Tülay Önder is a teacher of children and young learners in Ankara, Turkey. She’s actively involved and passionate about developing collaborative projects for her students in Turkey to do with learners from around the world. She’s lively, energetic, enthusiastic, and in touch with her inner child.
What are you passionate about Tülay?
Teaching and still learning when l teach drives and motivates me! l am passionate about projects and trying to do more and more for my students.
We have 3 running projects at school. One of them has just been approved by Comenius
The title of our project is Let’s Reveal Secrets of European Gardens. There are 11 partner countries involved and the the Coordinator is Poland. In this project, we will create indoor and outdoor gardens at school and the students will learn about seeds and how a plant can grow .
Our Second Project is called International Inspiration, which is supported by the British Council of Scotland. The focus of this project is on Physical Education and its aim is to develop and expand physical education lessons while encouraging students – especially girls – to be more active.
Our Third Project is an exchange program. l found the school we are working with in Denmark on Facebook with the help of one of my Danish friends. Once we got connected we started to talk about our plans and ideas, and then connected our students on the Internet. Additionally students sent postcards and letters to each other. Later, thirteen students and four teacher from Turkey visited Denmark where our families from our exchange school hosted us in their homes, so we got the chance to learn culture through being part of their daily life. We cooked Turkish food and they cooked Danish food with the students. It was really amazing! We will host them in Turkey next April.
I am very passionate about projects like these, and I am sure you can see why. Projects are a great way to make learning come alive.
How and why did you become a teacher?
Being a Teacher was one of my dreams when l was a child. There is a belief in Turkey that when you lose a tooth as a child and throw it under the teachers’ desk, you can become a teacher in the future. Well, l did it and now l am a teacher so it still works … although it is nonsense. J l love teaching and having contact with kids and young learners. l know that there is a child inside me and l love that child. When l work with the children, l try to listen to this child inside me and it can help me and l can understand the children easily.
What are you most interested in right now, Tülay?
Well, as you can imagine I am really interested in making the three projects I am currently working on successful. In addition, I am also working to organize an exchange program with a school in the United States and Japan. Such projects are really very helpful for students and teachers. Being involved in an exchange programs allows but students and teachers to share and compare ideas and views while also helping everyone have a more more global focus.
What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher?
I follow and look for things about education on the net, and make sure I am connected to lots of teachers around the world on Facebook. This provides a constant source of stimulation and helps me innovate every day, and we really need to innovate and improve ourselves each day.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?
My biggest challenges are finding ways for my students in Turkey to collaborate with other students from around the world and good finding good people for them to do exchange programs with. I could also say that I have the same challenge on a personal level as a teacher: finding great teachers from around the world to collaborate while thinking together with them about projects we could do together once we get connected. Another challenge involves conditions in Turkish schools where class sizes are often very large and where in some schools there is not enough ICT equipment for the students. I wish all schools in Turkey had the same good conditions, but perhaps this is impossible to achieve at the moment.
What advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?
Follow and listen to your heart. Be active, be happy and go on learning without stopping.
Tülay, is there any blog or online link you’d like to recommend?
For teachers in who are interested in doing collaborative projects, I would recommend they have a look at Comenius
What’s your favorite quotation about being a teacher?
I am not sure where this idea came from originally, but this is true:
Each teacher means a different method so there are as many methods as there are teachers in the world.