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  • Writer's pictureKristina Lang

Interview with math teacher Lidija Lončar/Interviju sa učiteljicom matematike Lidijom Lončar

Lidija Lončar

My friend from elementary school, Lidija Lončar, works in an Elementary school as a mathematics teacher. I have known Lidija since my early childhood and I have always loved and respected her. Lidija is not only responsible, smart, and advanced in everything, but also a good and loyal friend. Considering that we are both perfectionists with the desire to be the best in what we do, there was some healthy competition between us during elementary and high school. That kind of positive competition brings out the best in people and encourages development. Since I still feel admiration for my Lidija, I asked her for a conversation that I want to share with my friends.

1) You were a great student with excellent grades in all subjects. Why did you choose to study mathematics? I have always thought that mathematics is the most difficult study. Do you agree? How much of a challenge was it to study mathematics? If you could choose again, would you choose mathematics?

Even though I learned the contents of all school subjects equally easily, solving math problems was the only thing that kept me so busy that I lost track of time. Even today, I like to "catch up" with a more demanding task for fun, like someone else reading a good book for pleasure.

My mother likes to remind me of how already in the first grade of elementary school I said that I would study mathematics. I don't remember it, but as you said in the introduction, there was a desire to be the best at something that most other people find difficult. And the study of mathematics is really difficult, perhaps the most difficult of all studies in our country. However, if I were to go back to my youth, I think I would choose the same again.

2) Why did you choose to work as a mathematics teacher in an elementary school? With the degree of an engineer and Master of Mathematics, you could do math wherever you wanted.

In the beginning, it was by no means my choice, but only a temporary solution so that I would not be unemployed and become independent as soon as possible. At that time, there was a war in our country, not many young, inexperienced engineers were employed, and I wanted to come from my hometown to Zagreb. My husband was still studying at the time, we had no income, and working at school seemed like a good start. Later when I applied for a trainee position in the industry, I was told that I had more than a year of experience and could not be a trainee.

Over time, I came to like working at the school and decided to stay there. I don't regret it today because I'm not sure that long-term computer work would suit me.

3) Mathematics teachers are usually known as strict in all schools and over all generations. Why is that so? What did you think of your mathematics teacher, and did she/he influence you to pursue this career?

You surely remember some of our teachers and professors of mathematics. Most of them were not strict, and they changed so often in elementary school that they hardly left a significant mark on me. Except maybe one who was known to be strict, but I liked his way of working and I learned a lot from him.

I think that with the rigor of a mathematician is more myth than truth. Learning mathematics requires not only developed abilities to understand mathematical content, but also a lot of attention in class and continuous work at home. If students are required to study regularly, some of them perceive it as strictness.

4) What do you think your students think about you?

I try to be fair and dedicated in my work, and I think that most of the students see and appreciate that, but, of course, there are also those who think that I am asking too much of them.

5) In England, there are much fewer marks, tests, and grades in Primary school, which ends at the age of 11. Only at the end of secondary school, at age 16, do they have the big important GCSE exams. When does student assessment start in Croatia? Do you think grading is important and why?

In Croatia, assessment begins in the second semester of the 1st grade (age 7). The new generations have more and more children who are emotionally unprepared for school, so perhaps the assessment could start even later.

Over the years, it has become more and more clear to me that grades are not always an indicator of knowledge and should not be the main motive why students learn. Unfortunately, for most of our students, it is only important to get a good grade, but not the knowledge that should stand behind it. This is the result of misplaced priorities throughout our society. As long as the knowledge that will be the main condition for advancement is not valued, grades will be in the centre of attention of students and parents.

6) What motivates you in working with children? What do you find pleasure in, and what is a challenge?

There are many pleasures in working with children, but also more and more challenges. It makes me happy when I see their curiosity and desire to learn some new skills, when I see smiles on their faces and warmth in their eyes. I like working with children, I look forward to their successes, but I'm also sad when they fail.

I think the biggest challenge today is how to keep students' attention for longer than 15 minutes, because without attention there is no learning.

7) You have one daughter who followed your path and studied and received her master's degree in mathematics. You must have cleverly played not only your role as a mother but also a professional role model for your daughter. What professional path did your daughter choose after completing her master's degree?

I tried not to direct Jelena in her choice of profession, but I realized that it is not so important what we say but how we behave. Children learn the most from our behaviour.

She got a job in industry, is a successful computer engineer and is progressing quickly. I am proud of her achievements and I am glad that she enjoys socializing and traveling in addition to her work.

8) How does your husband, a civil engineer deal with two mathematicians in the immediate family? Do you share daily challenges with your husband?

Although he is not a mathematician by profession, he uses a lot of mathematics and physics in his work, so he fits perfectly into the whole picture. As for daily challenges, only recently is he learning to participate more in boring household chores. He doesn't like cooking, but that's why he does small repairs that he used to leave to craftsmen.

9) How much did your parents influence you on your life path? Did they have an influence on your choice of profession?

My parents gave me the freedom to choose what I want to do in life. They had confidence in me and always supported me.

10) What do you want to say to parents who have children in elementary school? What is a good and responsible parent for you, what kind of upbringing do you consider advanced and positive?

I think it's harder for parents today than ever before. Many of them are not ready for the role that nature and modern society have intended for them.

A responsible parent must find a good balance between their ambitions and their child's abilities. In order for children to become independent, parents must not carry out their duties for them, but they must also guide and help children if the need arises.

There is no recipe that can be applied universally, because children differ greatly in their abilities, occupations and ambitions. To begin with, a parent needs to get to know their child as well as possible in order to be able to help them.


Saturday, April 8th, 2023

Interviju sa učiteljicom matematike Lidijom Lončar

Lidija Lončar

Moja prijateljica iz osnovne škole Lidija Lončar radi u Osnovnoj školi kao učiteljica metematike. Lidiju znam iz ranih djetinjih dana i oduvjek sam ju voljela i imala poštovanje prema njoj. Lidija je ne samo odgovorna, pametna i po svemu napredna nego i dobar i odan prijatelj. Obzirom da smo obije perfekcionisti sa željom da budemo najbolje u onome što radimo bilo je i neke zdrave konkurencije između nas u vrijeme iz osnovne i srednje škole. Ta vrsta pozitivnog natjecanja budi najbolje u ljudima i potiče na razvoj. Obzirom da i danas osjećam divljenje prema mojoj Lidiji zamolila sam ju za razgovor koji želim podijeliti sa svojim prijateljima.

1) Bila si odlikaš sa odličnim ocjenama iz svih predmeta. Zasto si odabrala studiji matematike? Oduvijek sam smatrala da je matematika najteži studiji. Slažeš li se sa mnom, odnosno koliko je veliki izazov bio studirati matematiku? Da možeš ponovo birati, dali bi opet izabrala matematiku?

Iako sam podjednako lako usvajala sadržaje svih školskih predmeta, jedino me rješavanje matematičkih zadataka znalo toliko zaokupiti da bih izgubila pojam o vremenu. Čak se i danas volim “dohvatiti” zahtjevnijeg zadatka za zabavu, kao što netko drugi iz zadovoljstva čita dobru knjigu.

Moja majka zna reći da sam već u prvom razredu osnovne škole govorila kako ću studirati matematiku. Ne sjećam se toga, ali kao što si u uvodu rekla, postojala je želja da budem najbolja u nečem što je većini drugih ljudi teško. A studij matematike je zaista težak, možda i najteži od svih studija kod nas. Ipak, kad bih se vratila u mladost, mislim da bih opet odabrala isto.

2) Zašto si izabrala rad učiteljice matematike u osnovnoj školi? Sa završenim studijem inžinjera, odnosno magistra matematike mogla si raditi gdje god si htjela.

U početku to nikako nije bio moj odabir već samo privremeno rješenje kako ne bih bila nezaposlena i kako bih čim prije postala samostalna. U to je vrijeme bio rat u našoj zemlji, nije se puno zapošljavalo mladih neiskusnih inženjera, a željela sam doći iz svog rodnog mjesta u Zagreb. Moj je suprug tada još uvijek studirao, bili smo bez primanja i rad u školi mi se učinio kao dobar početak. Kasnije kad sam se natjecala za mjesto pripravnika u industriji, rekli su mi da imam više od godine dana iskustva i ne mogu biti pripravnik.

S vremenom sam zavoljela rad u školi i odlučila tu ostati. Danas mi nije žao jer nisam sigurna da bi mi odgovarao dugotrajni rad na računalu.

3) Obično su učitelji iz matematike slovili kao strogi u svim školama i duž svih generacija. Zašto je to tako? Šta si mislila o svojim učiteljima matematike i dali su oni utjecali na tvoj izbor profesije?

Sigurno se sjećaš nekih naših učitelja i profesora matematike. Većina ih nisu bili strogi, a toliko ih se izmijenilo u osnovnoj školi da su teško ostavili značajan trag na mene. Osim možda jednog koji je slovio kao strog, ali meni se sviđao njegov način rada i od njega sam puno naučila.

Mislim da je to sa strogošću matematičara više mit nego istina. Učenje matematike zahtijeva ne samo razvijene sposobnosti za razumijevanje matematičkih sadržaja već i puno pažnje na satu te kontinuirani rad kod kuće. Ako se od učenika zahtjeva redovitost učenja, dio njih to doživljava kao strogost.

4) Što misliš da tvoji đaci kažu za tebe?

Pokušavam biti pravedna i predana u svom radu i mislim da veći dio učenika to uviđa i cijeni, ali, naravno, postoje i oni koji misle da previše od njih tražim.

5) U Engleskoj ima puno manje ocjenjivanja u osnovnoj školi koja završava sa 11 godina. Tek krajem srednje škole koja završava sa 16 godina imaju velike ispite GCSE. Kad počinje ocjenjivanje učenika u Hrvatskoj? Dali misliš da je ocjenjivanje bitno i zašto?

U Hrvatskoj ocjenjivanje počinje u drugom polugodištu 1. razreda. Nove generacije imaju sve više djece emocionalno nespremne za školu pa bi možda ocjenjivanje moglo krenuti i kasnije.

S godinama mi je sve jasnije da ocjene nisu uvijek pokazatelj znanja i ne bi smjele biti glavni motiv zašto učenici uče. Na žalost, kod nas je većini učenika važno samo dobiti dobru ocjenu, ali ne i znanje koje iza nje treba stajati. To je posljedica pogrešno postavljenih prioriteta u cijelom našem društvu. Sve dok se ne počne cijeniti znanje koje će biti glavni uvjet za napredovanje, ocjene će biti u centru pozornosti učenika i roditelja.

6) Što te motivira u radu sa djecom? U čemu nalaziš zadovoljstvo, a u čemu izazov?

Zadovoljstava u radu s djecom ima jako puno, ali i sve više izazova. Veseli me kad kod njih vidim radoznalost i želju da nauče neke nove vještine, kad vidim osmjeh na njihovim licima i toplinu u očima. Volim raditi s djecom, veselim se njihovim uspjesima, ali sam i tužna kad dožive neuspjeh.

Mislim da je najveći izazov danas kako kod učenika zadržati pažnju dulje od 15 minuta jer bez pažnje nema ni učenja.

7) Imaš jednu kćer koja je krenula tvojim putem i studirala je i magistrirala matematiku. Mora da si pametno odigrala ne samo svoju ulogu majke već si svojoj kćeri bila i profesionalni uzor. Koji je profesionalni put odabrala tvoja kćer nakon završenog magisterija?

Pokušala sam ne usmjeravati Jelenu u njezinom odabiru zvanja, ali shvatila sam da nije toliko važno što govorimo već kako se ponašamo. Iz našeg ponašanja djeca najviše uče.

Ona se zaposlila u industriji, uspješan je računalni inženjer i brzo napreduje. Ponosna sam na njezina postignuća i drago mi je da uz rad uživa u druženjima i putovanjima.

8) Kako se tvoj suprug po zanimanju inžinjer građevinarstva nosi sa dvije matematičarke u najužoj obitelji? Dijeliš li sa suprugom dnevne izazove?

Iako nije matematičar po zanimanju, u svom radu koristi puno matematike i fizike pa se odlično uklapa u cijelu sliku. Što se tiče dnevnih izazova, tek u posljednje vrijeme se uči više participirati u dosadnim kućanskim poslovima. Kuhanje mu ne ide od ruke, ali zato obavlja sitne popravke koje je nekada prepuštao majstorima.

9) Koliko su tvoji roditelji utjecali na tebe na tvom životnom putu? Dali su oni imali utjecaja na tvoj izbor zanimanja?

Roditelji su mi dali slobodu da sama odaberem što u životu želim raditi. Imali su povjerenje u mene i uvijek su mi bili podrška.

10) Što želiš poručiti roditeljima koji imaju djecu u Osnovnoj školi? Što je za tebe dobar i odgovoran roditelj, kakav odgoj smatraš naprednim i pozitivnim?

Mislim da je današnjim roditeljima teže nego ikada prije. Mnogi od njih nisu spremni za ulogu koju su im priroda i moderno društvo namijenili.

Odgovoran roditelj mora pronaći dobru mjeru između svojih ambicija i djetetovih sposobnosti. Da bi djeca postala samostalna ne smiju roditelji umjesto njih izvršavati njihove obaveze, a opet trebaju djecu usmjeravati i pomagati im ako se za to ukaže potreba.

Ne postoji recept koji se može primijeniti univerzalno jer se djeca jeko razlikuju po svojim sposobnostima, zanimanjima i ambicioznosti. Za početak roditelj treba što bolje upoznati svoje dijete kako bi mu mogao pomoći.


Subota, 8. travnja 2023.

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