Suada Karić, Educator, Secondary School of Agriculture, Sarajevo

Suada Karić is a graduate engineer of technology, employed as a professor of vocational subjects at the High School of Agriculture, Food, Veterinary and Service Activities in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She decided to work in education immediately after college, in the 1990s, and that was the time of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, where she lived. Right at the beginning of working with children in the classroom, she realized that working in education is her love and a job that enriches her life. Going to work to school every day, running in front of a sniper and talking about food, its composition and production in cold classrooms with lost eyes full of fear in times of general hunger was a big challenge for her. Although at that time, like everyone else, she was forced to work without pay, she felt privileged because of the opportunity to be on the other side of the chair.

Being an educator, someone who shapes other people’s lives, someone who with his work, attitudes and creativity influences the future and development of a young man’s personality is a great responsibility. Providing them with knowledge, skills without neglecting the educational component is not possible without love, developed social awareness and constant motivation. The teacher must be ready for lifelong learning, monitor the growth and needs of society, pass it all on to his students and sometimes grow and develop together with them. To acquire quality knowledge for which they will be valued in society, I teach my students how to choose sources of information and knowledge, how to learn from the best while crossing the boundaries of their environment and their micro world.

On the occasion of these postulates, I am ready to organize various study trips for my students after working hours, weekends and holidays and allow them to get acquainted with the work of congresses, conferences, to listen to lectures by eminent experts and during breaks they talk and make contacts, all to attend congresses in the future and following the development of their profession. Together with colleagues from other countries, I organize a mutual visit of students from related secondary vocational schools. We learn from the best, we learn from experts, on that occasion I organize a visit of experts in the field of nutrition from the countries of the region who speak on various topics, mostly what interest students. Knowledge knows no boundaries; it is sought outside its microenvironment.

The pandemic has shown us that as teachers we must be prepared to show the students how to best adapt to new ways of transferring knowledge, new tasks and challenges, and constant changes that will await students in the labour market tomorrow.

For each lecture, students prepare on the topic they have chosen, exploring their interests, opinions and attitudes through asking questions, talking and for them, it is a special challenge, certainly, an interesting refreshment in learning. After each lecture, they should show what they can apply immediately in their daily life and how they will apply it. We listen, think, ask and learn. We organize visits to various institutions related to the profession with a multidisciplinary approach. Through all these visits we learn openness to new experiences, observation, gathering information, reasoning and integration. As part of the course, we study proper nutrition throughout all ages and the accompanying program organizes visits to kindergartens where students discuss the eating habits of children during their meal, refer them to food that is important at their age. We then organize visits to primary schools where we are already doing presentations on healthy eating on examples of their favourite cartoon characters. At this age, we try to influence the creation of proper eating habits that must be accompanied by physical activity, through various games, helping parents, grandparents if they have gardens or walking in nature.

For primary school age, we organize nutri-eco actions where we combine proper nutrition, ecology and physical activity into a healthy lifestyle. Using the WHO guidelines on healthy eating, we combine foods in the form of a healthy breakfast, a snack suggestion that will meet the nutritional needs of a particular age.

A special challenge for students is to hold counselling for their peers, through presentations and workshops they demonstrate foods that are necessary for health, normal development at that age, and special attention is paid to foods that cumulatively, negatively affect health, dysfunction and damage to certain organs, as well that have a bad effect on the mood, disturb the memory and very quickly, after such food they have a drop in energy which leads to a series of negative feelings. Bad habits are difficult to change, for this we use behavioural-cognitive methods of counselling, whereby trying to change thoughts we can influence the change in behaviour towards food.

In the school hall, we organize tea parties for our students twice a year. We choose teas for concentration, memory and mood that attract the exceptional attention of students. We want to draw their attention to the importance of replacing carbonated drinks with tea, which will make us feel much better at school and which will not hurt their success and attention in class. I try to encourage them to continue with that peach in their families as well, so it often happens that my students involve their parents in this action. My vocational high school educates different educational profiles. One of them is also a nutritionist. In all classes that educate nutritionists, we have organized the project “fruit snack every day”, our goal is to create the habit of consuming fruit every day, which is very important in the age of fast food lurking around every
corner.

We organized the project by dividing the students in the class into groups of five students, each student has his day to bring the five fruits he wants, so the student brings five fruits once a week, and eats every day. The idea was accepted, and we follow the project every day. The idea was enthusiastically supported by the parents. For the third age in school, we organize workshops offering foods that are rich in nutrients necessary for the body over 65, students present composition with an emphasis on nutrients necessary for health and make smoothies for refreshment. For these workshops we have a special slogan “Today YOU, tomorrow WE” in this way students develop empathy for the elderly and their needs. Students with special emotions prepare workshops of this type. Free activities of students are a very important component of youth education. The school becomes a place to hang out with friends from all over the school who share the same interests. Encouraging students to explore the world around them, their interests, developing responsibilities and performing various tasks without peer assessment is a special pleasure.

Through various environmental actions, we develop our responsibility and love for nature and its beauties, which becomes a lasting value of the person. The development of a social personality is especially important. We participate in actions of cleaning and arranging city surfaces, developing the desire to make our city more beautiful. We participate in planting seedlings on the surrounding hills and mountains around Sarajevo and beyond, identify landslides and perform afforestation. We celebrate all environmental holidays related to water, mountains, forests, sun, biodiversity, we organize lectures for other students in our school. We visit kindergartens and do actions, together with the little ones, arranging the playground and teaching them to love their surroundings and keep it with the belief that we will pass on our aspirations.

The time of the pandemic has shown us that as teachers we must be prepared for sudden and constant change. We have to show the students how important that is, because of the pandemic, our profession had to adapt to new ways of transferring knowledge, new tasks and challenges, and constant changes that will await students in the labour market tomorrow. It is important to encourage the development of these traits, which is accompanied by work motivation and proactivity, openness to new experiences, perception of self-efficacy and innovation. We can use every situation for personal development. Our profession is special because we are always able to get the best out of ourselves, our students and the situation.

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