My teaching career has been a long one. It started right after graduation from the English Philology in the times of cassette tapes, record players and the first photocopiers. I followed a very traditional path.

After many ups and downs, one of the most exciting adventures was the discovery of the digital tools, and techniques of teaching based on the new media. I opened the large “lego box”, called the Internet, where you could find all that you needed – starting with interesting teaching materials, through useful applications and tutorials, and ending with research papers on innovative forms of teaching. I got so inspired that I embarked on post-graduate studies on distant modes of teaching and did a bunch of courses on e-learning course design and the use of technology in a language classroom.

I decided to follow Mark Twain’s advice:

“So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

I started to experiment with the new tools, sometimes torturing my students with my clumsiness, sometimes making them happy. I need time to do things in class well – with comfort, confidence and to a good effect. I observed other teachers, copied their good practices and started to attend conferences more frequently.

Turning point

The appearance of Moodle at my university was a turning point in my career. Moodle does not sound very inspiring. More like a heavy tool, not very intuitive, not always loved students or teachers. But it for me it was a breakthrough. It meant a new way of thinking, communicating with my students and keeping my work well-organized. Just like any other tool, if you use is skillfully, it can turn out to be very useful. And when you combine it with the expertise in teaching you have, it can accelerate the development of your students and boost their satisfaction more than you could expect.

Take off

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo DaVinci

The corses on designing Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange Projects (EVE Projects) for university students made me feel like flying. The moment I heard that EVOLVE and UNICollaboration organized workshops for teachers to let them engage their students in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) I new that was it. That was something I wanted to to – let my students travel without crossing borders, let them meet strangers when staying at home, let them use the language to learn about other people, other cultures and about themselves. I did all the courses that were on offer. Sometimes twice – in order not to miss anything. I was ready to take off.

Implementing my first Virtual Exchange (VE) in 2019 with my colleague and friend, Judit Hahn, form Jyväskylä University in Finland was like reaching the sky, like flying without wings. I knew I will always be teaching “with my eyes turned skyward” – which for me was letting my students look at themselves and their own learning from above, from a new perspective.


“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” – Socrates

From that moment on I have been implementing new VE projects regularly – two are coming this spring. l will never forget how useful were the skills I gained during the workshops on VE design and implementation, and how much they helped me to go through the crisis of transitioning to online teaching at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you EVOLVE and UNICollaboration!

Inspiration for others

Having completed all the studies and courses on new modes of teaching, I started to realize that it is not enough to learn new things and just keep them for myself. I decided to share my new skills and insights during workshops organized for other teachers at my uni. I was overwhelmed with joy whenever I found anybody willing to listen to me or to test their skills under my guidance. There have never been crowds, but I take pride in having inspired a few individuals who found the courage to change something about their teaching. Thanks to them I found the true beauty of teaching: the realization that teaching is sharing.

How did it start?