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Svetlana Petrović, a Community Story from Serbia

As a school counsellor, Svetlana haa always been dedicated to continuous professional and personal development. She wanted to be able to provide adequate support for teachers and educators. In addition to support with the ICT knowledge and digital skills necessary for organising online classes, she also offered additional forms of support via online channels, in the form of webinars, video conferences, online meetings and shared videos which she created specifically for this purpose.

Svetlana Petrović

As a school counsellor, I have always been dedicated to continuous professional and personal development. This led me to study a postgraduate degree at the Faculty of Political Sciences. I specialised in the area of mediation, which has undoubtedly contributed to my work and professional development. I started working in the field of education because I wanted to support and educate teachers in various areas of pedagogy, helping them to develop their skills. I took part in the Second Chance – Functional Elementary Education of Adults programme. I am actively involved in career guidance and counselling, and I take part in the Education to Employment programme as a coach for professional practice mentors. I actively follow education opportunities.

Lately there have been a lot online, and I have enthusiastically been applying to take part in such programmes.

I learned about EPALE while attending events organised by the Foundation Tempus. I joined the platform a few years ago. So far, I have published various blogs on many different topics. In addition to this, I have been using the platform as a way of accessing helpful resources and becoming part of groups, where I comment on and exchange experiences on specific topics. The platform contains news and information on achievements in the field of adult education and contributes to the improvement of the professional work of individuals. I keep up to date with, and take part in, the activities on the platform. My blog posts can be found and read at the following links:

The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic brought with it many changes, including the need to transition from traditional classroom teaching to the virtual space.

This has changed the way in which students, parents and colleagues work and communicate, and it has compelled me to engage more in online communication. I discussed this in my latest blog post on the EPALE platform. A different approach to teaching, school activities and evaluation of student achievements has left us all feeling discouraged. Teachers and educators have been faced with the highly demanding task of adapting to, and transferring from, classrooms to digital channels in a short space of time. As a school counsellor, I wanted to be able to provide adequate support for them. In addition to support with the ICT knowledge and digital skills necessary for organising online classes, I also offered additional forms of support via online channels, in the form of webinars, video conferences, online meetings and shared videos which I created specifically for this purpose. I have also worked on improving my knowledge in the area of creating video material and using suitable software. Among the topics that may not have seemed urgent and necessary at the time, were some that I found to be very important and which I sought to work on.

These include:

  • Working from home – characteristics, spatial organisation, time management, stress management, achieving a balance between work and personal life;
  • Online communication – characteristics, specific traits, misconceptions;
  • Feedback – constructive feedback as an important part of the learning process, etc.

Topics that are not directly related to teaching and remote teaching have greatly helped to motivate teachers.

Teachers are faced with the huge challenge and expectation of adapting to new ways of work.

Many can feel discouraged and so focusing on teachers as individuals and providing individual support for stress management, as well as assuring them that mistakes and failures are normal and can serve as useful learning opportunities can help to boost their self-confidence. As part of my career advice and counselling, I took part in a webinar organised as part of a programme. I believe that the entire concept of going digital is starting to become more widely accepted and more of its advantages are becoming apparent. Another of my valuable experiences relates to volunteer work.

Volunteer work is an opportunity for me to gain experience and to make a contribution to the scientific community.

I offered to hold experience workshops on relaxation techniques, which are considered to be of great use during the pandemic. I would like to encourage all educators to persevere and to see all of this as an opportunity to improve and develop their skills. Dealing with change (and there will most likely be more of it to come) is undoubtedly a great skill for the future. By leading by example, we can guide and encourage others to invest and believe in themselves, and to have a positive outlook on life.

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