The first training session for participants in the second year of the international project NEST (Novice Educator Support and Training)in Bulgaria  was held on the 3-rd and 4-th of November 2022 in Park – Hotel “Kaylaka” – Pleven.

52 experts from 14 regional inspectorates of education continue their participation during the project’s second year. Each expert supports three novice teachers with up to 5 years of experience in the education system.

The training session in Pleven was the first one held in person since Covid restrictions were lifted. The experts were divided according to subject area and were given the opportunity to actively learn from each other’s experiences. The training session focused on the topics of creating a vision for students growth, lesson planning with the student at the center, effective classroom management, and strategies for providing feedback after classroom visits

 Staff members of Teach for Bulgaria, representatives of the Vratsa Education Inspectorate and university professors guided the experts through the training session.

Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Nelly Koleva, NEST Project Manager and Strategic Partnerships lead at Teach for Bulgaria,  Ms. Remdie Ibriam, Chief Expert at the Directorate of Policies for Strategic Development, Qualification and Career Development at the Ministry of Education and Science, the President and Deputy President of the Education Trade Union “Podkrepa” – Dr. Yulian Petrov and Mr. Georgi Shošev. Ms. Albena Toteva, Head of the Pleven Regional Department of Education also welcomed the participants with brief remarks. During the second day of the training  students from the National School of Arts “Panayot Pipkov” delivered a musical performance as a greeting to the experts in training.

“The project’s training curriculum is based on the best European practices in supporting novice teachers. During the project’s second year we aim to enhance the context specific skills of experts in mentoring teachers”, said Dr. Koleva.

She added that experts in regional education  inspectorates are key because they are familiar with local challenges and opportunities and facilitate the exchange of good practices.

“Unfortunately, we often forget that the experts also need training and support in order to be effective in their jobs. That is why we are glad that together with our partners from the Ministry of Education and Science and CT Support and thanks to Key Activity 3 of the Erasmus+ Programme we can make this investment in the professional development of our experts. We have formed a strong community and we believe that it will grow over time, giving more experts the opportunity to benefit from the learning modules we develop and approbate together”, added Dr. Koleva.

After the training session, participants shared that they were left with new ideas for more effective support of novice teachers. They also expressed their satisfaction with the opportunity to   share expertise with their colleagues from around the country.

The NEST project, which launched in March 2021, is motivated by the question of what an effective programme for newly appointed teachers and their mentors should look like. Educational experts from 5 European countries and 7 education systems are collaborating on finding an answer to this question. Their goal is to approbate a training program for mentors of novice teachers, which can then be developed into state policies. The Bulgarian partners in the project are the Ministry of Education, the Education Trade Union  CT “Support” and Teach for Bulgaria, which also coordinates the consortium.  Researchers at the University of Duisburg – Essen in Germany are carrying out NEST’s impact assessment.