Alumni · Aušrinė · DNS 2015 team (Graduated in 2018)
DNS made me realize that to be a teacher is also to be an active citizen, politician, farmer, mechanic, economist etc… it is a hollistic profession.
My name is Aušrinė, I am 28 years old Lithuanian, who has been living outside of my home country for the past 8 years. These years made a big impact on my development as an individual. It allowed me to broaden my perspectives upon the World, raise awareness about some socio-political, environmental issues, our day to day lifestyle choices and strengthen the understanding of my role in society. I have gained a very diverse range of experiences and knowledge while living, working, volunteering, travelling and participating in various projects together wit people from all over the World. This is a part of who I am today and what I stand for as an individual and as a teacher.
I think the 3 main things that i take away from DNS are:
1. Alone the World changes you, together we change the World
DNS brought me to an understanding that the power of people is what we need in this World. The feeling of belonging to a community, whether it is living in the city in your individual apartment or taking a part in the neighbors club in the rural area. It is not a physical concept, which matters, it is a concept of striking for the same goal of achievement.
2.Get used to being Challenged
We are living in the World, which is tough. The decisions and actions of the World‘s leaders and citizens creates an environment, which is challenging for all. Some tend to seek for comfort and privilege – easier to do in Northen Europen countries. But settling on comfort does not make us happy and we should not take it for granted. DNS has shaken me in admitting to myself that nothing comes without hard work, challenging environment, confrontations, escape of the comfort zone and most importantly the feeling of responsibility and ownership of your own learning. This realization does not necessarily come along in the DNS programme, but i believe it comes up sooner or later (hopefully sooner) and it definitely changes the perspective we look upon life.
3. Variety is the spice of life – don’t settle to do one thing at a time.
My days have never been so diverse like the ones, I experienced in DNS. The magic of a variety of tasks and activities we did every day has made me learn that multitasking and managing all the responsibilities are more than possible. You learn to work with your time managment, you learn to dedicate the tasks, ask for help when needed, organize group work, strengthen your critical, creative, practical skills and just move the things forward, no matter how slow sometimes the things seem to take a pace.
My story of joining DNS education
is a bit different than most of the people. I have known about the studies for a very long time before I decided to actually join the program: from stories about Africa and India travels in the woods of summer camps of Lithuania while a was a teenager (the organisers of the camp were DNS graduates), later reading an interview of another former teacher of DNS, and then finally realising that the time for me to join came, I said to myself: now or never! I felt that this experience is something you get once in a lifetime.
I come from a family with an educational background
My mother used to be a secondary school teacher for many years until she changed profession. To be honest, her stand towards working in the public education system i thought will supposedly distance me from wanting to become a teacher. However, instead it provoked me, it made me want to explore the ways the education system could become different. That’s what made me take this commitment I found myself committing for 4 years.
Many believe that a teacher is just an employee school that gives lessons from 08:00 til 15:00, it is not an easy job as well… Due to that i fell many are reluctant to profession. I do however believe there is much more to it! I honestly think that being able to teach is a key component for the development of a person. I understand that all the professions are significant in the World, but I know that everything starts from the path the teacher guides us on. Being a teacher is a lifestyle not just a profession. A parent is a teacher, a leader of a country is a teacher, even a child at his/her early development is a teacher – We all have the possibility to teach something and be a positive influence in someone’s life.
The borders of education are limitless
Choosing DNS made me realised that the borders of education are definitely limitless. I have never imagined that we are exposed to an enormous amount of teaching and learning situations in our daily lives. I definitely take and embrace the saying that „the World is our classroom“ and we are the ones building our own educational path while at the same time being the part of the path of those around us. DNS makes me realise that to be a teacher is also to be an active citizen, to be a politician, garden worker, mechanic, economist and endless more descriptive words for the skills that the teacher should have but unfortunately often is not prioritised and focused on having.
What happens after DNS?
Now it is exactly a year since I graduated from DNS. At first, you get yourself into a confusion, who are you, where are you and how do you imagine yourself being a part of the society. You know and feel what your role is and should be but as many graduates of DNS experience, it is not always easy to decide what challange to take next. You feel empowered and capable of moving mountains and the skills gained could be used in a lot of different jobs and projects. The task is to precisely choose that one or several things that I, another kind of teacher, want to perceive.
During the first couple of months after DNS…
I have put myself into different situations, I have travelled, attended projects, implemented teaching actions and explored different possibilities. Then I realised that the main thing that has made an impact on me while being in DNS was the power of people. I reevaluated the significance of the community, work with people and for people, striking for the same goal and being the part of the change in somebody‘s life. And I have decided to come back to Tvind and start working in the Villas (a care-home for the people with special needs), where I knew that the amount of responsibility, organisation, and creativity I would get involved myself into, would make me grow, learn and be challenged. I believe that starting something new is not always necessarily needed, continuing what you have already started can make a bigger impact on your path in changing the World in the long term. Right now, it has been some months since I am back in Tvind and it has not crossed my mind that it was wrong decision for me.
What surprised me the most after DNS
is that often I think how little we appreciate the knowledge and experience that we get in our day to day life, how we take things for granted and sometimes even forget to be thankful to the people, who contributed in us becoming a better version of ourselves. It is relatively easy to get absorbed by the moment and forget to ask ourselves a key question to everything: why do we do what we do? Post reflective thoughts on DNS program after graduation made me realise how necessary is to sometimes step out from our own skin and look at ourselves from the side. Allow ourselves to see a bigger picture, get into bigger shoes and focus less on ourselves and our own needs. This is a constant fight for all of us in the capitalistic society where individual needs come before the collective – seeing what is needed rather than what I want. DNS made me see further, think bigger and act bigger.
My goal is to make an impact on the future generations
My life goal is to commit to making an impact on the life of our current and future generations and in my case, those students in need. I want to make a difference in their life and contribute to their development. I envision myself being an active and confident person besides those who simply can’t or struggle to find their own individual way of living. The World is changing and the challenges we face as a society as well. I am taking on step at the time and contributing as much as possible.
What is my team up to?
I am happy to know that my fellow teammates are all in the same journey of discovering their active roles in our society. Each of us took different professional directions: from working as a kindergarten teacher, Waldorf school teacher, pedagogue for socially challenged teenagers to a project coordinator in an NGO. Some do practical jobs, some volunteer, travel, create or join various social and pedagogical projects.
Meet Aušrine from Lithuania
During the Do what you find most appropriate period during the second year of the programme i had the privilege to volunteer in an amazing school in Vietnam
On a study travel with my care-home students in London
More Humans of DNS
I like to find the beauty in what is around me, sometimes it only comes when I have my camera in hand, walking through city streets, noticing the glimmers of light shining through gaps between buildings or they way it gracefully dances along the clouds shortly before sunset.
Even though I was a little bit scared about becoming a teacher, since I have never dreamed of becoming one, I realised that the concept of the teacher is quite different here in DNS…
I believe, it is possible to raise conscious, creative and mindful generations. I have made it the goal of my life to change the education system in my country…
I hope DNS will teach me the essential pedagogical skills that I will need in order to become the effective activist that I want to become, who uses education as a tool of mobilisation.
I feel it’s a key point to keep questioning what has been considered a norm. I would like to immerse myself into what we assume about learning and teaching and search for alternatives.
Theresa Link graduated from DNS in 2012. She has worked as a social educator and teacher in Denmark and Germany. Music and performance art are some of her passions.