Meet our teachers: Yakov Spiridonov from Yakutia
14 October 2020, Wednesday

Today, in honor of Teacher's Day, we'd like to introduce you to Yakov Spiridonov. He's a true professional and a participant in BeginIT, our social and educational program. He works as a computer science teacher in the A. I. Sofronova Ytyk-Kuelskaya School in the Tattinsky settlement. Joining the project last year, Yakov has seen his students make good progress because they like to study so much. In our interview, he tells us about himself and his experience, and shares his thoughts on the secrets to teaching.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Yakov, and I'm 29 years old. I've been working as a computer science teacher since 2012. I'm married and have a daughter.

How did you do in school when you were a student?

I started the fifth grade right after elementary school. And since my birthday is in December, I skipped the fourth grade and finished school at 16.
I was a 'B' student. I had troubles with humanities, but I liked mathematics, physical education, geography, and, of course, computer science.

Please share a highlight from your school days.

Every year, starting in the fifth grade, I participated in the Academic Olympics and kept losing to two guys from another school. Finally, I managed to take first place in the seventh grade!

When and how did you decide to become a teacher?

When? Somewhere in my second year at university, when I was doing an internship at a school.
How? It may sound clichéd, but I wanted to 'plant the seeds of wisdom and kindness'. But, all joking aside, I honestly saw my profession as something noble, one of society's most important and necessary jobs.

What personal qualities does a teacher need?

The ability to engage and a personal approach.

What's the #1 rule for teachers?

When explaining the material, be clear and engaging.

Is it easy being a teacher? What difficulties do you encounter in your work?

It's neither easy nor difficult. When all the students in the class listen to what you, the teacher, are saying right until the very end of the lesson, you know you've done a good job.
I always tried to stay close with my students. I was only 21 when I started teaching, and the eleventh-grade students were already 17-18 years old. You see, the age difference is relatively small, and it was clear that if I simply followed a lesson plan, they wouldn't pay attention. So I tried to find the right approach.

What does your day look like? What are your responsibilities?

I start the day by getting ready for class. I arrive 15 to 20 minutes early, turn on the computers, and get the course materials ready. Then I teach the class. It may sound dull, but each day and each class are so different. Even the children's reactions can be different and entirely unexpected sometimes.
We have even more interesting extracurricular activities in the afternoon for kids who love programming. They study 3D modeling, coding, and robotics.

What's your motivation at work?

The sense of importance and significance of my work for society, the recognition.

What's the right way to motivate a student?

  • You can involve students in the educational process using the 'Study + Entertainment' methodology. Here's how it works.
  • Learning through engagement. Don't force the students, don't pressure them. The teacher engages the student with games, interesting assignments, illustrations, and media.
  • Learning through action. The teacher encourages students to do somethings on their own, to try things, and to conduct experiments.
  • The focus is on modern tools. The teacher should use modern technologies, gadgets, apps, and websites.

Why do you think IT is so important for the younger generation?

Information technology is here to stay. The younger generation can hardly imagine life without computers, cell phones, laptops, tablets, social media, and so on. Kids are using the internet before they even learn to read. They decide which website to visit, what to read or watch, who to talk to. Today, almost all books are available online, and the attendance sheet has gone online. Even the queues at Sberbank have become e-queues. IT makes our lives easier and better.

What do you think of the BeginIT project?

I think the project is very useful, the games always get the kids engaged, and the same goes for the lessons that take place in game form. It's always interesting. And if the kids are interested and like it, it's a great way to learn.

What are your plans for the future?

I always try to draw children to the IT industry, participate in projects, competitions, hackathons, visit IT companies, and other things. We plan to keep this up in the future.

What advice can you give future teachers and students?

You can only be productive when you love what you do. Try to find what sparks joy for you. No need to follow the road suggested by a friend or relative; it could be a dead-end for you.

What do you want to say to your colleagues and fellow project participants?

Plant the seeds of wisdom and kindness! No joking this time.

Congratulations to Yakov on Teacher's Day, and best of luck!

You can find other articles in this section here:
Sonia Camacho from Colombia.
Cecilia Yvette Rivera from Mexico.