Finland

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OvVPg3y_ug&app=desktop

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10 thoughts on “Finland”

  1. There is such beauty in the honesty of these teachers. Based on their words and body language, I feel that they really want their students to be good human beings. Isn’t that what life is all about? Harmony instead of competition and ego?

    I would like to teach in Scandinavia one day very much. I think I could be more genuine in my teacher self if being humanistic was the norm. I have a real problem with how the system works here in Scotland and it fires up my stubbornness. That is a big reason I will resign in August. Life is far too brief to be unkind to myself, my potential, and my students’ mental health. They and I deserve a healthier way to spend time together and there is very little chance of changing the system for the better over here. Especially by a foreigner. Everything goes in circles and millions of pounds and hours of human energy is put into data crunching and critical analysis of the wording of test papers. Think of all the homeless people who could be helped with that kind of money. Think of all the kids who would grow up with healthier mental states and even a shred of self-confidence if they were the focus instead of just their test candidate number.

    I feel angry that very few folk stand against it openly here. The vast majority seem to accept their overtime and endless updated course documents quietly and spend less time on the things that bring them joy. It has felt like even the words ‘happiness’ and ‘joy’ are dirty here. Enough already!

    I look forward to teaching English somewhere in the world where happiness is the success criteria, not numbers or outcomes. Surely it exists in more countries than just Finland!

    1. “You gotta know when to hold’em / Know when to fold’em / Know when to walk away / Know when to run”

      I’m sure you’ll find a place that values your work, Jason. Keep us updated on your journeys!

      1. Well quoted, Sean. I hope to find a place as well. I will have more time to be on here in the future for sure!

  2. Jason, please do join our team in September. Our Waldorf school is situated in Northern Germany, and in a few weeks’ time our school will be officially looking for an English teacher. You will be teaching with two CI colleagues in French and one CI colleague in English. And you will find people who share your ideals and who strive for a human school.
    We met in Agen, you, David, Petra and me. Will you be there in July?

    1. Martin, this possibility interests me very much. I will be in Agen again this summer. Could we talk further sometime before July, either through email, skype, or facebook?

      1. We could skype, of course. What about Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon? Send me a Facebook message and we will find an appropriate time. I’m glad you are interested.

  3. Here’s my letter of recommendation for Jason:

    To Whom it May Concern:

    I write on behalf of Jason Bond. Jason puts kids first. He also put them second and on down to infinity. He therefore needs a school where he can do that. So the Waldorf/Bond fit is a natural. I give Jason Bond my absolute highest recommendation. He is the future.

    Ben Slavic

  4. Cherokee Nation is no Finland. But on a tour this morning we learned that once upon a time Cherokee people had no private land, that they farmed for their families on the land owned by all, or really owned by the Earth itself because it was not a concept that the people had that one could own the land. They also had community farmland where the produce was put into community storehouses. And they knew no poverty. If you needed food, there was plenty in the storehouse for you. The old folks and travelers and anyone needing shelter slept in the Council House, like a free-of-charge youth hostel. And then the state signed this law that took all the community land and gave it to individuals, to break their power. Because their real power was in the communal, sharing culture and the fact that an injury to one was an injury to all. It was a real-life utopian community, it was like heaven on Earth in my mind.

    Howard, the manager of the Cherokee language school for teachers (a full-time, two-year program that pays the future teachers a salary as they devote themselves round the clock to acquiring Cherokee so that they can teach the kids) told us a fact last night that really stuck with me. He said that Cherokee kids do not want to be better than the group. So if a teacher asks Johnny a question and he gets it wrong, the others will also answer incorrectly, so as to soothe Johnny’s feelings. Then the tour guide this morning, Miss Tracy, an expert in Cherokee textiles, weaving, and traditional dress, told us that if one person falls, the expectation is that the rest of the community will help them up, and if that is not possible, then they will fall down too, until the person is strong enough to get up on their own. What a change from the competition that we see in schools. Even in CI classrooms, we create little competitions: “What did I just say, Johnny?” Test over the first fifty high-frequency words Friday, Johnny. Retakes on Wednesday, Johnny. Was the dog black or brown, Johnny?

    We might not be able to completely inculturate our kids with the ethos that if one falls, the others do so as well if they need to, to support them. We are all so damaged by the out-of-control individualism and competitiveness of our culture. But we CAN remove as much competitiveness as we can from our teaching. We CAN teach for successful feelings for ALL. So that people rarely fall, and if they do, that they are swiftly caught, by our strong arms, making them understand, making them feel safe. We can take the responsibility for making it comprehensible, engaging, and safe. It is a mighty task. But we are feeling our way into some tools that make the task easier. Tomorrow we will share some of the tools we have with our newfound colleagues here, who are fighting for their languages’ lives. I feel that we have a team with such a great attitude that we will plant some very strong seeds.

    One thing I am grateful for is that we are coming here with a message unencumbered by steps, rules, and lists and charts. We are coming here with a simple message. Make it safe, make it comprehensible, and make it engaging. It is the most pared-down and heart-centered message to ever be delivered by an entire coaching staff, ever. I firmly believe that. It is our little tiny revolution and I look forward to taking the revolution to the streets of America this summer with Ben and on the way gaining strength from the rightness of this work and the way it unlocks deep truths about being human with our kids.

    I was telling Sean in the car tonight that I was asked to leave my first job in education, AmeriCorps 1999, because I repeatedly questioned the principal about the harsh discipline and boring stuff the kids were subjected to. Hall passes, tardy sweeps, detention for not having pencils. It was then that I knew that public school is not designed for actual humans. Or at least not this one. How have I survived all these years? By learning to not give a shit about the non-human elements and letting more and more of them be sloughed off like dead skin, slowly over the years.

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