Meet the teachers!
Today we put the spotlight on Gergana Popova, one of the Clever Kittens teachers at ICCC.
The International Children’s Creative Center (ICCC) in Sofia, Bulgaria, is here to help local and expat families. Children find a safe place to adjust, learn and feel at home here.
What is your name, how do children call you?
Gergana Popova, the children call me Miss Geri
Tell us something about your education and experience.
My education is in Arts and Graphic Design. I have taken various courses in Education and I am currently studying Education Science at Sofia University. I have been working at ICCC for more than eight years. My previous experience with young children was in a day care center, teaching art.
What is your favorite part of the day as a teacher?
It is Story time when I get to do all the voices and be silly. I also love playing outside with the children, just kicking a ball around or play tag and things like that.
What inspires you to keep working with children in pre-school age?
The children are my main inspiration. It is a very rewarding age where responses are immediate and some results often follow quickly. It is an age where you love your students and they love you back and the world is still an amazing place full of wonders.
How do you motivate children?
I rely on old and tested as well as spur of the moment techniques. Generally, I aim towards making things interesting and inviting, a more hands-on than frontal approach.
How do you face difficult challenges throughout the day at school?
Most difficult situations are related to convincing a child to do something they don`t want to. It takes a lot of quick thought and flexibility, taking it case by case and knowing your children well. There is no one thing that answers all situations, yet me keeping my cool is key as well as always seeking better understanding on the subject, including books, seminars, the help of colleagues.
What is the best part of being a teacher?
For me it is the pure connection and relationship with the children. I love discovering their personalities and helping them along their way. It is also the personal development it requires. Being a teacher always challenges you to work on yourself to be a better person, a more skillful communicator, a sensitive and vigilant supporter.
What sort of morning routine do you have to get ready and in the mood for the class?
It is not quite a morning thing for me. I like to plan at least a day ahead, a week or sometimes a month, often together with my colleague. This gives me a clearer picture for the day that I have in my mind going in. Often on my way to work while driving I would remember some of the sweet things the kids did the day before and that helps me keep an open mind toward them and their needs.
Do you notice any changes in children’s behavior for the past few years?
Every day. Growing is a challenging business, it is sometimes more a tango than a quick-step, but change is always there.
What is your favorite child book/author and why?
Erich Kastner is my favorite author. His insight into a child`s world is both heartwarming and eye-opening. He tells hard truths with humor and even though he wrote a century ago I find relevance and meaning in his books.
What is the most surprising and funny thing you heard about yourself from children?
– Miss Geri is my relaxing teacher.
– Miss Geri, you are coming to my house and I am going to share this walnut with you.
– Look! I have a bucket of rainbows!
Me: Tell me about your vacation. Child: I hate Greece!
Share an interesting story about yourself.
When I was a child, I remember I was always imagining to be a teacher. I taught all my dolls really interesting lessons. Somewhere along the way I forgot about that and I became a graphic designer. Despite odds though teaching found me and I am really glad about it.