemics have occurred: Spanish flu (1918-1919), Asian flu (1957-1958), Hong Kong flu (1968-1969) and swine flu. Life, the real and the parallel, has always run independently of pandemics, epidemics and wars. Children were born, people were dying, fields were cultivated, houses were being built, young people were getting married, children were educated... Currently, the whole planet is in “game”; there are no exceptions, there are differences in behavior, but Covid-19 is above all of us, and the whole world is facing the same challenge. As we attend to the "restoration" of our planet in economic, sociological, political, educational terms, as we change our hygiene habits, while stopping wars, migrations and terrorist attacks, are we entitled to wonder if a normal life has disappeared? What is becoming abnormal these weeks? How is life flowing? No matter what…

Ovog trenutka filosofsko Πάντα ῥεῖ-Panta rei, nije i zemljsko Πάντα ῥεῖ  panta rei (sve teče). Nije jasno koliko smo i kako učili iz prošlih pandemija i da li smo kao ljudski rod izlazili mudriji, ali je sigurno da su deca u svim situacijama rasla i obrazovala se. Neka kroz formalno obrazovanje, ali najčešće je to bilo kroz život i neformalno obrazovanje, onako kako je život to tražio od njih. Kako se srpski narod i svet borio kroz svetske zdravstvene pošasti koje su obeležavale istoriju? Teško pitanje, pravog odgovora nema. Dovoljno je da se zapitamo koja je uloga nastavnika u vanrednosti redovnog protoka vremena?

Današnji nastavnik je suočen sa fizičkim odsustvom sa nastave i sa zahtevom da učenike nauči i da ih „probudi“. Naši edukatori nas uče da obrazovanje u Srbiji nikada nije stajalo bez obzira na istorijski turbulentnu srpsku istoriju. Nije i neće. Deleći savete, informacije, umrežavajući se sa celim svetom, pričajući bajke, gajeći virtuelne bašte, oni jasno pokazuju da možemo i moramo da obrazujemo našu decu, ali i da naša najbolja rešenja ponudimo celom svetu na digtalnim konferencijama, koje su neprekidno aktuelne. Šta su sve prepreke, na koje nailaze? Pre svega, imovno stanje učenika, tehnika kojom raspolažu, mesta u kojima žive, mogućnosti i digitalna znanja kako dece, tako i nastavnika, kvalitet interneta, psihička stabilnost dece, njihovih roditelja, baka, deka, nastavnika… Pa ipak bez obzira na vanrednost stanja, prosvetni radnici u Srbiji su uspeli, da nastava bude REDOVNA. Svakog dana, iznova oni decu uče ne samo redovnom nastavnom programu, već i kako provesti i ispuniti vreme u zatvorenom prostoru, kako zaposliti svoj um, kakvu muziku mogu da slušaju, koje umetnosti mogu da prate, kakve manuelne veštine mogu da razviju.  

Today's teacher is working harder than ever. In its own format. His work is now (in)visible. It is certain that education will change after the pandemic. This type of teaching will raise questions about the evaluation of teaching, the position of the teacher, the quality and usability of their knowledge, will valorize or undo old values. 

Where is the Zivojin Misic Association in all of this, and where are our the Best Educators?

First of all, the Association, for the seventh time in a row, announces the competition for the best educators in 2020, which has its own special and authentic part related to the outstanding teacher in the Pandemic era. In the middle of a pandemic, our Ivana Kovacevic (NTP) was named one of the 50 best teachers in the world. (Global Teacher Prize competition)Within the Global Teacher Prize, Ivana is a visionary. She has developed distance learning methods in an incredibly high-quality way, working with children at home and hospital treatment. She brought together and interconnected the health and education systems. We are proud of her. 

Our teachers have networked and created different educational structures for distance learning. The best educators are involved as lecturers, at the invitation of the RTS Planeta, and enter the students' homes every day through a TV screen. Some of them post logical tasks to us on Facebook every day and ask to be solved, some teach us the importance of literacy on social networks, our computer scientists advise and offer colleagues recommendations and digital tools for distance learning. Some of them tell fairy tales to children every night. We are proud of those who sew the masks and donate them, to all the colleagues who re-enter their rooms and kitchens every morning, turning them into virtual classrooms that sometimes seat up to 300 students. Our Top Educators share the destiny of the entire Serbian education staff and, with each passing day, they push the boundaries and opportunities, both their and childrens’, both technical and online, while remaining creative, special, curious, not abandoning the mission they have chosen - to educate and pave the way for new young intellectuals. Worthy and consistent holders of the title of the Best educators of Serbia, and proud Lightbringers to the mission and vision of our Association. 

That is why we would like to tell you: Education does not stop, our best educators do not stop; our view on tomorrow goes far, it is broad and strategically formulated, just as Zivojin Misic taught us, by which our Association was named.

"Those who dare, can. Those who don't know about fear, go forward. "

Written on April 22, 2020 on World Earth Day 

Management Board of Zivojin Misic Association

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