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.
We started the day by waking up from queen size bed which was huge difference to New York’s YMCA. The breakfast was fulfilling with fluffy waffles. Around ten o´clock at the hotel we met Audrey Damon-Wynne, our contact teacher of McFarland High School and host for Satu, our teacher. Audrey came to pick us up with Essi’s host Claire and her mom Ann and showed us around in Chicago. Ann had been in Sweden as exchange student when she was younger.
First we went to see Navy pier and we used Ferris Wheel to have a look at the Chicago skyline. In Navy pier we ate Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. It looked like a pie but still it was really good! After that we chose to go shopping to Water Tower Place find prom dresses. We drove all around Chicago to see sights even tough it was raining all day. We didn´t leave the car so we checked the sights through the window. While we were driving to McFarland most of as were tired after long time traveling from New York to Chicago and after long and interesting day.
The Ferris Wheel
This photo was taken from the Ferris Wheel.
The famous Giordano´s. We had to wait for an hour to get in. There we ate the Chicago speciality deep dish pizza.
The state of Illinois is also called the state of Lincoln. The other guy beside mr. Lincoln is Everyman, any American.
While the weather was really windy we tried to get in to this greenhouse, but it was closed due to private occassion. We think they were preparing a wedding reception inside.
Essi H: Hello! We started our journey from the Jyvaskyla railway station at two o’clock in the Tuesday morning. The flight to New York via Stockholm departed in the morning and the traveling made us really exhausted. We went to the YMCA Hostel from the airport and spent the night with resting and looking for a place to eat dinner.
On Thursday morning we went to see the Statue of Liberty from a ferry and we also went to a very interesting Immigration Museum in Ellis Island. After the trip with ferry we went to see 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge. In the evening we met Erin Dowding, who was a Fulbright teacher in Jyvaskyla last year. She took us to eat dinner in Grand Central Station. We ate hamburgers in Shake Shack, which is very famous fast food restaurant.
Next morning the weather was really good, the sun was shining and temperature was even 27 C (81 F). We went to Central Park to eat big strawberries and then we walked to Times Square where we did some shopping. In the evening we were waiting for our taxi at the hostel but it didn’t come so we had to take our luggage and to go to New York subway- and railway stations in a rush. Luckily we made it on time to catch our flight to Chicago!