Meet the teacher: Mila Koeva

| Michaela Nesvarova

What makes a good teacher? Where does the passion for passing on knowledge come from? In the series ‘Meet the teacher’ we focus on people who are truly dedicated to education. In this episode we introduce Mila Koeva, assistant professor and a teacher at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information at ITC.


Mila Koeva has a whole list of characteristics that make a good teacher, but two stand out if it comes to her teaching style: linking theory with practice and being approachable. She has a few tricks up her sleeve to make that happen.

Toys and games. Those are some of the unconventional tools that Mila Koeva uses during her lessons. She wants to make sure that she shares her knowledge in a way which is understandable for everyone in her class, and which is hopefully also fun. So she doesn’t hesitate to borrow her daughter’s dollhouse, use videos, create games on smart phones and, most importantly, send her students outside. To the real world, where they have to produce professional output and therefore immediately use the theory they learnt in the classroom.

Besides these methods to actively engage students, Mila Koeva stresses the importance of a teacher’s attitude. Good teachers should be enthusiastic and positive, they should share their personal motivation and passion for the topic they teach. They should be communicative and approachable and minimize the barrier between a teacher and a student, because - especially at ITC - new students often feel this barrier and are afraid to break it down.

Being close to students is a vital and enjoyable part of the job, at least in Mila Koeva’s case. She tries to be there for her students, respond immediately when they need her and spend time with them outside of the university, whether that means eating out or playing sports. She likes the interaction and feels that the students appreciate the personal approach. She often forms friendly bonds with students and keeps in touch with them long after they graduate.

Mila Koeva exchanges more than personal updates and family photos with her former students, though. She conducts joint research projects with them. She firmly believes that teachers should keep on doing their own research. It helps them to constantly update their knowledge and refresh the content of their lessons every year. After all, having and sharing the relevant knowledge lies at the core of the profession.

Yet, passing on the knowledge can be tricky, admits Koeva. ITC students are all on very different levels, which sometimes requires a lot of patience. But whatever happens, you need to remain patient and make sure they understand, even if that means answering the same question a thousand times or spending time with them after class. Despite any of these challenges, Mila Koeva loves what she does. She always comes to work with positive energy and her students appreciate it.

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.