The six exchange students of Schildt Upper secondary School were accompanied for the first week of this exchange by two teachers, Satu and Ulla. Observing the school life in an American high school gave many new ideas and perpectives to our work back in Finland.
The Finnish teachers In Madison
We were lucky to be hosted by two teachers of McFarland High School – getting to stay in a family and participating in everyday life is a great bonus when travelling. The impersonal hotels – been there, done that! One of the teachers, Audrey, worked in Jyväskylä two years ago as Fulbríght teacher. That good working contact is in fact the reason for us realizing this exchange between Schildt Upper Secondary School and McFarland High School.
The most significant difference in teachers’ way of working was the schedule: all teachers came to school around 7 or 8 am and left around 4 pm. The school day was not always filled with lessons – very often there were individual students making up their exams while teachers were preparing their own lessons beside. The teachers had their own classroom they had made very cosy and welcoming. That is something we could adopt to our high schools as well. We in Finland have classrooms like that only for smaller kids in elementary schools. Maybe we should have it in High Schools as well?
A Peaceful Working Session
The breaks between the lessons are much shorter than in Finland. Another difference is the must to wait for the ringing bell before leaving classroom – during the lessons you need to wear a hall pass in order to leave the classroom during a lesson.