A scholarship – the method by which you can reach your full potential in an educational system that encourages student development at all levels

Tudor Manole, a 9th grade student, was looking for an educational system that encourages student development at all levels. He applied for an Avenor scholarship because he identified with the school’s values and because he wanted to develop and reach his full potential. 

His scholarship project is the school’s math magazine – MATH-LY-NEWS, for which he provides graphic design, a project that complements his school experience and helps him connect with others.

Tell us about yourself and what it means to be a scholarship student at Avenor?

Tudor: My name is Tudor, I am 15 years old, I am in the 9th grade and I am an Avenor College scholar. For me, the status of scholar is an honor, but also an opportunity to develop, to evolve, to reach my full potential. 

When and how did you decide to apply for a scholarship at Avenor College? How did you find out about the scholarship programme?

Tudor:I was considering the option of attending high school in a different education system, so I studied the entire educational offer existing at that time. Avenor was my first choice, because I wanted to finish high school in the British system and because I felt that I identified with the values ​​of this school. I found out about the scholarship programme on the school website and made the decision to apply out of a desire to complete my academic training in an education system that encourages the development of the student at all levels.

How was the application process? 

Tudor: The application process is a complex one. Without focusing only on academic results and extracurricular projects, it evaluates the student from several points of view, taking into account his potential.

During middle school, I accumulated very good results both at school and in the competitions or activities in which I was involved. All this gave me confidence and support in the application process. Of course, the emotions were present, but they disappeared after the selection process actually started and I became familiar with the system.

How do you work on a scholar project? Who helps you – whether we are talking about colleagues or mentors?

Tudor: The projects initiated by Avenor scholars are both for them and for their colleagues, a plus that completes the school experience. These scholar projects allow us to expose ourselves to unique experiences. We learn new values, we discover ourselves, we create and grow interpersonal relationships, we learn more about who we are and how to work with people around us. The work  is f  and welcoming, an ideal place for development, where there is no fear of making mistakes and the ultimate goal is learning.

No scholar project would be possible without the help of colleagues and mentors, each with their own role. In my project’s case, MATH-LY-NEWS, my colleagues are full of enthusiasm and new ideas, each bringing a personal style to his articles. Along with all this, the experience of the coordinating teacher ensures the completion of the project, in order to create something new and challenging every two months, when the magazine is published.

How did you get involved in the MATH-LY-NEWS project?

Tudor: I was looking for an idea for ​​my own scholar project, when I found out about the existence of MATH-LY-NEWS magazine, a magazine whose purpose is to inform fellow mathematics enthusiasts about current events in this fascinating field. The choice was a natural one, mathematics being my passion since primary school. Moreover, the project allows me to combine several of my passions: computer science, history and, more recently, graphic design. Thus, researching and preparing the materials needed to illustrate the articles is a real pleasure.

What did you find out about yourself when you started your scholarship programme at Avenor?

Tudor: Avenor scholarship programme helped me learn how to manage my own project, to take on responsibilities, to manage my time so that I could get involved in as many activities as possible.

What advice do you have for a student who is tempted by the Avenor scholarship programme but does not have the courage to apply?

Tudor: I recommend to every student who has been trained during the middle school years to have confidence in their own strengths and in this system that honestly gives equal opportunities to everyone. 

At Avenor College we offer annual high school student scholarships for 8th and 10th graders (Year 9 and 11). Scholarships cover between 25% and 100% of the schooling fee and are awarded until the end of the education cycle. 

We are looking for students who demonstrate exceptional academic and co-curricular results, who are role models, with a proactive attitude towards learning. Avenor scholar fully participates in school events and is a good colleague and friend.

The application process is open until January 31st and the steps are as follows:

    • Check the criteria for obtaining an Avenor scholarship. The full list of admission criteria can be found here 
    • Write your application essay in English. The candidate will select one essay title from this list and will write a 700 word essay on the chosen topic. 

Alexandra’s Interviews: The joy of being a teacher

Mr. Paul Barrie moved from Brazil to Romania this summer and aims to provide Avenor students with the best learning opportunities and tools, the best lessons, and a well-structured curriculum. All this contributes to helping our Avenorians achieve their goals and attend top universities.

But who is Paul Barrie as a man and as a professional? Find out from the first article part of the new series, Alexandra’s Interviews, dedicated to the passions and talents of the members of the Avenor community.

Alexandra: Tell us a bit about yourself. What/who inspired you to pursue a career in education?

Paul Barrie: Looking back, I believe I had 2 or 3 teachers in highschool who I respected immensely, perhaps even idolised. I learnt a lot from them. They supported me both emotionally and academically throughout my entire high school journey and proved to be both inspirational and motivational in my further life. They kept me going. I believe they were my inspiration, or rather my motivation, to pursue a career in education.

I’ve come to realize the main reason why I became a teacher was to give something back. I’ve just always been very keen on working and supporting young people, the next generation.

Alexandra: What is your favourite part about working with children?

Paul Barrie: I know it’s a cliche, but I love how truly different each day is, the lack of repetition and monotony. We have 100 students just in high school, so everyday must be different when you’re engaged with so many wonderfully unique young people, however equally lovely. I find that working with older students is particularly rewarding. It always leads to deep, well-structured and innovative discussions and debates.

It’s so hard to narrow it down, honestly it’s just a whole range of different things. However, I would say the most joyous part of teaching is watching a student understand a concept. It gives me the motivation to carry on. Seeing students understand and enjoy my lessons is by far the greatest part of my job!

Alexandra: What are some of your hobbies/interests?

Paul Barrie: I have a 4-year old son so most of my hobbies have come to revolve around him. My main hobby is football, particularly watching him play football. 

Some of my hobbies that exclude him, which I usually try to make time for when he gets to sleep, are watching movies and reading, something I’ve loved doing ever since I was a little boy. I believe allocating at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to reading can make such a noticeable difference. I am currently reading all about Romanian history, culture, which I’m finding particularly fascinating. However, my main hobbies are definitely sports and travel, generally average hobbies I would say.

Alexandra: What do you consider to be your duty as Head of Secondary?

Paul Barrie: I never think of my job as a duty, but rather a privilege, since my job allows me to look after the wonderful young people of Avenor. To support and care for them, as well as ensure their safety and well-being, is what I believe my job entails. My duty is to make sure everyone comes to school with a bright smile etched onto their faces. I strive to provide students with the best learning opportunities and tools, the best lessons and a well-structured curriculum. All of which meant to help our Avenorians reach their goals and attend their top-choice universities.

My job not only focuses on students, but on teachers as well. It is my duty to provide our teachers with the support and guidance deserved, so that they can  improve and consequently grow, just like our students, since life is a continual learning process. What my job is really about is helping everyone, both students and teachers.

Alexandra: What are your long-term goals/ aims for the Avenor community?

Paul Barrie: First of all, we want to continue the progression of results. We all strive for those high A level results, in order to continue Avenor’s long history of academic success. But also to develop our career and university programs, which offer the guidance needed by students to enter their ideal universities. Additionally, we are constantly searching for creative ways to develop that ambition in students, that determination and motivation to work harder and only strive for the best.

We have a very strong strategic plan set in place, focusing on how we can send our Avenorians out into the world as distinguished, creative and balanced young adults who will achieve great things in their lives.

Most importantly, I hope that, with time, I can become someone students can trust and consult with. I want both students and teachers to know that my door is always open.

Alexandra: You have recently moved from Brazil. What are some cultural shocks you have experienced during this transition?

Paul Barrie: The main one is also the most obvious one,the chilly weather! In Brazil it’s never cold.

What I’ve also found is that here, the paperwork and bureaucracy is so much more organized, something I am very thankful for. However, culturally I’m still learning, getting accustomed to the people, culture, even food. The food here is delicious, although very different. Everyday I learn something new!

Brazil is a magnificent country, and to have lived there was a remarkable experience, filled with beautiful memories my family and I will cherish forever. 

Nonetheless, now I am beyond excited to begin exploring Romania and all the marvelous sights it has to offer! 

Alexandra: What about in regards to education?

Paul Barrie: I like to think there are a lot of similarities between the two curriculums. After all, students are still students, regardless of geographical location, all hard-working, ambitious, hoping to excel and gain acceptance in their top choice universities, in order to pursue careers they are passionate about. 

However, what I can state with certainty about the students here is that they are all bright, motivated and polite young adults. I’m really looking forward to getting to know them even better.

Alexandra: What do you believe is the place for technology in the classroom, especially taking into account the COVID-19 ongoing pandemic?

Paul Barrie: Although this pandemic has been very hard on all aspects of our daily life, it has also familiarised us with various technological learning means, which is truly a wonderful thing.

I believe the point I would like every school to be at is becoming computer literate, teachers, parents, students especially. It is essential that we comprehend the benefits of technology in the classroom. I want students to be comfortable with their usage, curious about new platforms, apps, web-sites etc. I want everyone to appreciate how technology can enhance learning.  However, it is crucial that we get back to the traditional pen and paper from time to time.

We must learn how to link traditional and modern learning tools in order to create the most efficient lessons.

Additionally, we should also ensure that, although technology is a marvelous tool, we will not let it take over our lives and distract us from what is truly important.

Alexandra: How would you briefly describe your teaching philosophy? How has this changed over the years?

Paul Barrie: My qualifications are in German and P.E. I am also an International Baccalaureate examiner for history and German. I have gained a lot of experience from teaching in so many different countries, teaching so many different students and subjects. Consequently, I’ve come to realise teaching, or at least for me, is all about detailed planning, engaging activities and most importantly, constant feedback as well as encouraging questions and debates. This allows both me and my students to grow and improve!

 

Avenor Christmas Charity Fair – The tradition goes on

Hello! I am Clara from Grade 10, and this is my first year in the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair Organizational Team. I’m the Coordinator of the Marketing and Communications team.

As you know and probably remember from the past years, the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair has become a tradition at Avenor College. We value this magical event which brings back the charity spirit every Christmas. Every year was amazing and meaningful for us all. It is a privilege for the organizing team formed of high school students, and a joy for the whole Avenor Community.
My sister, Ana-Caterina, is the Coordinator of this project and over the past four years, I have been inspired by her work on this project, and tried to help and support her project as much as I could from the sidelines.

This wonderful tradition started back in 2017, when some students in our school came up with the idea, and every year it has improved, the students have become more involved and we managed to raise more and more money. Last year, because of quarantine, there were some difficulties. But my fellow students and project organizers didn’t want to lose the Christmas spirit and the opportunity to be kind and generous, so they adapted to the situation, and came up with the wonderful idea of raising money through an Avenor Christmas online event – The Avenor Charity Advent Calendar. Every day until Christmas Eve we offered on the Facebook and Instagram pages Christmas-themed virtual surprises in exchange for online donations.
Even though we didn’t raise as much money as in the previous years, when we managed to raise 45 000 RON for the first Children’s Hospital for Pediatric Oncology built in Romania, we were still very proud and thankful for everything!

Work behind the event

This whole event is 100% student lead! I believe that this year, the willingness of the students to participate in organizing the fair has been very clear. This is obviously because it is one of the most anticipated and loved Avenor events, but also because last year, we didn’t get the chance to experience it physically.

This year we have the biggest organizational team ever for this event. The 12th Grade students: Ana-Caterina Ciușcă- the project Coordinator and Tiberiu Frățilă- the project manager, have started out the recruitment process of the organizational team, by sharing a Google Form to the whole high school, and anyone that wanted to take part of the organizing team completed it, by expressing their interest and what they would prefer doing. We now have six departments: the logistics team, the marketing and communications team, the human resources team, the finance team, the photography team and the graphics design team. Each team has two coordinators and six team members.

Every department has a whatsapp group, we have one for all the coordinators and one with the whole high school. We also have a very well structured Google Calendar on which our project managers set dates with our tasks and their deadlines, categorized based on which team is responsible. We also have a Google Drive folder for each department, to which every coordinator has access to. This might as well be a Google sponsored event…it’s not, unfortunately, but we definitely get a lot of use out of it.

Besides all of these online communication methods, we have weekly coordinator meetings, and every department has them as well. Every high school student pours their heart into this, working on their tasks even on weekends or late at night, trying their best to make this event as profitable and fun as it is possible. We really value planning and communication, especially since we only have one month to plan this big two-day event.

Why we do this, our charitable cause:

Around Christmas time, we all become more aware and thankful for everything that we have. We receive but we desire to give as well. We desire to help those that don’t get the same opportunities as us, the same resources, the same love and support. We, the teens of Avenor, want to help the teens of Ferentari.

Everyone who has heard of Ferentari, the neighborhood on the outskirts of Bucharest, has heard of ghettos, drugs and garbage. However, it is also a place full of hopeful people, who want to create a better life for themselves and help others get the opportunities they didn’t have growing up. That was the idea behind PlayHood: a community of young people who combine education with a passion for arts of all kinds: theater, video editing, audio production, creative writing and storytelling. Children from Ferentari have the opportunity to participate in workshops related to arts, but also to learn basic skills such as reading, writing and critical thinking.

Currently, the organization has a new dream, “Studiourile Ferentari”. “Studiourile Ferentari” is a space where the visual arts meet digital education and train the next generation of sound and lighting technicians, actors or professionals in audio-video editing.
Our donations will help them improve this studio, as well as buy winter clothes that will help them prepare for the cold!
We want to help these children choose arts and education, not resort to substance abuse or violence, which usually and unfortunately, is the case for many people with similar backgrounds.
All money spent at our Christmas Fair will be donated to their wonderful organization.

Our Christmas Fair is a place to come and meet up with friends, have fun and eat delicious food, but also make a difference!

We, the Avenor Christmas Charity Fair community, would truly appreciate your contribution for this event and process by sharing our initiative with your family and friends. Your support and generosity towards our charitable cause would be our present for this Christmas. If you want to help, please access this link to donate.

Thank you in advance for your positivity and support! Happy Holidays!

Project managers: Ana-Caterina Ciușcă and Tiberiu Frățilă

Ana-Caterina Ciușcă
Avenor Christmas Charity Fair – Coordinator
e: ana-caterina.ciusca@avenor.ro

Tiberiu Frățilă
Avenor Christmas Charity Fair – Project Manager
e: tiberiu.fratila@avenor.ro

Avenor Christmas Charity Fair
e: avenorcharityfair@gmail.com

Limba noastră e o comoară – curiozități despre limba română

Deși suntem o școală internațională, limba română și cunoașterea valorilor identitate și culturale românești reprezintă o preocupare constantă la Avenor College. Ne bucurăm de fiecare ocazie pe care o avem pentru a cultiva identitatea națională și pentru a găsi motive de mândrie autentice pentru elevii noștri.

Zilei Naționale a României este un astfel de prilej de imersiune culturală. De aceea, cu ocazia acestei zile ne-am propus să aducem în lumină limba română, un element profund de unitate etnică și culturală care nu încetează să uimească prin unicitatea ei. 

Dana Papadima, director educațional la Avenor College, iubește limba română și ne învață și pe noi sa o facem în fiecare zi. De data aceasta a cules pentru noi câteva curiozități despre limba română care ne fac să o iubim și mai tare.

 Așadar, știați că:

  1. Româna este singura limbă din grupul limbilor romanice care a supraviețuit în această zonă a Europei în ciuda prezenței valurilor de limbi slavice și uralice;
  2. Româna este o limbă veche de 1700 de ani care s-a conservat foarte bine peste ani. Atât de bine încât, dacă ne-am întâlni cu Mircea cel Bătrân n-ar fi imposibil să ne înțelegem;
  3. Dintre limbile latine, doar româna are articolul hotărât “enclitic”, adică atașat la sfârșitul substantivului. Spunem “fata”, “băiatul”, “tabloul”, și nu “la fille”, “le garçon”, “le tableau”, cum ar fi în franceză. Acest lucru conferă o melodicitate intrinsecă în grai, și concizie în exprimare. Practic, ne este de-ajuns un singur cuvânt, ca să ne facem înțeleși atunci când ne referim la un obiect sau la o ființă anume. Majoritatea popoarelor au nevoie de două cuvinte pentru asta.
  4. “Se scrie cum se aude.” Se scrie cum se aude, dar vine la pachet cu sute de particularități de pronunție (vezi ”ea” din ”ceapa” versus ”ea” din ”Ea merge la școală.”) pe care noi, români fiind, le punem în aplicare ușor, natural, fără să avem nevoie de ore de studiu, cum e cazul vorbitorilor de alte limbi (araba, de exemplu).
  5. Româna se aseamănă cu dalmata, o limbă care nu mai are nici un vorbitor în lume.
  6. Româna e limba cu al treilea cel mai lung cuvânt din Europa. “PNEUMONOULTRAMICROSCOPICSILICOVOLCANICONIOZĂ” – 44 de litere. Cuvantul definește o boală de plămâni care se face prin inhalarea prafului de siliciu vulcanic. Interesant e, că boala nu prea se face, deci nici cuvântul nu se folosește.
  7. Limba română e intrată în patrimoniul UNESCO. Româna a intrat în patrimoniul imaterial al lumii prin două cuvinte: “dor” și “doină”, două cuvinte intraductibile, ce exprimă emoții într-atât de specifice culturii noastre, încât traducerea lor în alte limbi este imposibilă.
  8. Un alt aspect unic al limbii române este faptul că are un vocabular latin care funcționează cu reguli gramaticale de tip slav deși există și cazuri în care cele două registre coabitează. Concret, cazurile dativ și genitiv au aceeași formă (ca în latină), timpul viitor și perfect se formează după o regulă hibrid între latină și slavă, dar infinitivul se evită (ca în limbile slave).
  9. Nicio altă limbă nu folosește atâtea zicători și expresii. Româna e printre puținele limbi în care “câinii latră și ursul merge”. E limba cu cele mai absurde imagini proverbiale, dar și limba în care proverbele, deși tot un fel de metafore, sunt considerate limbaj accesibil, limbaj “pe înțelesul tuturor”. Proverbele acestea, spun specialiștii, exprimă cea mai intimă preocupare a poporului român – sensul să fie bogat, dar fraza să fie scurtă. Cu titlu de curiozitate, cele mai numeroase zicători autohtone au ca subiect înțelepciunea – aproximativ 25% din totalul frazelor-proverb.
  10. Româna este între primele 8 limbi ale lumii ca număr de cuvinte. Ultima ediție a “Marelui Dicționar al Limbii Române” adună 170.000 de cuvinte, fără diminutive (încă aprox. 30.000).
  11. În ciuda vechimii ei, Româna nu are dialecte, aspect fără precedent în lume (vezi triada spaniolă-bască-catalană din Spania).

La mulți ani, România!

Romania through foreign eyes

As Romanians, our connection to Romania is much different than the connection a foreigner might have with our country, especially because we cannot change this heritage even if we wanted to. The connection we have here is deeper than just saying our family is from “around here”. We grew up on certain traditions, we experienced certain things and we made tons of memories, which all helped build the people we are today. Our national day is then primarily focused on why we as Romanians should love and appreciate our country, which is fair. However, what if we decided to switch the perspective? We as Romanians can’t change where we’re from or who we are, but foreigners could have gone anywhere to work or live – why Romania? This was the idea behind this project, and I am glad some of my teachers agreed to participate and bring it to life!

The idea for the project came to me for the first time in around January 2021, while I was at the pool, swimming. My swimming coach was not Romanian, so I started wondering exactly what made him come here instead of going anywhere else in the world. I didn’t ask him then, but I did start wondering what made my foreign teachers at Avenor come to Romania. I wrote the idea down, and here I am almost one year later. I interviewed 4 teachers and our new head of secondary, and I filmed all of these interviews as well. All of the footage is now available in a Padlet (the link is at the end of this article), and I recommend you watch it and see for yourself how interesting and sometimes unexpected the answers I got were. I definitely think it would be an enjoyable experience, but I might be a bit biased.

I love listening to podcasts, so I really hoped I could get a similar atmosphere in the interviews I organised. Some of my interviews ended up being longer, some shorter, but the experience in itself was extremely enjoyable. I had prepared a few questions prior to meeting with the teachers, but all of the interviews felt like conversations I’d want to have with or without the existence of this project, so I ended up asking them things I didn’t even think about before the interview started.

The organisational part of the project went great as well. I organised all of the interviews in one week, usually either during lunch breaks or when I had a free lesson. The people at the office saw me about two times every day that week, as I kept coming back to either book another time slot for the room I did my interviews in or to actually do the interviews. I filmed everything on my tablet, and I asked the teachers at every point if they were ok with how everything was set up.

One of my favourite parts of finishing the interviews was how interested some of my friends were to see them. They knew what the project consisted of, and every time I came back from an interview I asked them if they’d want to see what I filmed and the answer was always an excited yes. It was great to see that others found the project as interesting as I think it is.

Living or working in Romania as an expat is a unique experience for everyone who comes here, so it was incredibly interesting to see the range of responses I got for each question I asked.

Gillian Carroll is a Physics teacher and Careers Counselor here at Avenor. Although she didn’t want to appear in the video, she gladly answered all of my questions and was eager to share her wonderful experience with Romania. This is her first time working outside of the UK, but she already thinks that she might want to move to Romania permanently when she retires. Gillian actually got baptised in Romania when she was 50 years old. Her family is half Irish/half Chinese and she grew up in the UK, yet she still considers Romania home more than she does the UK. She is a huge fan of travelling, and has visited most of Romania, with the exception of the Danube Delta. She is a huge fan of the Romanian countryside, with its unique mix of people, foods and experiences waiting to be discovered.

Joshua Norris is an English teacher and Katie Hargreaves is a Media Studies teacher, both of them currently working here at Avenor. They moved to Romania together, and this is their first time working outside of the UK and together in the same school. Funnily enough, they were actually supposed to go to Russia instead of Romania initially. They think Romania will always feel like a home to them, and that’s also what helped them make the decision to get the permanent residency permit at some point. They also got engaged here, which strengthens their connection to Romania.

Olivia Robinson is also an English teacher here at Avenor. She worked in both Mexico and Kenya prior to coming to Romania, and she is still planning on staying here longer. One of the reasons she made the decision to stay here longer is that Romania allows her to feel like a teacher all of the time, which she enjoys. She loves travelling to Romania, but she’s not a fan of the mainstream places, like Sibiu. She’s rather fond of discovering hidden gems. She would love to learn more Romanian but admits that it is very difficult to do that, when us Romanians speak English so well.

Paul Barrie is the Head of Secondary at Avenor. He moved here with his family this summer, yet it was not his first time coming to Bucharest. Back when he lived in Istanbul, he visited Romania together with his wife in order to see our Christmas Markets and get the proper Christmas feel. He lived in Rio for three years before moving to Bucharest, and he is excited that his four year old son will get to see snow for the first time this winter. Him and his family visited some parts of Romania, Sinaia being their favourite so far.

If you want to hear more about their experiences and comments about Romania, definitely check out the videos in the Padlet, which include some of the interviews.

Happy National Day, Romania!

Teodora, student in grade 10 at Avenor College International High School

My Adventurous Journey Experience

One of the most adventurous and challenging experiences began on the 24th of September 2021, when I received the invitation to participate in the Silver adventurous journey trip to Cheia. I was really excited to challenge my abilities and skills, and learn how to cooperate with my teammates. I didn’t expect to be able to finish the Silver programme so quickly and go on the trip, due to the actual Covid situation, but receiving this great news from my sports teacher made my day the best! A three-day trip, I have been waiting for since the beginning of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Project, was ready to begin 🙂

First day

Full of positive emotions, courage and an incomparable feeling of enthusiasm, I stepped together with my colleagues, in the reception of the hotel, left our bags there and started putting our special equipment on, together with the map of the city. We took the meal with us inside our backpacks, a bottle of water in order to stay hydrated and went from Cheia to Brasov, as that was the place where the journey took place.

During our way to Brasov, inside the bus, we have completed a table with all of our objectives that we had to reach throughout the day, set times for meetings with our coordinator, and organised which member of the team is going to take photos, deal with the limited budget and encourage the team during hard moments. The weather in Brasov was sunny, we were surrounded by happy people, animated places and the beautiful medieval buildings.

A pleasure for all of us to visit tourist attractions in Brasov, but without using Waze, Google maps, our telephones or any other electronic devices. We were just on our own… interesting, right? I wasn’t afraid, or maybe worried, as I knew from the beginning that me and my team would do a great job together as every single one of us had a different skill. During the first day, we visited “The First Romanian School ” where we were asked to sing the Romanian anthem. The moment when I saw how talented my teammates are at singing and how good their vocal abilities are:) It has then continued with the visit of the Black Church, where I helped with the translation of a paragraph written in German, as we needed the information for our tour guide, followed by the Ecaterina and Schei Gate.

We were a little bit disoriented in looking for these tourist attractions, but I am glad that one of our colleagues was brave enough to ask a local man to help us. We were continuously looking at the clock, to see if we were on time, and we never had the problem of being late. We deserved a break:) Two more objectives for that day: the Synagogue and Sforii Street. I came up with the idea to write on the walls of the street our names and a message (the street being full of writings and messages), in order to have a memory of us being together there.

The day was beginning to finish, and we didn’t want this to happen, we were feeling so accomplished and satisfied with our work, but we wanted more. It was one of the best days of my life. I couldn’t believe that I was able to orientate myself, wait for the other members, as we all had different ways of walking, some of us were slower than the others, so I had to fill myself with patience, and last but not least listen to the others ideas. My knowledge and experience is far greater now, and I am confident enough to say that even if I will be on the other part of the Earth, I will be able to reach any place, just using a map and my speaking abilities:)

Second day

Another day was ready to start again…, but now I am being less nervous and much more confident. Actually, I was really excited for it! I knew that we had 6 more objectives and that we were going to reach all of them in time and also have time for relaxation. This was exactly what had happened. We went straight to check the White and the Black Tower, but unfortunately we spent more than 25 minutes searching for them, when they were exactly next to us. We were so agitated and enthusiastic so we forgot to look further, in front of us. I felt so guilty at that moment, as I couldn’t help my team be more effective, but at the end of the day, we have learned from our mistakes. We continued walking, to the Bastions which were located in the upper part of Brasov, so we had to pass a beautiful and well-known street, called “The Castle” Street, that we had no idea about.

Some situations put us in the position to experiment new places, without even knowing. We were mesmerized by its old beauty, and also took some pictures there. The smell of fresh cookies and cakes was irresistible while being in the Main Square(one of our objectives). The Fortress of Brasov was our last objective, and we were sad about it, as all of this process was really enjoyable. It was the hardest objective to reach, being situated on a hill in Brasov. We were tired of walking, and wanted to quit, but what made us continue, was the encouraging words we were all giving each other, and the small amount of ambition that was still living inside of us. We have finally finished our adventurous journey, that was incredible and really unexpected!

Feelings after the trip

It was an experience I would repeat at any time! I have learned how beautiful our country is, how to appreciate small things in life and learn from others. We are all different, and I am glad that I have been part of this amazing journey, that made me realise I am capable of doing everything I want, when I am surrounded by the right people, at the right time. We had fun, we discovered new places, learned how to work better in a team, learned from our mistakes and how to navigate the city using only a map. I can’t wait to go on other trips and see what the Gold journey is waiting to show us! Congratulations, everyone!

Sara C. – Grade 10 student at Avenor College International High School

10 sfaturi pentru o lecție online (sau hibrid) de succes

Legea le permite elevilor vaccinați să vină la școală și să aibă acces la învățarea față în față,  chiar și atunci când în clasa lor un coleg a fost diagnosticat cu COVID-19. Ce se întâmplă însă cu colegii nevaccinați care trebuie să rămână acasă 14 zile? Sunt profesorii pregătiți pentru predarea în sistem hibrid? 

Dr. Daniela Vasile, Director of Learning la Avenor College, împărtășește sfaturile ei pentru propria echipă de profesori, în contextul în care unii dintre elevi continuă învățarea la școală, iar alții sunt temporar online. 

Bonus, Daniela a inclus și un model de planificare a unei lecții online sau hibrid, împreună cu linkuri către platforme și resurse utile în planificare. 

 

În plin sezon al învățării hibride și în anumite situații al învățării online, în timp ce autoritățile schimbă regulile jocului din mers, profesorii trebuie să nu uite că elevii lor se bazează pe ei. Indiferent că sunt acasă sau învață încă la școală, responsabilitatea noastră este aceeași. 

Și în școala noastră avem atât lecții față în față, cât și lecții hibrid și online pentru anumite grupuri de elevi, iar cheia pentru jonglarea între ele este planificarea foarte bună.  

Planificarea unei ore online este diferită de planificarea unei ore în persoană, iar planificarea pentru hibrid conține elemente din ambele tipuri. Acesta din urmă este cel mai dificil mediu de predare, dar, după cum vedem, nu putem scăpa de el. 

Pentru ca o oră online să aibă succes, este nevoie de o planificare mai atentă decât pentru o oră cu toți elevii în clasă. Online, planificarea învățării este mai detaliată și mai anticipativă. 

Iată 10 indicii despre cum putem planifica o oră de succes online: 

  1. Pregătiți un starter pentru lecție, care este proiectat pe ecran în timp ce elevii intră pe rând în Zoom.
  2. Observați toți elevii pe măsură ce intră la oră. Acordați atenție fiecăruia dintre ei. Cereți specific să aibă camera deschisă în timpul lecției.
  3. Nu vorbiți mai mult de 6-10 minute (în funcție de vârsta copiilor; 10 min în cazul liceenilor de exemplu). Altfel le pierdem atenția și nu putem controla ce fac dincolo de ecran.
  4. Faceți un videoclip înregistrând conținutul pe care vreți să-l predați. Cereți-le elevilor să îl urmărească înainte de lecție, ca temă, și apoi verificați în clasă ce au înțeles. Aceasta este învățarea inversă (flipped learning) o tehnică care funcționează foarte bine în ore online.
  5. Folosiți Google Docs și încărcați-le în Google Classroom. Creați copii pentru fiecare elev în parte. Astfel puteți vedea în timp real cum și ce lucrează, iar ei pot contribui cu texte și insera ilustrații.
  6. Oferiți feedback înregistrat prin intermediul Google Classroom. Există o extensie care înregistrează vocea, iar mesajul vocal poate fi transcris în timp real în Google Classroom
  7. Folosiți breakout rooms și treceți prin fiecare pentru a vedea cum se descurcă elevii. Instrucțiunile trebuie să fie foarte clare, postate în Google Classroom și înțelese de elevi înainte de a se despărți pe grupuri.
  8. Faceți o listă de elevi în ordine alfabetică și adresați-le pe rând o întrebare. În acest fel toată lumea vorbește, iar rândul elevilor vine atât de des, încât trebuie să rămână atenți și să se concentreze.
  9. Planificarea pentru o oră hibridă necesită atât părți pe care le-am aplica față în față cu elevii, cât și activități specifice orelor online. E important să nu neglijăm nici elevii din clasă, nici pe cei de acasă.
  10. În fiecare grup de lucru (breakout room) puneți atât elevi care sunt în clasă cât și elevi care învață online. În acest fel, elevii din clasă devin legătura dintre profesor și elevii de acasă.

Vă ofer aici și un posibil model pentru desfășurarea unei ore hibride  (este în limba engleză, deoarece noi avem o echipă mixtă de profesori, români și britanici, și folosim resurse în engleză).  

Vă doresc curaj să explorați platformele digitale care pot să vă ușureze munca și viața. Fiți deschiși și continuați să învățați zi de zi, pentru că după cum bine putem vedea, nicio zi în educație nu seamănă cu cealaltă și trebuie să fim pregătiți pentru toate scenariile de învățare. 

 

Dr. Daniela Vasile 

Director of Learning, Avenor College 

Results Day – The day when adulthood starts

Some people go through A level Results Day only once: their own day when their results come out.  Parents may go through their own and that of their children and possibly the results day for their grandchildren. For us teachers it is an annual occurrence and we never get used to it.  It is often an exhausting day filled with many emotions and pleasant surprises.

A level Results Day is the day when students find out if they have got into the UK universities of their choice. If they have not applied to UK universities, it is the day when they can tell their chosen university that they have met the criteria needed to start their chosen course.  It is the day when the next stage of their lives suddenly becomes a lot clearer. In many ways it is the day when adulthood starts. School is over, all that growing and nurturing has produced its fruits, the ‘harvest’ is in.

How did we get here this year?

The Class of 2021 have been through a unique set of circumstances that have affected everyone on the planet.  Yet despite all the drama, they have had to focus on their studies under very difficult circumstances.  Some enjoyed the lockdown and found it easier to work from home, others found the whole experience traumatic. It is our job as teachers to accommodate and encourage all students.  Below, I will give some examples of how our incredible students arrived at Results Day.

One student is a budding entrepreneur and unexpectedly found his business taking off right when he should have been concentrating on his studies.  He had to learn quickly how to manage his time.  His success was down to his ability to communicate and plan and keep his teachers in the loop.  This is a remarkable achievement.

Several students were incredibly well motivated, knew what they wanted and where they wanted to study and what they had to do to achieve their goals.  Some of them had an occasional wobble which is only to be expected.  Well-motivated students are like rock climbers, they are totally focussed on what they want to achieve… unfortunately sometimes they look down and feel dizzy and can’t quite believe what they have achieved so far and how much more they still have to do. But they got there in the end and the joy was there for all to see.

Some students have personalities that are more relaxed and need to be given a bit more of a sense of urgency.  Some students needed a lot of pastoral support, others none at all.  Some students had dreams and ambitions that had been with them since childhood, others only really found out what they would like to study a few months before applying to university.

The application process for the universities in each country is completely different and some are far more complex than others.  It is important that the students take ownership of the process so that they feel the responsibility of what they are doing and become goal-oriented to achieve.  All our students showed remarkable maturity and creativity in choosing courses and completing the sometimes tedious entry requirements. For many it is the first time in their lives when they have had to put their achievements, strengths and weaknesses onto a form to show complete strangers.  Taking such an objective look at oneself is always daunting.

The application forms are completed, the examinations taken, the summer holiday starts. Then in mid-August, Results Day arrives. 

Quite a few tanned, relaxed and enthusiastic students came into school. It was lovely to see them and to see their excitement about their futures.  It is one of the most rewarding parts of being a teacher.  Some years, and this was no exception, there can be issues with the universities and it is good to have teachers on hand to phone and send emails to clarify the confusion. 

The great thing is that now, all students have places at institutions where they want to study.  It is so very satisfying and a credit to their maturity and hard work.

As for us teachers and support staff…. we are already preparing ourselves to go through it all again next year.

Gillian Carroll

Physics Teacher and Careers Counsellor

 

 

 

Ioana’s interviews: Teaching with respect

How do you become a teacher who has excellent results with all the students in the class? With love, respect and trust, says Mihaela Ancuța, Mathematics Curriculum Leader at Avenor International High School. But, before anything else, it takes a huge dose of passion and dedication for this profession.

We invite you to find out more from a new interview in the series about the passions and talents of our community members, created by Ioana, a student in Grade 12.

Ioana: Tell us a couple of words about Mihaela Ancuta. How would you introduce yourself?

Mihaela Ancuța: I am a person who always tries to have a smile on her face. I accomplish this especially at school because here I forget about all the other things that are going on in my life and because here I get positive energy from my students and colleagues. Besides this, I can also say that I am very passionate and devoted to my career and I feel like I am never getting tired. All the time I want to do more; the only thing getting in my way is time! I consider myself an honest person, but tactful, always recognising my mistakes and trying  to learn from them in order to become better next time. This is also how I encourage my students to be: to admit their mistakes and try their best to fill in these gaps and to correct them in the future. I am an empathetic person, who gets emotional easily when the situation is sensitive, but I don’t consider this aspect as a flaw, but rather a quality. In my opinion, when people are like this it means that they care about those around, and when you care, you do nothing that can hurt what surrounds you.

Ioana: Where does your passion for mathematics come from? 

Mihaela Ancuța: My passion for mathematics comes from my teacher from grade 8, who seemed to me as a mysterious person. I remember that she wore glasses and that I wanted to look like her, so I told my mother that I wasn’t seeing very well and that I had to go for a check-up. I won’t ever forget when I went to my medical appointment thinking what to do when the doctor will look at my eyes and notice that I can actually see perfectly. I decided, then, to stare at a light bulb for a longer period of time – “maybe something will happen to me”. After this, I had to place my head on a machine and the doctor told me that maybe I have 0.25 at one eye and I would agree “yes,yes, that’s right!!”. I remember that I chose my glasses to look the same as the teacher’s, but I couldn’t walk on the street when wearing them. In order for me to climb the stairs, I would raise my glasses from my nose to see where to step. They bothered me, but I didn’t admit it to anyone!  

So my passion for mathematics comes from this teacher from 8th grade. After this, I was lucky to have another teacher in high school that inspired me a lot, and this made my passion for mathematics to continue. My passion for school, for becoming a teacher, came before my passion for mathematics. I identified it very early, when I realised that I really liked writing on the blackboard. I remember that, in the first grade, we didn’t have a sponge with water to wipe off the board, so I took out my handkerchief from my pocket and I watered it to make the board beautiful. I was passionate to write on boards with chalk also outside of school. I had at home a cardboard box on which I would write, then erase everything with water, then wait for it to dry up and write on it again. I would also write on my bedroom door sometimes, but then erase everything immediately so that my mother wouldn’t see. However, sometimes, even though I would wash it, white stains would remain on the door. I wrote, of course, on the walls as well. I liked explaining to other people  different things. I had imaginary characters to whom I would teach.

Ioana: How do you feel being part of the Avenor College community both as a teacher and as a parent?

Mihaela Ancuța: I feel amazing – happy and fulfilled! I feel that this is the place where I can grow and improve, I can say that Avenor gave me wings! And for my child, I believe that it is the best school that we could have chosen! He is very proud to be part of the Avenor community.

Ioana: You have amazing results with each and every student of yours. What is your secret? 

Mihaela Ancuța: I simply love them! What is behind this sentence depends a lot on the relationship with the students, on the respect that you show you have for them – because only then it can be mutual – and on a good plan and structure, considering that time is limited (usually when you are preparing for an exam you only have a year, maybe two to prepare, or even a couple of months). Of course, you can deviate from this established plan in exceptional cases. Another factor is represented by high expectations, and also when I identify in my class students that have low self esteem or that are considered maybe weaker by others, I treat them exactly like the the most advanced students in class. By treating them in the same way, their confidence in themselves grows and they will do everything in their power to not let you down. This means that they will learn and they will obtain very good results.

There is this story in the biography of Thomas Edison that says that one day, he came home and gave his mother a note from school. His mother read it out loud for him because he wanted to know what was written on the note: “Your son is a genius. Our school is too unprepared for him and doesn’t have enough teachers to support him. Please, take care of him yourself!”. After many, many years, Edison finds the note on which it was actually written: “Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.” This is the secret: to encourage students!

Ioana: You have been and still are in contact with both the Romanian and the Cambridge educational system. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them?

Mihaela Ancuța: I would group this comparison in two parts: secondary and high school. For secondary school, the students in the Romanian system learn concepts in more depth than the ones in the Cambridge system. This can be an advantage because the level of knowledge is higher, but also a disadvantage because these concepts can be learned mechanically, forced, and the notions may not be understood well. However, in the Cambridge system, the students learn concepts that can be more applied to the day to day life. Usually, they don’t get into very much detail, but the notions are diverse.

In high school, in the Romanian system, the students have to study Mathematics, if they choose the „real” (Maths and Sciences) profile. On the other hand, in the Cambridge system, they choose what subjects they want to study, and this comes with the assumption that students have passion and skills for the respective subject. This is easier for both the teachers, because they will work with students that want to be there, and for the students, because they are surrounded by people who share the same passions. The content of the Cambridge A Level syllabus is superior to the Romanian Baccalaureate and I believe that it has many more advantages from this point of view.

Ioana: How do you spend your free time? 

Mihaela Ancuța: I try to spend as much time as possible with my children, of course. Because they are still young, they wish to play a lot, so we do many activities together – games, we dance, sing, fool around, have fun. When the children are not around, I like to search for information, explore YouTube and the Internet because only then I have the time to do this. I like to get informed about what is happening in other schools (of course, my focus is on the things that are related to the educational system). In addition to this, another priority of mine is personal development. I went and still go to many different conferences that I find out about on the Internet. Recently I went to a conference about “How to raise amazing kids” and I took notes so that later I could share what I found out with my friends and with anyone who considers they need this. Of course, these workshops that I attend are about educating parents, but also teachers. In my free time, even though I don’t do it often, I like to go shopping. I don’t like to cook, but to clean, I do – it relaxes me.

 

Ioana: I am curious now that you told me about the most recent conference that you attended, how do you raise amazing kids?

Mihaela Ancuța: The same way in which you raise amazing students! By loving them, trusting them, respecting them, by avoiding getting mad at them and by teaching them to understand their mistakes! You don’t ever have to act superior around them or act like you are smarter than them, but you have to be always there for them in their learning process, thinking at the same time and holding their hands so that they grow both emotionally and physically.

Ioana: The Avenor Community has extended also in the Greenfield neighborhood. I know that you have recently taken the decision to move here, how do you feel the connection between these two communities? 

Mihaela Ancuța: It is the best decision I’ve made! I am thrilled that I live this close to the school. Time is not an inconvenience anymore, I arrive in a couple minutes to school and in this way I have time for other things – I don’t waste the 4 hours that I used to spend commuting before. I am glad also that when I go shopping for groceries, on the street or in the park with my children, I meet with someone I know. Students see me when I am on the balcony, I wave to them when they pass in front of my apartment. I like that when I look outside I see the school, when I come back from downtown in the evening, I turn my head to see if everything is ok – if the lights are turned off, etc. Overall it is excellent, I like it very much!

At the initiative of Mihaela Ancuța, 𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗛-𝗟𝗬-𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 appeared, the first Avenor mathematics magazine, coordinated by a team of middle school and high school students.

You can read all the issues of the magazine here.

How to build excellence in education

Dr. Daniela Vasile, Director of Learning at Avenor College, is a professional in education with over 20 years of international experience, both as a math teacher and in management positions. We invite you to learn more about her passion for excellence in education and use of technology, how the cultural differences she encountered changed her perspective, both professionally and personally, her decision to return home and her love for the sea.

Daniela talked to Ioana, a 12th grade student at Avenor International High School, the initiator of the series of interviews dedicated to the passions and talents of the members of the Avenor community.

Ioana: Tell us a couple of words about Daniela Vasile. How would you introduce yourself?

Daniela Vasile: I love what I do. I really enjoy teaching; I take pride in the relationship that I develop over the years with students. I like meeting them after they’ve graduated and notice that they have become happy and fulfilled people, contributing to their community and beyond, to society. That’s what matters most in life, belonging that leads to fulfillment that, in turn, leads to happiness.

On a personal note, I have a family that I am very proud of. My husband and I have been happily married for 33 years. We have two children. My daughter studied psychology at The University of Oxford.She also got her Master’s degree, and now she works in the UK. My son is studying Economics and Mathematics at The New York University in Abu Dhabi. He leads the university debating and Model United Nations teams. The most important thing is not where they attended college, but that they are driven by healthy values and principles.

Ioana: Where does the passion for the subjects you teach come from (Statistics and Maths)? ?

Daniela Vasile: I think it highly depends on the teacher, perhaps even more so in Mathematics than in other subjects, because Mathematics is a subject where you need a strong foundation to build upon. The passion seems to have originated from my primary teacher, who taught us how to think logically and who was a great educator. During summer holidays, I remember spending time at her house. She had these small chairs which she arranged in her backyard as we studied mathematics and observed the plants grow in her garden. In the summer, she was always surrounded by children.

After that, I was lucky to have very good teachers, both in middle school and high school, and thus this passion grew, because they revealed to me the beauty of mathematics. Just as important is the fact that my mother is a teacher, an exceptional teacher. She was my Romanian language teacher for 4 years, in middle school. She is a role model, both as a teacher and as a human being.

Ioana: I know you’ve also taught in foreign countries. What cultural challenges did you encounter in each of these?

Daniela Vasile: The main difference is in mentality. I have taught in European countries, and the mentality didn’t differ. However, when I went to Asia, it truly was a cultural shock! I was walking down the street and I couldn’t comprehend what drove their actions! Perhaps the biggest shock was to understand that, there, a rule is followed by everyone. That’s certainly a difference! The Asian societies are less individualistic than ours. Back in 2009, when I moved to Hong Kong, I saw occasionally people on the street or few students in the school wearing masks (yes, the same as we wear now). It took me a while to understand that they don’t wear masks to protect themselves from others, but they wear them when they get a cold, to protect others from them.

However, when I am thinking at the school level, students are the same here and there, all are exceptional people. We all live in a more than ever connected world, where borders between cultures fade. While maintaining our roots, we become at the same time more international. And this is what schools like Avenor and all schools where I worked before are similar.

I don’t necessarily think of my travels in terms of challenges I’ve encountered, but rather in terms of opportunities of learning new things and that’s very interesting.

Ioana: Please tell us about a memorable experience whilst teaching abroad, and one from Romania.

Daniela Vasile: I recall this impactful event from the Anglo American School of Moscowwhich actually happened in my very first month there. When I gave back the marked tests to 11th grade students,

As I handed them their work, I did exactly what my teachers in Romania did: I read the results out loud. I then proceeded to give to this one girl her test back. She scored 78%. When the lesson ended, the Korean girl approached me, extremely upset, and said, “Do you realize that you have ruined my social status?” I asked her what she meant by that. She explained to me how, in Korea, anything below 90% is considered a total failure. I then thought how normal calling results out loud was in the Romanian system! I reflected on that instance and I never do this anymore. Coming back home, at Avenor, when I gave back my first set of tests, I noticed that students share between them the scores. I like that here, at Avenor, there is no such fear of being judged by others. Instead, students are open to learn from each other and to learn together. It is a culture of respect and collaboration.

Ioana: Why did you choose Avenor College and how does your experience here compare to that in foreign countries?

Daniela Vasile: When I first decided to return home, because I had taught abroad for 20 years and I grew home-sick, I started scrolling through different schools’ websites. I liked the Avenor spirit, that I could feel just by looking through the website. I saw a school with well-defined values, giving students a broad experience – school is not about subjects only! I then looked in the media and on Facebook, and I reached the conclusion that Avenor was different from any other school in Romania – a school that matches perfectly my view on outstanding education. I wished to be part of this Avenor Adventure, of the Avenor Spirit and to contribute to the Avenor community. It was definitely a thoroughly researched decision, I didn’t just settle on the first school I came across. Finally, after seeing the spirit from the media, I had the pleasant surprise to come here and see that the spirit is alive. I really like the Avenor College community!

Ioana: How did you adapt here, after 20 years of teaching abroad?

Daniela Vasile: Naturally, there are things in the previous place that you miss when moving. After all, I think it’s best to live in the present, not the past; to think about what is good here, because there are so many things I enjoy that I could not have elsewhere.

However, I do miss the sea very much. In Hong Kong, every day when I went to school, I drove down the hill and watched the sea. I’m a person who doesn’t like winter, and it’s always summer there.

I still miss the fact that everything runs smoothly there. Of course, I also miss the friends I made there and my former students, but, on the other hand, I am now at home. I reconnected with my wider family, with my friends and I met new people at the same time. I have new, wonderful students.

Ioana: Throughout the year, I’ve noticed your affinity with technology. We’ve grown to rely increasingly more on technology, it has become a crucial part of our lives, whether we want it to be or not. How did you manage to familiarise yourself with this field?

Daniela Vasile: I’ve always liked technology, because I studied both mathematics and computer science at university. I’ve always believed that technology makes our lives easier, that’s why I began using it in the first place. After that, I discovered a lot of apps that help me teach math in a way that makes the concepts accessible, to help students visualize these procedures. And from there, step by step, I started to diversify my classes, to use technology more and more, hoping that it will have a positive impact on the students’ learning process. Then, when the pandemic began, I started using technology to connect with students.

Ioana: Ioana: At the end of January, you were invited to speak at a SuperTeach conference and one of the topics discussed during this conference began with the question: “What are similar experiences and what are the solutions adopted in various countries successfully applied in Romania?”. Can you please elaborate on this?

Daniela Vasile: It’s very important how the teacher sees himself in class. Is he someone who takes a lesson from the textbook and presents it to the students exactly in the way it is there? Or is he someone who can think and adapt the content of the textbook, improve it? For, in the end, the textbook is just how the author approaches the curriculum, his interpretation of the program. As a teacher, I would like to have my own interpretation, which might revolve around this textbook, but include new elements. After that, you can develop this idea even more: the teacher can even create an entire program without the guidance of the textbook. Thus, learning becomes more interesting, deeper and richer.

Ioana: Given the fact that you have taught at many international schools, what do you think of the Romanian curriculum? What do you like or dislike and what do you think can be improved?

Daniela Vasile: In Romania, it seems to me that exam results matter the most. The process that leads to that result is not given enough significance. However, I consider this very important because the way you get to the result determines what kind of learner we grow. I wouldn’t want my students to learn only for the exam, and then forget everything. This does not mean that I expect a student, after 10-15 years, to remember how to solve a quadratic equation. What I want them to be left with are the habits of mind that will allow them to become life-long learners.

Everyone complains that the Romanian national curriculum is old, and indeed it is old. But this does not mean that, if the curriculum changes completely, the students will be more involved and active. It would be certainly good to improve it, but at the moment we can only work with what we have. The way we approach this curriculum can make a difference in the student’s learning process and, consequently, in their engagement.

Ioana: How do you see online teaching from your point of view?

Daniela Vasile: In March, the pandemic caught us off guard and we had to start online teaching. Not everyone was prepared for this drastic change. However, the teachers at Avenor switched to online teaching very quickly, practically in just 2 days.

Of course, for any teacher, online teaching is more difficult than brick-and-mortar teaching. Mainly due to the fact that teaching in person allows you to easily identify, from the reactions of students, who needs help and guidance, something that is harder to follow online. Thus, we put in place several tools to track the progress of students, applications such as Google Classroom, WhatsApporGoogle Docs.

From a cognitive point of view, online lessons run as well as the in-person ones, but require better organisation and planning.

Hybrid learning is the most difficult for teachers, because you have to follow both the students in class and those online. At Avenor we offer it now and will continue to offer it for students who, for various reasons, can’t attend in-person classes. If you think for a moment, we have always been in a yellow scenario, as we frequently had one-two students at home. This pandemic helped us find solutions that we will use in such cases from now on.

Ioana: What other hobbies do you have besides teaching?

Daniela Vasile: For 2 years, I have been supporting another international school with their Mathematics department, as an educational consultant. I am also an international school evaluator, leading teams of 6-8 educators from all over the world to visit and help schools improve. I have just completed such a visit during the February mid-term break, in Kenya.

I like reading, hiking, and being in nature – well, mainly by the sea!

Ioana: What are your future plans for Avenor?

Daniela Vasile: We are going through a very interesting and meaningful period of transformations in education and I am happy to be part of a progressive team here, at Avenor.

In May, we will participate, as a school, at an international conference, one of the biggest in the educational world: the COBIS conference, where we will present Avenor’s story as a case study. I am very proud that I am able to represent the Avenor school in conferences and workshops. We have a lot to share and to offer.

Also, at the moment, we are at the end of a process where the entire community defined the strategic plan for the next 10 years. The future is bright and interesting – it is now time to get to work, in order to make it happen!