Where is she now?! with Ms. Haug

To much surprise, the walls of Canfield High School extend far beyond the boundaries of the building. Former English teacher Ms. Haug has extended her borders to the far reaches of Finland, where she learns of culture, creativity and coffee.

Though once a teacher at Canfield High School, her role has switched to that of a student.

“For the qualifications for teaching in Finland, you need to have a Master’s Degree. So technically, I’m not qualified at all. I’m a student, but I do work as a barista now. It’s at a city center in a really busy cafe,” she said about the change.

The education system in Finland differs greatly from the United States.

“[Education in Finland] is so much freer. It’s completely different from the United States. Basically starting from grade school- the kids don’t start until they’re seven- they don’t start until first grade officially, and they really don’t do any pre-education, so they really focus on play. From that stage on, they switch classes as well,” Haug continued.

Students in the United States are accustomed to the same mundane schedule and routine every day. Haug describes how the students of a Finnish first grade teacher do not follow the same daily schedule.

“You guys have the same schedule every single day for the same times, but if they start off the day with study hall, they wouldn’t have to come to school until 9:30. And if they have a study hall at the end, they just go home. It’s a lot less homework, but a lot more breaks,” she said. “It’s just different. It’s so cold right now in Helsinki, but you will see all of the kids outside in the snow every day. Like, it’s really important to be outside and have your break and to maximize your time. And their schedule is different every day so they don’t get stuck in a really rote routine, kind of how we do.”

Though Haug raved about the benefits of Finnish education, she also recounted what she loved about America, as well.

“My classes are once a week for an hour and a half which, for me, is a huge commitment. For the last half hour I’m thinking about what I want to eat and what I need to be doing. It’s hard for me to focus for that long,” Haug admitted. “But at the same time I have so much freedom. I don’t know, because I loved a lot of my teachers at YSU. You can build a sense of community when you’re with people all the time, and sometimes in Finland I feel that a really strong community isn’t there so much. It’s just different.”

Finally, when asked where she plans to take her newfound perspective on education, Haug answered honestly: “That’s the million dollar question, that’s what everyone wants to know from me. I’m not sure. I’m away from home, and I miss home, but at the same time I’m making a home here in Finland. So, when I think that I’m supposed to graduate this Spring, it’s terrifying because I have to write my 60 page paper and I’m only 5 in. When I think about leaving Finland I get heartbroken at the prospect, because there’s so much I love about this country.”

We have no doubt here at The Cardinal that Ms. Haug’s diverse education and cultured experiences will take her far.

To listen to the full interview, click the link above!