Teacher of the Year: even the math boys drew sketchnotes in my lessons
Photo: Beata Zawrzel / REPORTER
– Young people also need someone to talk to them in the corridor, drink coffee. Someone who also complains about the school reality, just like they do. They just need a conversation. And she became the most important element of my teaching workshop – says Dariusz Martynowicz, Polish teacher from Myślenice, Teacher of the Year 2021.
October 12 at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, when receiving the award for the best teacher, Dariusz Martynowicz said: – My students are the most important for me. I have always believed in a school based on relations, a school based on 21st century competences that develops social relations and creativity. For me, as a Polish philologist, Polish culture is important, but I do not agree to the false oppositions suggested to us: either Polish culture or respect for strange Western principles.
Shortly after receiving the award, he told us why he would like to meet the minister of education, Przemysław Czarnek, and what he teaches high school and high school students, discussing Olga Tokarczuk’s books with them.
Justyna Suchecka: How did it happen that you became a teacher?
Dariusz Martynowicz: It was my dream.
It all started with a Polish teacher in Secondary School No. 4 in Krakow. She was an inspiring person. Demanding, distant, ironic, but at the same time she could be incredibly warm. She would go into class with Bulgakov’s book and a different world was beginning for me.
Then I started to think a lot about how it must be a great job. How many important questions can you ask young people in it? The lesson is supposed to last only 45 minutes, but sometimes the teacher can say something that works with you for years. Maybe even a lifetime. Isn’t that appealing?
And what lesson did you remember?
First of all, what the teacher said about respect. And that it’s important to be brave. I believed her because she showed us such brave literary heroes. People who have failed and learn from them. It was great for me to be able to speak about books in a real-life way. That you can, while reading “Przedwiośnie” by Żeromski, ask yourself important questions in the life of every man; when discussing “Granica” by Zofia Nałkowska, get to know and define one’s ethical and human boundaries, and on the occasion of “Ferdydurke” by Gombrowicz, think about how we want to express ourselves and what influences who and what we are.
Have you liked reading since you were a child?
No, definitely not. It was this teacher who built love for books in me. I know it doesn’t happen that often. We usually talk about how the school kills the love of reading. And I fell in love with books.
Each Polish lesson was an experience. Our teacher showed that she also experienced what she was talking about with her whole self. And when she talks about sadness or difficult life choices, the person looked at her and was just sure that she knew what she was talking about. That this is not another drumming lesson for her.
At that time I read a lot of Jerzy Pilch, Bulgakov, I fell in love with Dostoyevsky, I first came across the prose of Olga Tokarczuk. And there was a lot of poetry: Herbert, priest Twardowski, Świetlicki, Bursa.
Does your father smoke a pipe? Yes, my father smokes the pipe, repeat this sentence, it will open you the dream world When you sit on Broadway in a bar more beautiful than Satan’s eyes, they will ask you reliably if your father smokes a pipe, then you will answer with a smile Yes, my father smokes the pipe You see how wonderful it will be
And then you thought: I’ll pack all these books and experiences, I’ll be like her?
Actually yes. Although, of course, I already knew then that not all teachers are so great. I also met the hopeless ones. And when I entered high school for various lessons, I often thought: oh, this is what I would like to be, I like it. Or on the contrary: I would never do that to my students.
Read without limits
Access this article and other special content. Free