The first spark that ignited a fever of the instructor in me happened while I was working as a teacher of native language and literature in my home country, Serbia. I realized very early in my career how important is for learners to talk about what they have learned and to relate that to their daily life and previous experience. Unfortunately, the only instructional tools I have had at my disposal at that time were blackboard and chalk. As I did not want my students to feel detached from what was going on in the classroom, I decided to engage them. That was the moment when I realized that it must be other way and that was the beginning of my 'soul work'. At one occasion, we were learning the differences between the period of Renaissance and Medieval age through comparison of two statues from those periods respectively. While I was able to actually bring learning to pupils instead of pupils to learning, my students acquired the new concept easily and effortlessly and were able to retain it.
It was not until later in my life when I received opportunity to actually experience the whole spectrum of possibilities and advantages instructional design can add to learning and teaching practice. As an instructor of Serbo-Croatian Language and Culture at the Foreign Service Institute, Arlington, Virginia, I have had opportunity to develop and implement various instructional materials and use different tools. Namely, I have created Quizlet exercises for the vocabulary throughout the entire course, and used smart board technology as an essential part of my everyday teaching practice. Recently, I created a web page for my department on the portal that was designed for distance learning (FSI Learn Center). The feedback of my students is keeping me thriving as I always get the best possible reviews. My students are thankful that I am able to utilize my technology and computer skills to ease up a very intensive five hours a day, forty-four weeks’ program. Taking that in consideration, I created smart board exercises that students can use on their own for particularly problematic aspects of the Serbo-Croatian language (case fluency, adjective-noun agreement, interrogatives, etc.).