You haven been in the profession for over thirty years. Besides teaching English, you regularly attend teacher training programmes. You write grant applications, think about your own projects, hold training sessions, write a blog, and most of the time you're busy implementing one of your grant-winning projects. How does a teacher benefit from all this? We asked Katalin Erzsébet Tóth, the 'happy teacher' of Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Primary School and Secondary Grammar School of the 18th District about this and the Erasmus+ projects.

Role model Katalin Erzsébet Tóth: "The fact that at the age of 55 I can feel enthusiasm over some innovation is mostly due to these projects"

What motivates a teacher to dedicate her time to writing grant applications besides her myriad duties?

We teachers constantly need new resources to be able to hold entertaining and memorable classes. One such resource is the Erasmus+ programme, the openness and high educational value of which has long won my heart.

I understand that one of the main questions of your project was how to maintain teachers' and students' motivation to learn in a school community that has become heterogeneous. Did you find the answer to that?

I think we did, although there are many solutions. We learnt about a lot of varied methods in Erasmus+ programmes. In one of the projects, we had a chance to get involved in all the activities of foreign teachers, from assessment through preparation to teaching classes. I, personally, was working on improving leadership skills; I brought a number of new methods and games home, which I could later use to enhance motivation and team spirit among my colleagues and the children.

Was it this motivation that later grew to become "The Happy Teacher" blog?

Yes, it was. I wanted to create a platform to help all of us benefit from best practices, regardless of the subjects taught. I also presented the activities in my blog to my colleagues in the form of trainingso they can easily take the playful exercises home to try.

How did your life change due the international partnerships? 

It was during the first few years of my career that project method was introduced in Hungary, first in English classes. At that time, we only used it within individual subjects when addressing particular topics. In Comenius, and later Erasmus+ projects, it grew over subjects, practically holding them together. All this is nothing new today; over the years, however, I learnt innumerable new techniques, tools and methods. Moreover, since the projects are not subject-specific, I gained insight into teaching a number of subjects, and I can transfer my new knowledge to colleagues teaching other subjects, which I regularly do, too. I'm also very enthusiastic that I met a number of colleagues who think like me, and with some of whom I regularly keep in touch.

How did your involvement in the programmes affect your personality?

It think the fact that at the age of 55 I can feel enthusiasm over some innovation is mostly due to these programmes. I feel the world has opened up for me. I was very self-conscious in the first project; today, however, I confidently assume the project leader's role; currently, for example, I'm coordinating the activities of six institutions. My relationship with my students has also changed. The projects also allow us to get to know each other better and get closer to each other.

Last modified: 18-04-2019