maanantai 17. joulukuuta 2012

From Russia with Love

I had a chance to host a group of Russian principals today at my school. Finnish furniture company Martela had brought 18 principals from Russia to visit Finland and asked me to host their stay in Finland.

We had a nice afternoon together. I thought they wanted me to show them around our new school but they had a million questions instead. What is the secret of the Finnish school system? How many hours a week an average child goes to school in Finland? What about homework? What is the average salary for a teacher in Finland? Why do Finnish people want to be teacher when they only get an average income? What about the budget for your school? How can you arrange only half of the class for some lessons? Does every child have the same teaching despite of the town or municipality he/she lives in? Do the teaching methods vary from 3rd grade to 6th grade? How can you teach pupils with special needs in the same class as everyone else?

Hard questions for anyone ;-) I tried my best to give proper answers. Then we made a small tour around the school. We saw a 6th grade doing their knitting and we saw a 1st grade playing a computer game about emotions with an interactive smartboard. We visited our gym that everyone thought was beautiful and we had a cup of Finnish Christmas speciality, glögi, and some ginger bread at the teachers' room.

After the visit I had most wonderful Russian presents. Russian hospitality is something that we are not used to in Finland. They are always carrying their little artcrafts and pins and all. We changed our business cards and then I walked them to their bus. Oh, how I wish I could make one day a trip to their town and see their schools. Looking forward to that.

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