Borbála Kemény from Hungary is studying to be a teacher of Arts and English. She spent 13 weeks in Finland as an assistant teacher and now tells about her experience.
“My name is Borbála Kemény, I am coming from Hungary. I am studying to be a teacher of Arts and English. I spent 13 weeks in Finland, in Orimattila, Salpaus Further Education as an assistant teacher. I came with the Comenius program to spend my half year practicing time here. Comenius program is a European Union program for those who are in teacher training, providing a possibility for would-be teachers to get to know other countries’ school systems in a 13 week - 1 year period. In Hungary the last semester of teacher MA is a period when students apply to a school and spend four-five months there visiting lessons, teaching and assisting the teachers, getting to know how the system works, and what kind of tasks a teacher has. As a would-be English teacher I wanted to spend this time in a school, where I can practice English, so I applied for the Comenius assistantship. I chose Finland because its education system was set as a good example at our university. I wanted to see how the system actually works in real.
During my stay I visited many different kind of lessons, not only English, but also Arts, Swedish, Music and special courses for youth and leisure instructors, practical nurses. I took part in the English classes assisting and planning the lessons. I visited different schools, to get to know not only the vocational school, but primary, and high schools, and also schools for special education needs students. I spent few days in Steiner School too, which was a very interesting experience.
Generally what I saw in Finnish schools that they are more student-centred than in my country. Teachers take students needs into consideration more, and try to form the courses accordingly. I saw that they are more patient with the students and treat them as equals, participants of the learning process, not as only “blank sheets”. Teachers are there for the students and not the other way round.
My weeks weren’t only about being in the school, I also had plenty of opportunity to discover Finish culture and lifestyle. I travelled a lot visiting for example Helsinki, Rovaniemi and Porvoo. I have been in Stockholm and Tallinn too. I was lucky to be able to spend weekends with some of the teachers going to sauna, picking mushrooms or learning how to knit socks. On one of the weekends I attended a meeting with the other Comenius assistants who came from all over the world and are in Finland this year.
I really enjoyed my 13 week here; it was not only a long holiday but also improvement in my future job. I can bring home some new ideas about teaching that I want to apply myself, and it was also very interesting to see another system than the one that I am used to. It helps me understand how an open field teaching is, with a lot of ways to go and a lot of methods to use.”
Borbála Kemény, Comenius Assistant, Hungary
Photo: Jussi-Pekka Kekki