Teacher Spotlight: Ania Gradkowska

November 30, 2020

Ania Gradkowska  

1. What is your name?

Ania Gradkowska  

2. Where do you teach?

ESF Language & Learning Centre, Wan Chai

3. What classes do you teach?

Pre-K, Playgroup and Kindergarten after-school classes

4. Tell us an unusual fact about yourself?

As a child, I just couldn't learn to swim but I kept having dreams at night where I was able to do it effortlessly. These were one of my most beautiful dreams (apart from the ones where I could fly!). I finally got determined to teach myself to swim as an adult and since then have swum in a number of lakes, rockpools and seas. 

5. What are your hobbies?

Nature, cycling, ping pong, music, dance, and aerial hoop.  

6. Do you have any unusual talents?

I can stilt walk, bake sourdough and make a bird call using my hands as an ocarina.

7. Why do you enjoy teaching at ESF Language & Learning?

What brings me joy is seeing children being their natural, unapologetic selves. I love to see student's expressions when they are experiencing something for the first time or making a new discovery for themselves. When they surprise me with an innocent and honest comment or a sudden caring gesture, it reminds me why I am lucky to be working with some of our youngest students.

8. Share a funny story that has happened in your classroom.

It was during one of my first forest school sessions where the children started exploring the site. We talked about safety and I offered some resources to take with them. One of the children picked up a cup and walked enthusiastically towards a puddle that formed on the ground after the rain. Before anyone was able to say anything, he filled his cup with muddy water, put the cup to his mouth, managing to get a taste of his 'drink'. Everyone stood still and all we could hear was a loud "bleurgh!". Imagine how it felt when the puddle water hit his tastebuds! Later, it was hard to keep a straight face when we were talking about his experience. Funnily enough, no one ever wanted to repeat it!  

9. What exciting projects do you have coming up?

I am really excited to start a new Forest School programme in the near future. It will give children an opportunity to explore and connect with nature in all seasons and weathers. They will be able to gain skills in using tools and fire, and through the process become more creative and confident.