So this awesome thing that happened to me recently is that I was awarded Teacher of the Year by my opettajankoulutuslaitos students, aka the future classroom teachers of Finland. I could try to play it cool and say it was no big deal, but you guys, it meant SO much to me. I have loved teaching these students over the past year, and to know that that appreciation was at least in some small way reciprocated...it felt really good.
It also felt good to get all dressed up and go to the gala (yes, GALA) where the award was given! I have not dressed up that fancy since my own wedding (and it's entirely possible that my own wedding was not even as fancy). The theme was 1920s and the venue was the old fire station downtown. It was snowing. Everyone looked so glamorous. The food was delicious. I was there with Jeremy. It was amazing.
The third-year students were in charge of the entertainment and they put on quite the show. I am becoming quite a fan of Finnish humor - it is so incredibly dry. The things they say and do! With such straight faces! It was hilarious. There were also some legit quality musical numbers - what are the odds that out of a group of 80ish college juniors, you could put on several good musical numbers with real instruments and singing and talent? Impressive.
Ah, then the award. I went up on stage to accept it and then gave a mini-speech, which I will end with here. Basically I said: working for the Language Centre, I teach groups of students from many different faculties. Here are a few things I've noticed about the OKL students. 1. They come to class and do their work, which is so appreciated. 2. They love to laugh [seriously they do], which I, in turn, love. And 3. they are the loveliest, warmest people you will meet in all of Finland. I had heard such amazing things about these helper teachers from kids at my daughters' school [where they do their student teaching] and so when I met them in person last January, it was like having classes full of famous people. And even though I had such an inflated image of them from the start, I was not disappointed one bit over the course of the year. They really are just that amazing. So this award is an honor, but the real honor has been to get to know these students as individuals.
(I wrote the speech in my mind while we were eating dinner at the gala. It was important to me to not read something from a paper. This means that it probably came out a bit jumbled, but I think they got the idea.)
Sigh. Dressing up and getting awards is SO MUCH FUN. Here is a picture overload. When Bridget dresses up, pictures must be taken because it does not happen that often!