Teacher Feature Blog Series – Ivana Kovacevic

We all remember a teacher who inspired us. An individual who has always believed in us, supported us through challenges, sparked our passion for a topic, or inspired us to keep going when we were discouraged. For me, I was fortunate enough to have many teachers who shaped my academic career and passion for education. In addition to being teachers, these individuals served as mentors, nurses, counselors, parents, friends, and ultimately, role models.

Teacher Feature, a new blog series by The School Planner Company, will highlight educators from all over the country. These teachers and education entrepreneurs make an impact in and outside of the classroom sharing valuable knowledge with students and fellow teachers through influential sites and blogs. We are excited to launch the Teacher Feature blog series and bring awareness to how much teachers do each day, the relationships they foster with their students, and ultimately, how we as a community can best support them. Look forward to new teacher features regularly!

If you know an amazing educator who you think we should feature, please let us know by emailing bmctigue@mimeo.com.

Ivana Kovacevic, Heart of Learning

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I hold great passion in inspiring others and encouraging them to acknowledge and shine light on their hidden abilities and strengths. From a young age, I found myself constantly and subconsciously taking on roles related to guidance, counseling, mentoring, and training. Meeting new people and learning from one another each day is also an aspect of private teaching and tutoring that I truly appreciate.

Tell us one of your most memorable moments of your teaching career?

The very first thought that came to mind was an instance with a student of mine while teaching in Kiyosato, Japan. During a 2-week Intensive English Language Program, we had spent every day together in classes, workshops, and social events. Growing closer, she would continuously express her gratitude to me and approached me on the day of my departure with a personalized gift. She had handcrafted a map of Tokyo for me to refer to when visiting the city over the next few days. Within it, there were her drawings of monuments, landmarks, subway stations, and other recommended places to visit, all written in Japanese with an English translation. This was one of the most heartfelt moments I have ever experienced and will always remember as an educator. It made me feel so special to know how much of a difference I had made in her life.

What do you hope your students take away from your classroom?

I hope they continue to believe in themselves above all else. Regardless of concepts and skills (academically speaking), the fundamental truth is that we must truthfully emit confidence in every aspect of life. This is what drives our goals, what maintains our work ethic, what encourages us to make mistakes and move on from them, what pushes us to take risks and try new things, what helps us meet new people and exchange knowledge with them, and so much more.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new teacher?

I would advise new teachers to always be open to constructive criticism and to remain reflexive at all costs. This will incredibly improve their teaching techniques and their relationships with students because they will develop a heightened awareness of what works and what doesn’t along with how to adapt to various obstacles. In order to grow and learn, they must be open to feedback, just as they would expect their students to be. I would tell them, “Try to assess yourself in different ways and ask for anonymous evaluations from your students every so often too.”

What is the value of students writing by hand versus digital only?

Writing by hand allows for experiential learning, particularly for opportunities to learn from their mistakes. Digital writing/typing, aside from its benefits, does not give students the chance to remember spelling and grammatical errors. Spell-check and secondary editing programs are generally implemented within most e-writing services, immediately correcting one’s mistakes, discouraging them from both noticing them on their own, understanding why they are incorrect, and then correcting them independently for memory retention and mindfulness purposes.

If you could design your ideal teacher planner, what three things would you be sure it includes?

I would definitely include a ‘priority” section for teachers to list their weekly tasks based on factors of importance and deadline. I would also add an industry-relevant affirmation quote at the top of each page as well as a journaling space for teachers to jot down their accomplishments each week.

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Ivana Kovacevic

Heart of Learning

I am a certified English teacher by profession, having completed all my schooling at York University in Toronto, Canada. I earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology, completed two ESL teaching certifications, a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Public Policy, and a Diploma in Languages & Literacy. Over the past 7 years, I have accumulated experience in various contexts, being fortunate enough to teach large groups of adult learners abroad in both Cuba and Japan. I have volunteered at a childcare centre, co-taught at a secondary school, an English Language Institute, and a career college where I was also head of the Academic Department. Providing after-school support to my younger students has enabled me to become increasingly familiar with the curriculum of prestigious private institutions across Toronto. My interest in tutoring stemmed from my experiences working for two major agencies. As the Founder of Heart of Learning, my goal is to now incorporate this knowledge and expertise in efforts to provide a unique, enjoyable, and memorable education to all my students. As my full-time role, I now provide 1 on 1 and group tutoring as well as homeschooling services to students virtually and in-person. I also create and sell educational resources on Teachers Pay Teachers to assist teachers’ lesson planning processes. Soon, I will be launching an extensive, multimodal online ESL course! As a side project, I create educational content on my Instagram page to further support those in need through 30+ live storybook readings, monthly giveaways, live interviews with other teachers, and more!

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