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Learning to Be a Teacher Who Connects

Martin Troska’s (Czech Republic, Pearson UWC, Middlebury ’21) dream of becoming a teacher began in frustration.

At sixth grade in Prague, Martin was unimpressed with his traditional school’s expectation that students would copy down everything the teacher said, with little or no discussion. At UWC, “It was so interesting to focus on a specific topic and stay with it for a long time — reading articles, a range of things. I loved my teachers there.”

As an education and history major at Middlebury, Martin has spent time observing a local high-school teacher. Preparing for a winter term to be spent student teaching, he guided an IB history class’s discussion of Adolf Hitler’s 1938 annexation of Czech Sudetenland.

Through the college’s Language in Motion program, which brings Middlebury students with international experience into area classrooms, Martin has led discussions with elementary and high-school students on Czechoslovakia’s 1989 Velvet Revolution, and on English in a global context.

After graduation, Martin hopes to teach in a public school back home. “I would like to be a teacher who pays good attention to the needs of students,” he says, “and who keeps asking the question, ‘How does what we’re learning benefit them?’

“That’s what I really like about the teachers I’ve seen at Middlebury Union High School. They have a close relationship with students; the teacher knows what’s going on with the student outside the class, as well. I think that’s really healthy, in terms of building community. We’re all humans — we’re all living in the same place.”