As I interned at my internship, I took hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos. To sum it up, though, here is a collection of them that describes just what it was like at Schildt lukio in Finland.
1. How was your work significant or meaningful to the world beyond school and your specific internship site?
My internship work was/is to make a video for the school I am working at (Schildt lukio) that will display the school's best qualities and functionality to English speakers. For Schildt, this will obviously help them when orienting new students, inviting exchange students, telling about the school at meetings, and so much more. To the world beyond school, my work will, hopefully, be influential to those hoping to know the secret behind Finnish education and better theirs.
2. How did your project go from an idea or inspiration to a final product?
Before I started my internship, my project really was just an idea. In California, I communicated with my mentor over email and we discussed how I was to be making a video for the school. That was it. But, on that pretense, I started designing the movie in my head, as I do. I thought about my camera work, brainstormed the interviews I needed to do, and came up with the idea of "A Day in the Life of a Student". Once arriving to Finland, I was able to speak to one of my mentors a little bit about the movie. We shared ideas and produced a backbone. The first day of my internship brought a meeting with my other mentor (school's guidance councellor) and the headmaster. There, we discussed my ideas and I learned some of theirs. Then, we simply started putting them into action. With their help, I gained the information and resources I needed to write a script/storyboard and collect footage. For two weeks, I worked on this. Now, I am putting it all together to create the final product.
3. What qualities or characteristics did you see in the people around you that you want to develop in yourself? Why?
What I saw, most of all, in Finnish schools was the care. This, I believe, is the secret to Finland's success in their education. At Schildt, I saw among the teachers, councellors, and students an immense amount of kindness, care, guidance, and understanding. The well-being of the community (and students) is put as a number one priority, even before test scores. This is because they know that, once well-being is established, everything else will follow suit. I want to develop this trait, not only in myself, but somehow in my (our) community and school. I believe, at High Tech High, we attempt this and am sort of successful but there is more to be done as I still see stress and agitation.
4. How did your view of life beyond high school change or develop during your time as an intern?
Life beyond high school is not as bad as I thought. I believed the world to be a brutal place where you have to struggle to keep afloat but, I realize, that not all the world is. First and foremost, life beyond high school depends on how you take it on but, second, it depends on where you are. Take things with confidence, with an open mind, with balance, and with happiness is what I have discovered will get me through okay. This is what I see in the Finnish people in regular life and in my workplace. People are generally stress free, confident, healthy, and happy.
5. How might internship influence the direction of your life?
Don't you mean how has internship influenced the direction of my life? The answer is, that is has in a HUGE way! Before internship, I was a wreck, and so were my plans for my future. I wanted to study art, I wanted to study writing, I wanted to study theatre, I wanted to study everything but I didn't know where to go with any of them. As I had been told countless of times, these are not practical ambitions. Where is the career? For a while, I didn't care but then I started to get scared. Education seemed like an interesting topic but perhaps boring. I went on internship curious about what I could gain. I went to Finland, and came back a changed person. Suddenly, I knew where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. Being away somehow answered my questions. I want to and will study fine arts but I will also study English or writing. I will write, I will paint, and I will teach. The happy and inspiring English teacher with a hidden artist personality. That will be my future and I can thank Finland for it.
6. What new questions has your internship inspired you to ask about our world? What has it made you wonder about? What are you moved to go out and do or learn about on your own time?
My internship in Finland has changed my views on the way things are in a way that I could not have anticipated. I was moved in many ways, such as in education, politics, welfare, and human rights but mostly, of course, in education. Seeing how respected and prioritized education is in Finland was truly eye opening. To be a teacher is to be an educator and education is vital to our survival. Teachers and schools are highly respected. Not only this, but they do education right. Like I've already said, their top priority is guidance and care, not test scores but, with well-being, comes good results of all kinds. Seeing all this has really made me question how things are in America. Do we see education as something vital, as we should? Are schools being funded right? and Where are our priorities? I want to solve the problem with our education. I want to be a revolutionary educator. I think it's time we set aside America's pride as an independent country and open our eyes to what other countries are doing that might actually be better.
Hello Everyone, please forgive this interruption to my blog so I can reflect on what I've been doing so far on my internship.
As I've discovered recently, it is really important in a workplace to have the skill of self-advocating for yourself. What does this mean? This means sticking up for yourself and what is best for you to be productive, happy, and comfortable. Without advocacy, you may find you are not able to do what you need to do or feel as comfortable doing it in your workplace. Specifically with my internship, it is most important to have this skill. Being that I am a foreigner to the country, do not speak Finnish, and am doing a project not so familiar to others at the school, there is lots of room for misunderstanding if I don't advocate for myself. In order to get the resources I need to made a great video, I have to speak up. In the beginning of my internship, I was a bit nervous to do this due to the language barrier. I was a bit disorganized and I didn't really know what to ask about or for the video. Towards the end of my first week, though, I started to form a plan for the movie and, doing this, I realized, made it waay easier for me to get what I needed afterwards. Once I knew what I wanted and needed to do, getting them came quite naturally. Additionally, my ability to self-advocate has not only benefited me at my internship but also in my general travels. I have found that I am much less afraid to ask questions if I don't understand something and, with my host family, get what I need to live comfortably with them.
Tuesday May 26, 2015
My internship project is an informational video about a school, Schildt Upper Secondary, that can be showed to English speakers that want to know more about the school. As well as being a great opportunity to stretch and practice my movie making skills, this project is also an opportunity for me to really get to understand Finnish education and how it works so well. The school that I'm working for is the school that my host sister, Luulia, attends. Therefore, it is easy for me to go to and from every day. The first week of my three week internship, I spent getting to know the ins and outs of the school and Finnish education. The second week, I spent collecting footage for the video and doing interviews. The third and fourth week, I am to spend editing all the footage together.
Right now, I have all the footage for the movie and am beginning to edit it all together. I am also finishing up to script so that I can record it being read by one or two of the school's exchange students. This will add a diverse feel to the movie as opposed to if I read it.
Throughout this whole process, I have been receiving support by two people. The first is Satu, the school's guidance counsellor. Anytime I have a question, I am free to visit her office or email her and she'll kindly answer it for me. The second person who has been supporting me lots is Tina Chavez. She is a teacher from my school who helped me find my internship and is also in Finland. I check in with her regularly and she really helps me organize my stay here and my plan for the video. When I return from my internship, on the first of June, I will be continuing my internship with her as well.
Friday May 22, 2015
Today, instead of going to school with Luulia, I got a ride to the other Schildt school in partner with Luulia's. I was to spend the day collecting footage at this other location to put in the video. I spent the day getting a tour of the school and filming the classrooms and hallways. At around 2:30, I got picked up by Luulia's father and we headed home.
We got dropped off at home and then started to get ready for our friend Lota's 18th birthday party. It is a sleepover so we prepared bags and Luulia kindly did my hair into, what we call, "Elf Hair".
At around 5:40, we left and got dropped off at Lota's at 6. We had lots of fun at the party, the highlight of the night being when we all played SingStar - a sort of karaoke competition game - together.
At around 9 or so, most people had left the party, leaving 6 of us who were sleeping over. At 11, we went on a little walk to a nearby playground where we had lots of fun and then walked back and played truth or dare and spin the bottle the whole night. We finally went to bed at 2 in the morning.
Thursday May 21, 2015
To get a feel of something different this morning, Luulia and I rode bikes to school. This was extremely nice as it was quicker and Finland is very beautiful. The only problem was that I was borrowing a bike from my host family and, them being a lot taller than me, I had lots of trouble mounting and unmounting the bike. It was quite terrifying for a bit but I soon got used to it.
At school, I had another productive day of working on the computer and getting a bit of footage for the video. It was a fun day because the school had a spirit day they were calling casino day which meant that all students were to dress fancy in a dress or tux. I had fun wearing a simple black dress and seeing what everyone was wearing.
Towards the end of the day, I went on an impromptu field trip with 10 Australian foreign exchange students from the school. We visited Jyvaskyla's popular university in the City Center. Once there, we got a tour of the campus and learned all about the school which was very interesting, though I decided that I do not want to go there myself since they do not support my majors.
After the tour, I said goodbye to the Australians and met Luulia at the local library. We then walked around the City Center for a while and did some shopping. I fell in love with a little red backpack which I bought.
When we were done shopping, we took our bikes and rode home. Unfortunately, it was raining and much of the journey was uphill. It was very exhausting and, by the time we got home, we were quite ready to get inside in the warmth. eat, and continue with our Lord of the Rings marathon. When we got there, though, we found that we were locked out of the house! Luulia's younger sister, who was supposed to be at the house, had Luulia's keys since she had lost her's and needed them that day. For half an hour, which felt a lot longer at the time, we were stuck, very wet and frustrated, outside of the house until her sister came home. Finally, we went inside, ate, and watched Lord of the Rings.
One of the requirements for this internship is to ask out mentors questions that can help us get to know the work and career. Unfortunately, my mentor was out of town and would not be able to answer the questions anyways. Therefore, I asked, instead, my second mentor Satu Syrrakki who knows a lot about the school seeing as she's the guidance counsellor. Below are the, very informative, responses I recieved.
1. Why did you choose to work at Schildt Upper Secondary school as a guidance counsellor? How did you get there?
I started in this school as Finnish and literature teacher. I was actively involved in association of Finnish teacher, got to know there a teacher of this school who happened to be pregnant. So I walked to Ari Pokka's office telling that I could come if he would need me. the rest is history :D I have been working here for 16 years. I used to be responsible for the immigrant students, teaching them Finnish as foreign language. That led me to guidance counselling: I have always have very non-formal relationship with my students and that is necessary in my actual job. I also got very quickly tired of the big groups I was teaching Finnish to. I was correcting papers and couldn't see the people behind the papers any more. For me much more natural is the direct contact with students. What I also like in my actual job is the feeling of really helping the students. That is very very motivating.
2. What skills and training are necessary for your position?
- you have to be teacher first and then you take 1 and 1/2 years more at the University - where you have to first get in. Also to that training there are the entrance tests you have to pass. In Finland all the upper secondary teachers have bachelor and master degree from the University to start with... That means approximately 6-7 year studies at the University to achieve your basic diploma.
In my profession it is obligatory to have training all the time - we have to update our knowledge of education all the time to be able to talk about further studies with our students.
3. How did you acquire these skills? Through school? On the job?
In training and in LIFE. :) The job teaches you, for sure.
4. What personality traits, skills, or knowledge are important here?iz
Ability to listen. Empathy. Understanding of psychology. Patience. Ability to put your own views and opinions aside. Knowledge of systems: labour market, further studies. Ability to network widely in society. Ability to encourage young people.
5. What do you think is the main difference between the Voionmaa and Viitaniemi locations?
There are no big differences, I have worked in Voionmaa before coming here and I would say that there are no big differences.
6. What is your favourite thing about the students at Schildt?
We have all kind of students, so it is impossible to have a picture of a Schildt student. I hope that the students take responsability and initiative, are curious and sociable. I am responsible for our International activities - which are numerous! and that is part of future planning of the youngsters. we live in a global world and my dream is that we don't educate 'True Finns' but global citizens in our school.
Wednesday May 20, 2015
As part of the movie I am making for my internship, I am profiling a day in the life of a student at the school. This student, I decided, would be Luulia. So, throughout the day today, I shadowed Luulia around her classes and filmed. I collected lots of footage and was generally pretty successful. Afterschool, Luulia had work and we both headed out to it together. Her work was at a local elementary school where she teaches a small group (or club) of kids in theatre. Today, however, was her last day and the students were having a little performance of a play they'd been putting together. We got to the school and I helped Luulia prepare for the arrival of the students. Once they came, they hustled and bustled about preparing costumes and props. After about half an hour, their parents started to arrive and they performed. The play was a story combining multiple fairytales such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Wizard of Oz and was, overall, very entertaining despite the fact that I could not understand the language.
After work, we got picked up and went home. We then settled down and continued with our Lord of the Rings marathon, getting through the end of the first movie and half of the second until going to bed.
Tuesday May 19, 2015
Today at my internship, I continued with my pursuit to collect footage for the movie. I decided that I would get some interviews out of the way so, during the second half of the day (as I was working on the computer for the first half), I set up my camera in an empty classroom and collected students for interviews. I asked them basic questions about their favourite things about their school. I was successful in getting a lot of responses on camera and very good footage to use.
After school, upon my request, we visited Petra's house again. I had had such a blast the time before that we scheduled another visit.
This time, Luulia, Petra, our friend Mari, and I made pizzas together and then baked cookies. We played video games (Super Smash Bros, Just Dance, Mario Kart, and Mario Party) and, altogether, had a very fun and crazy time. At around 10, Luulia and I got picked up, went home, and went to bed.
Monday May 18, 2015
The start of a new week and my second week of internship. Now that I had a pretty good understanding of the school, I felt comfortable enough to begin collecting footage for the movie. I spent the first half of the day basically filming the campus and halls. The second half of the day, I spent downloading photos, footage, and material from the school's website and putting them on a flashdrive. It was very productive.
After school, Luulia and I made our way to the City Center as I had a meeting there. The meeting was with a girl named Anna whose father is a headmaster at Luulia's school. She is going to a university in America and, therefore, needs to take the SAT. Her father asked me if I could help her with preparation for the test which I was very happy to do and we set a meeting. I met Anna inside the cafe of the city library. Together, we went over some basics for the SAT and I helped her by sharing some strategies. This, I believe, was very reassuring for her. After an hour, we said goodbye on the promise that we would meet again in a week. At this time, Luulia and I had planned on doing some shopping but Luulia, unfortunately, had a very bad migraine so we decided to go straight home. Once at home, Luulia went straight to bed so, with not much to do, I ate and read in bed for a while before going to bed.
My name is Serina Mitsu Chavez. I am an eleventh grade student at project-based learning school High Tech High North County in California. Some of my favorite things are teaching, art, dance, theatre, and books!