The teacher who implemented the culture of success in the classroom. “Ma'am, Daddy Said He Loves Me More”

Carmen Muntenita teaches according to the needs of her students, patiently builds their confidence, but also their well-being and teaches them that mistakes are something natural, provided they learn from them. He encourages them to never drop out of school, because it is their chance to escape poverty.

The teacher teaches adapted, depending on the students' learning ability PHOTO personal archive

Carmen Muntenita, teacher and principal at the “Ene Patriciu” Secondary School in Smulți commune, Galați county, has a 24-year career in education and stood out for the results she achieved in class with her students.

She wanted to become a teacher since she was in the second grade thanks to the teacher who taught them then and who had the merit of knowing how to get very close to his students. He graduated from the Teach for Romania Academy, an organization that sends teachers to disadvantaged areas of Romania, and implemented in the classroom what is called the culture of success.

Basically, it models the students' behaviors and created a framework of safety, starting from the students' needs, their well-being, the confidence built, but also the rules they follow to succeed together.

It cultivates students' self-confidence, perseverance, the fact that everyone has the potential to excel in a certain direction, that it is natural to make mistakes and from mistakes they learn.

“At first they were very timid. They were afraid to speak lest they give the wrong answer and be scolded. Now I smile when I'm wrong,” the teacher explained to “Adevărul” the change that occurred in her students.

The need for affection

Carmen Muntenita teaches them to accept each other, especially those who assimilate the subject faster than their colleagues. It was also a lesson about patience, because the little ones learned to wait for their classmates to finish their lessons, but also a lesson about empathy, because during breaks they help each other, no matter what they are doing.

“The better kids explain to others, but modestly. It's something that now comes naturally to them,” says the teacher. The students in her class first of all need affection, but also to feel seen and heard.

Their parents work day jobs for the most part and are primarily concerned with earning money to put something on the table at the end of the day. That is precisely why they don't have much time to do lessons with their own children or play with them.

I encourage them to say what they think and feelwithout any criticism or judgment,” Carmen Muntenita reveals the method by which she makes the children open their souls, but also to heal the possible traumas they have suffered.

Some of his students don't leave the classroom until they hold her. It's their way of saying thank you, but also of feeling loved.

The secret to success in the classroom

Carmen Muntenita adapted her teaching methods to each student and started from the problems she encounters at home. A child who was at the level of the preparatory class had great difficulty in remembering the letters. Today he learns them, and by the next day he forgets them.

He did additional training with him, and now his student is able to write words of three or four letters. That's huge progress at that level, considering he lives in a two-room house with his three siblings, a cousin, his mentally challenged mother, his grandmother, and his great-grandmother, none of whom earn any income.

“I can't ask for more because that's his limit, but instead he's a very good draftsman.” foreshadows the teacher a potential field where this child so tested by life can excel.

Carmen Muntenita instills in her students the love for school PHOTO personal archive

Carmen Muntenita instills in her students the love for school PHOTO personal archive

Another student in her class, a little girl, knew the letters but couldn't connect them into words. The teacher also found out why. Her father felt that he could do no more and never missed an opportunity to tell her so.

With a lot of work, patience and encouragement, Carmen Muntenita managed to teach the student to write three- and four-letter words, and now the little girl borrows books from the school library, eager to read everything she can get her hands on.

“One day he came to school and told me <>”, it is the moment of spiritual joy that the teacher experienced.

The word cloud

The teacher stimulates his students to be creative, lets them come up with ideas for activities, arouses their curiosity and urges them to search for information about what interests them. Always look for attractive ways of presenting information and interesting games that include didactic elements.

Children are fond of WordArt, a game where they enter words on a certain theme and the shape in which they are to be placed, and in the end a suggestive drawing comes out. The students tell him “word cloud”. Another method of teaching through play is “brainstorming”which consists in gathering the ideas that the students have on a certain subject in a “bunches” at the beginning of each lesson.

The teacher uses elements from nature in teaching PHOTO personal archive

The teacher uses elements from nature in teaching PHOTO personal archive

“The Quintet” and “dials” are other methods of teaching some knowledge with the help of children. He recently showed a student their town on Google Maps and explained how he can see the streets in the town. Since then, every day he asks her to open the app so he can explore various places from anywhere in the world.

Carmen Muntenita uses relaxing music in her classes, and her students like it so much that now they search the classroom laptop and play the music they like. In class he also has a “the island” relaxation area, a corner where children play puzzles or books during breaks between lessons.

Very important for his students is also “exit ticket”, an album in which the children write almost daily how they felt and what they remembered in class, but also what they would like to do in the future.

The director without an office

Carmen Muntenita has been the director of the school where she teaches for 16 years and the secret of her success is that she managed to create harmony in the chancellery, especially since there are teachers who commute from Galați, the county seat being 76 kilometers from Smulți, which which means a trip of three hours a day.

“When I came to the school, I was welcomed and seen as an intruder. That is precisely why we wanted the teachers who come to teach at our school to feel at home and want to come back here.” confesses the teacher.

Another thing worth noting is that the headmistress does not have an office. She prefers to sit next to her colleagues in the chancellery to communicate better with them, and the room where her old office used to be has been turned into a storeroom.

Carmen Muntenita abolished the principal's office in the school PHOTO personal archive

Carmen Muntenita abolished the principal's office in the school PHOTO personal archive

Since he has been headmaster, the school has been rehabilitated and expanded with a building, where the library also functions. A few years ago, she had to take over the leadership of an 8th grade class, after the parents revolted and the head teacher had to leave.

She did counseling with the students, and out of 14 children, 10 then graduated from high school, although half of them did not take kindly to her insistence on continuing their studies. He also brought former students to the school who told them about their own experiences in high school, and that motivated them to go further.

What I want for my students is to have confidence in themselves. Because if they feel that they can rely on their own strength, even if they didn't acquire the necessary knowledge in 8 years of school, they will later on.” it is the quality that Carmen Muntenita most wants to develop in her students.