Until recently I´ve never come across the so called hidden or latent curriculum here in Finland, or at least, it wasn´t so strongly marked in terms of nationality. The year began perfectly with starting the desired STEP program for subject teachers which I fully enjoy now.
Originally possessing two teacher qualifications from Russia (a subject teacher and a university lecturer) and being told that even in Finland there is literally a difference between these two types of educators I made up my mind to take additional evening studies in adult teaching in Finnish language. The program I found was in Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education that is actually a part of the University of Helsinki.
One can only imagine how challenging it was to take an exam in Finnish not using the language on a daily basis. However, I made it and got a place at the course leading to an adult educator´s qualification. But I have never had a chance to start the course.
The first course meeting showed how tough studying under the guidance of a teacher who has no respect to you would be. Lot´s of mess and negative emotions — the keywords of such studies. What a big surprise was it to me who passed an exam for adult teaching to find myself in a subject teaching group! Normally, a teacher in charge of division would immediately deal with this issue, putting your name where you belong. Not this time.
Being as hostile as possible the teacher in charge, Ms S., made me once again (as if it was an exam) explain in front the whole class why I actually need to study for a qualification in adult teaching. Indeed I was an object for ridicule who was told to sound «weirdly».
I wasn´t the only victim, there were some people more who found themselves in a wrong group. That didn´t bother the teacher at all, the issue with messed groups was left unresolved. Being told off like small kids we had to take the files with our schedules — each their own file according to the list the teacher got. Was there any sense in this activity if several people didn´t belong to the study group they wanted? No way!
Having finally got the files we were exposed to the following rules (and that´s in a Finnish university in a course designed for adults!):
- no absence from lessons at all even if your child is ill — find someone to do babysitting
- being 5 minutes late means you´re absent
- if you are sick for 1 day you need to provide a sick leave (okay, so I should pay 90 eur. visiting my GP only for feeling dizzy for example?)
Whereas the other teacher, Ms Sa., who is in fact not a native Finnish language speaker, presented to us the idea that we must be really grateful for being the «chosen ones» and that we should forget about free time, families and holidays for the next two years. Well, yes, she added that it would be of course very hard for us to read non-fiction in Finnish.
What did I personally feel? I was distressed all 4 hours of the meeting. I felt uncomfortable. I felt anxiety. Would there be any joy of studying? I decided to quit that course, though I longed for it. I still feel really sad about what happened and I can´t say that I ever be so eager to join any course for immigrants in this country.
On the other hand, the case made me ponder on inclusion of immigrants which I´d like to study further some day.
I decided not to include any real full names or surnames in my post but to leave just the first letters of the names.