Is it easy to be a teacher? How is a good teacher? Trust me, being a teacher sometimes is like you are creating miracle in the world. In this post, I’ll also tell you a little bit about Finnish education.
In recent years, thousands of refugees have immigrated to Finland. As a country with high quality of life, government takes care of human life totally seriously. Finland is also famous with high quality of education and low tuition. Most of Finns has a good education background. Education for European citizen is free or you have to pay with a small amount.
My Finnish course started about a year ago. Government gave us this course without charge and helped us integrate into community and adapt to new life, so we don’t have to pay anything and conversely most of us has received monetary support to go to school. It was to strange to me who is from a developing country, where education has many problems.
Back to my Finnish course, we have to study the language in 10 months and then we need to find a language practice placement to practice Finnish speaking. I chose to be a teaching assistant and now it’s my last week in my school and I never thought that I would like it so much. If I stayed in Vietnam I would become a Russian professor in my university (it would take a long road to get there, but I mean in the future). I had no idea about if I love teaching people or if I have enough patience to be a teacher.
My jobs in school is help Finnish teachers when they need, so I have chance to be with different groups and see different interesting teaching methods of many teachers. I remember that after week at work I got ” a lot of students” who call me “teacher”. I was so happy to hear that word. Like almost teachers, I also got common problem that I couldn’t remember their names. Actually remember foreign name is like I’m trying to learn by heart new words in many languages. Our students are from around the world and they speak many languages and I think their common language is Arabic which is written and read from the right side to the left side and it has a totally different system from English or Finnish. Many of them even hadn’t been in primary school in their country, so they aren’t able to read or write even in their language. Could you imagine how difficult it is for Finnish teachers to teach these students to read and write in Finnish? It’s a huge job and takes a lot of time, efforts and patience. Let’s think about us, who can read and write in our language, so we would learn foreign language much easier by writing the meaning of the new word in our language, so that we can review whenever we want. For these students, they just can listen to the sound and imitate it. They aren’t able to read, so they can’t use Google Translater to translate into their language or listen to them over and over again at home. It’s still much more difficult when they are elderly people. I have helped a Somali woman write the very first letter “A and a”. She is 51 years old and has just started to write for the first time in her life, like a child at the first grade. It’s tough because her hands are not as flexible as children’s hands. I saw her effort when she tried to write every words that her teacher wrote on the board. Another situation is from Afghanistan woman who can speak two languages Dari and Pashto, but she can’t read or write in these languages. I don’t know why Latin alphabet is too hard for her, that she can’t remember “a, i, o, u” which she has learned for 2 months. We had some private lessons, I always asked her “how to say that word in Dari?” then she told me and I copied the sound by my way and put the stress, then I can remind her if she forgets. She always laughs at me, when my pronunciation goes wrong. I can’t express how I am happy when Somali woman can write on one line and Afghanistan woman can remember something and respond to me quickly when I give her question ” What is it?”.
Finnish teachers really bear with their students. I’ve seen that how they can teach many times just one thing everyday with big smile on their face. They probably know that people are different and nothing could be solved if they get angry and shout at their students who should be respected.
“In the class, I try to make them laugh as much as possible, so they can forget their real life for a while.”
Finnish teachers understand and sympathize with their students who can be affected by real circumstances. I’ve heard about some situations, for example, a family is separated by war, parents and their daughters moved to Finland and they have adapted to new life, but their son is left behind in the country and when these people worry about their son, relative, they can’t go to school and be ready to study anything.
“Teacher should not be nervous.”
Finnish teachers are always positive and active in the class. They control their emotion and don’t put their emotion into their job. They do everything to give their student the most comfortable atmosphere.
“Teacher works in the service sector. Students are our customers and we serve them.”
” Customer is the King.” I think it’s great opinion, but it doesn’t mean that students can do everything they want. Teacher and student have to respect each other. Each of them has its own responsibility. Teachers give students knowledge and students give them experience.
Topic of teachers in teacher’s room is always about their students. Could you imagine how they are happy when their students have learned some new thing? Just small improvement also can make their day.
Sometimes I just wonder why Finland has to do everything like that. They offer harborage for refugees, give them monthly monetary support, send them to school for studying language, help them adapt to new life and guide them to get their dream job and a bright future. Then I realized that Finland is a country with high education and it’s definitely necessary for their people to be educated. Helping refugees and immigrants is helping themselves.