Message from the President
When I heard the phrase, “those who love what they do, do not work a day”, I found myself immediately connected to this expression. Now, I wake up every morning in our cottage in the woods with a thought of gratitude at the beginning of every new day. The daily road to school is marked by the desire to get there as soon as possible and to be there, present, next door to my colleagues, with whom we share a passion for education.
For the last 30 years, I have asked myself countless questions, such as: what does it take to make children happy in school? How can we, as teachers, teach them more than just a subject? What do we do when we no longer have energy and feel that the days are long and hard? Why is the job of a teacher one of the most fascinating crafts in the world and how can we project that important realization to others?
These years have led me to great depths within myself and my colleagues, and I have come to understand that, today, more than ever, we can advise the teachers to appreciate the present moment and to be understanding and benevolent to themselves. This is for them and the well-being of their students. When we teachers are satisfied, balanced, and relaxed, we have the tools to take on our daily challenges more easily and can be present for our students. A happy teacher has an impact on each student, both the way they learn and how they grow and develop.
I believe that success in education nowadays is about finding one’s identity and discovering their purpose in life. Curiosity keeps the mind open, and compassion holds the heart. It is having the courage to accept the challenges and to mobilize our emotional resources to move on to action.
President and Founder of Transylvania College Foundation
Founder of Happy Teachers for Romania; Author of The Teacher Within
In 2021, we learned together!
We ended this year under the sign of gratitude, that often invisible but healing and fulfilling emotion. Gratitude is the feeling of expressing appreciation for what we have. It is the act of contentment and focusing on the good in our lives. Our thoughts of gratitude go out to all those who have supported us this year to grow, develop and dare to look forward with confidence and courage.
Regarding our work, we briefly present to you some milestones that make us grateful for the year that is coming to an end.
National training “Teacher’s well-being”
The training program “Teacher’s well-being”, carried out with the support of the companies Herlitz Romania, Pelikan Romania, and Azomures reached 1,140 teachers from fourteen counties in the country. By using mindfulness practices and the resilience acquired in the course, teachers will be able to create a context in which they are protected from the risk of physical and emotional exhaustion, having at hand the necessary tools for gentle teaching and communication based on empathy and compassion.
The program continues! At the beginning of next year, we will announce the next training session.
In January, for ten days, we invited you to allocate one minute for media per day, guided by Simona Baciu, the founder of the Happy Teachers for Romania program. We wanted this introspective guide to help you enter your classroom with a positive attitude, empathy, and compassion, so that you can pay attention to the needs of your students, and to be by their side when they need your support and understanding.
In February, we organized the second edition of Teacher’s Well-Being Month, a program through which we promote the benefits of teachers’ well-being, in the classroom and beyond.
Our initiative was joined by the Finnish Teacher Training Centre in Sibiu and ten other private schools around the country, who helped us organize a series of online activities dedicated to teachers. This was meant to provide them with the necessary support so that they feel encouraged in their role as creators of education and can pass on to their students joy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude.
In the Month of Teacher Wellbeing, we launched the Happy Teachers for Romania Podcast, which was created out of the desire to support teachers and all those who wanted to practice their profession with gentleness and compassion. What can we do to feel better, overcome stress, anxiety, and restlessness, accept and value ourselves more? How can we create a pleasant atmosphere in the classroom, conveying positive thoughts to our students that will make them gladly participate in our classes? What does it take to be a happy teacher? The answers to these questions were found in the collection of Well-Being Conversations, which discussed the challenge of being a teacher in these difficult times.
Within the Podcast “Happy Teachers for Romania”, we launched a series of six episodes supported by the Farmec company, the largest manufacturer of cosmetics in Romania. Our partners have supported us in cultivating the mental, emotional, and also physical well-being of our community members and we are grateful to them for their support. Among the guests were Adrian Hădean, Daciana Sârbu, Amalia Sterescu, Gilda Scarfe, Oana Moşoiu and Lilia Dicu.
Our live meetings, on Facebook, had a new format, in which Gabriela Secoșan, the director of the training program “Happy Teachers for Romania”, discussed with her guests how we can reach the State of Well-being and what is its importance, from various perspectives. Each month is dedicated to a certain topic.
Emotional Health Week
The last week of May was dedicated to emotional health in the classroom and generated a real movement for Well-Being among teachers across the country. Over 30,000 teachers and children enjoyed creative activities, discussions and games. This “different week” can be adapted according to the wishes and needs of each class and put into practice at any time, thus, bringing more joy, enthusiasm and connection between the children and their teachers. Each day of Emotional Health Week has a certain theme and a challenge that children and teachers have to fulfill. Therefore, students and preschoolers had the opportunity to recognize, control and value their emotions for constructive purposes and this became beneficial to their emotional development.
D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read)
During the summer holidays, teachers in our community relaunched a concept dedicated to reading, entitled D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read). Reading is an enjoyable, useful, short and long-term activity that stimulates critical thinking and develops vocabulary. In order to attract students to read, we need to make this experience fun, relaxing, and enjoyable and to present their books in a positive light. Through this project, the joy of reading has reached schools across the country.
Happy Teachers Calendar
The new school year came with a lot of plans and opportunities to achieve great things with our students. In this spirit, we have launched a school calendar, created especially for your class! Made in the form of a planner, it can be glued to the wall, it has spaces to be completed with holidays, celebrations, excursions, tests, and so on. Not only this, but any other event that you want to mark with the students as well.
We are extremely grateful that, on November 6th, over 3,000 teachers joined our initiative to bring about greater understanding of the importance of well-being and the role it plays in the classroom!
Our team has dreamed of this event for a long time and we are glad that, finally, the dream has come true, turning this goal into the Education for Well-Being Conference.
What can we do? What’s up to us? Where to start?
These were the questions to which we wanted to offer you practical answers and make it easy to transfer to your teaching activities We have invited people who want to be of genuine support for teachers and students and who have been eager to share with you their experience and advice and, in turn, to listen to your experiences and advice.
By learning from each other we grow harmoniously together.
The first study targeting the emotional health of teachers in Romania was carried out between March and May of 2021, at the initiative of the Happy Teachers for Romania program – an initiative supported by the Transylvania College Foundation in Cluj-Napoca, together with Dr. Gilda Scarfe, psychologist, founder of Positive Ed, in partnership with Merito, SuperTeach, Romanian Business Leaders and the C-EDU Education Cluster.
The results of the study, predicted at the Education for Wellbeing conference, show that the mental health of teachers is moderate. It was found that 35% of teachers in Romania feel alone and over 80% of those surveyed reported that they feel their work has no positive effect on their mental health or well-being. The results will be disseminated during conferences, workshops, and events in the field of education.
About Transylvania College Foundation
Transylvania College Foundation is a public utility foundation, founded in 1996, with the purpose of supporting excellent education, both formal and non-formal.
Over the years, Transylvania College Foundation has established private educational institutions, Happy Kids Kindergarten and Transylvania College | The Cambridge International School in Cluj has organized courses and training to improve the educational system, teacher development programs, as well as non-formal education programs, such as the Otherwise School, launching numerous innovative ideas. Thus, the foundation organized after-school programs, mindfulness camps, summer camps, day camps, and robotics camps, which were initiated by financial education programs, ecological education, community involvement, and fundraising programs. All these programs, together with the numerous national and international conferences organized on educational topics and personal and professional trainings, have placed the Transylvania College Foundation among the most famous institutions of public interest.
The first project of Transylvania College Foundation was Happy Kids Kindergarten. Currently, it is known as The Transylvania College School-The Cambridge International School in Cluj, which offers a modern education, at the highest international standards to over 650 students coming from twenty-five countries, from six continents. The educational projects take place on an updated campus, the first green building built for education in Romania, where children learn, play, and discover the world in spacious classrooms with a lot of natural light, built according to the principle of green buildings. In the school students enjoy a multimedia library, an art room, a music hall, a business room and laboratories equipped with the latest technology, as well as a swimming pool dedicated to children aged four months to ten years.