More me when abroad

More me when abroad

It´s been a while since I have been working with my international colleagues and I have to admit I really miss working in different countries with different people and using different languages. To be honest my last work trip abroad was in October and it seems like forever ago to me. Even though I work in an international atmosphere every day I miss that certain feeling that I have when working abroad.

I have been thinking why I´m so keen on internationalization and meeting new people who come from different cultures and countries.  It is obvious that travelling and working abroad enables me to develop new skills, languages, cultural awareness, social skills but among those I have realized I´m more alert when abroad. I have to focus on language and different cultural habits, but that alertness takes me there what I believe is the reason why I truly love international work.

I believe when I´m working in different challenging situations I´m taken out of my comfort zone, some people find it awkward and unpleasant, especially when they have to work with another language than their own. Instead I find it rewarding and I find myself more true to myself and others. This only tells my story where I come from, why I feel this way and can´t be generalized.

I believe when I´m working out of my comfort zone I´m more likely to drawing strength and security inside of myself. I´m using basic trust that has been given to me on my early childhood. Basic trust is built in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation towards all circumstances and that allows people to relax and see situations as learning opportunities. Basic trust can be developed in trustful and respectful relationships. Yes, I´m thankful for my early childhood, it has had a remarkable meaning in my life. It has given me the orientation to my life. But why am I so keen on working abroad and with different languages?

When a child feels good about themselves, it sets them up for success. When you are able to carry on this feeling in your life it takes you there.

You can´t choose the family you are born into. I was born in very board-minded, accepting and international one. My mom was sent abroad when she was 16, of course her family had international connections and they had the experience that travelling and meeting other people from different cultures brought some interesting extra into their lives. My grandfather had lived abroad a great part of his adult life, before he was ready to settle down and start a family. So, I was sent abroad when I turned 16 and so was my daughter. In that age of 16 you are vulnerable, but eager to experience. This allows you to a straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, how will your basic trust take over and carry you trough out your life. I was able to have that experience that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine. I had an experience that reality was ultimately good, I could trust myself and find different circumstances trustworthy, but you must remember that this belief had been built in me already.  I could relax and see situations as learning opportunities and that way I also learned from life among new culture and language.

Later on, when I graduated from college it was obvious to me to start my career abroad and I did. I wanted to be contacted to that feeling of vulnerability and confidence at the same time. I have a feeling that when you are forced to that vulnerability you are more open to who you are, you are more you. This is the reason  I enjoy working abroad, being more me, learning more about myself. At the same time, being vulnerable and having this straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, it gives you all the information about yourself. Positive and negative. How you handle all this information is based on your reflective ability.

Reflective ability is a quintessential human capacity that is needed to be able to successfully navigate the information flood that you have inside of you, all the feelings, actions and their co-operation or disconnections. It is learnable process and can be developed through out your life.

You should ask thoughtful reflective questions from yourself to reflect on your actions. When you are merciful and compassionate towards yourself, even how odd and outrageous your actions can be, you will help yourself probe deeper to your complexity and this will encourage you to better self-reflection. Just always pause and ask, why I´m acting this way. Simple as that…

Thoughtful questions to yourself will help you move forward with focus and intent. Trough out these inner conversations you will gain confidence and become more skilled at working through tough problems without hurting yourself or people around you. You will start to spread an atmosphere that allows you among other people to grow towards more aware and better people.

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In two weeks my longing will be over. I will catch the plane and head towards Köln, Germany, to work, but most of all to be more connected to myself. I know I will have situations that I have no clue how the handle them, but I know I can trust myself. I know that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine.

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photo Lia Heikkilä

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do what you love – love what you do

Who am I to do what I want to do?

Why is that? How wrong I was. I had seen my own mother working as a teacher my whole childhood and I thought that it is not what I wanted. It was because I had a stereotypical picture of a teachers job. I did not think of what I could do as a teacher nor what I wanted to do as a teacher. A lot has happened in the world ever since and a lot has changed in me also during that period of time. What I am happy about today is that I actually am a teacher, coach and a mentor today. But, did I back that time know what I wanted to do or be? No I didn’t know. The help I got from the school or from home didn’t really help me much because I simply didn’t know myself well enough.

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I wish I could forward my students today something that I have learned during the journey into myself. I don’t mean anything they can Google or learn from the books but something totally different. What is it then that I could or maybe should teach them? Self-knowledge maybe? Self-knowledge is something that should be taught. Yes I know, it sounds rediculous and maybe even stupid but it is true. Many of us people in the world of today don’t know who we are nor what we want to be or do. We follow our peers, parents, relatives, authorities or we fulfill some kind of obligations (specially youth at schools). Unfortunatelly I say so and I also mean it. It is lost energy, lost potential, lost resources and lost selfhood at worst. So who am I and what do I want are relevant questions.

How do I do that – teach self-knowledge? There are for sure as many ways of doing that as there are teachers. I start with asking my students who are you, what can you do or what are you good at? An awful difficult questions for being so simple ones you might think. Then I continue with what would you like to be better at? But still one of the most important things after knowing what I can do and what I can’t do is though what do I dream about. What would I wish to do the most in my life? Now we are talking about personal skills and abilities. What could I do with my own personal skills and abilities and then if or when I know what I want to do what would I have to learn to be able to fulfill my own dreams? I believe that the motivation for learning something I know that I want to learn and that I need to know is better than just learning something in storage. Even learning something that I am not fully interested in is easier with a motivation for that than without it.

Where would we be and what would we do if we were doing something we really want and love to do? It would be hundred times easier to forgive ourselves a mistake or a failure than it is otherwise. By the way, doing something even if it was a failure is better than doing nothing. By a failure you at least gain with experience but doing nothing weakens everything and not least your self-respect. The treshold grows bigger and bigger to start with anything after a while. Of course we need good experiences and we will get some by doing something. That is why I recommend you to learn to know yourself. To know what you can do and what you want to do, then it is easier to start doing something.

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LOVE WHAT YOU DO

What do I gain from doing what I love and loving what I do? Better self-confidence which again allows me easier to accept that I can’t or won’t always succeed. I make mistakes but it is not the whole world to fail. I can also learn to be glad about failing. We all do mistakes. I am a valuable person anyway and I am not judged because of my mistakes and even if I was judged it doesn’t matter. I can and will take it and make it further. My good self-esteem allows me my own mistakes because I am doing what I love so I can love what I am doing no matter what happens. I can proudly stand for what I do.

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Would world be a more beautiful place to live at when we do what we love and love what we do? In my opinion yes. More positive attitude with an ownership of what you are doing than without it. Decide what it is you want to do and then start working for that and do it. Don’t think of all the reasons for not succeeding but all the possibilities what succeeding will bring you.

I can not always choose what I am doing but mainly I can. I do what I love, what I am good at and I can use my strengths. I am positive to what I am doing and I learn something new every day in my life. I do not succeed with everything that I am doing but I know that it is not even possible to succeed always. I am blessed and thankful that I can do what I love so I can love what I do.

I encourage you to DO WHAT YOU LOVE ❤️ you have more to give and more to get. Be positive – life is not always easy but when you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it, it is easier to LOVE WHAT YOU DO ❤️

Written by Natascha Skog

Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

 

 

 

Spontaneus after work discussion

Spontaneus after work discussion

As we have mentioned earlyer we found after work discussions very evolving. On friday we met for a late lunc or should I call it a dunch after work. We had an inspirational conversation about our future plans and dreams among personal life updates.

We also discussed about what have we gained participating to different Erasmus+ projects. We have noticed that participating to international projects enables us to develop new skills; we have been able to get to know first-hand information of another European educational system, learn and share new ideas and explore the best practices to take back to Finland. We also have learned a lot from ourselves. Video was shot on a whim, totally spontaneus.

 

Video Laura Nikkanen, editing Annele Heikkilä

Coffice for your brain and body!

Coffice for your brain and body!

A change of an environment stimulates creativity. Working in the office, even though in the most creative and inspiriting one, we can fall into a routine. A routine blocks the creativity. Changing your environment, even just for a day, brings new types of input and stimulation, which in turn stimulates creativity and inspiration and effects right how you will perform.

Many of us spend most of our time on a laptop, writing, designing or doing anything else that does not depend on other people. Sometimes there is no reason to stay at the office. People argue that meetings are essential, even though the majority of the employees consider meetings as a waste of time. Of course, there are meaningful meetings, meetings you get inspired by, but it is very important to think during every meeting is this necessary, what do we learn or develop out of this, what is the purpose of this. Don´t just encage peoples time with purposeless meetings.

Effects on ergonomics

Static work is one that requires a contraction of muscles to maintain a position thus producing a high physical stress of the employee. Coffice can effect positively to this physical stress. It is very significant for our to change position often. Cofficing offers your body different stimulation, because the layout of our workin enviroment is different than in the usual office.  With the change of layout we give new experiences to our bodies and that way we influence the body memory and brain tracks. In my working place there is an open office where employees can choose every single morning in which desktop they want to be seated for that day. Change is good for the body and soul and that way to our creativity!

As well as our bodies need to have certain relaxed state of being, our brain and mind need that too.  Coffice will offer you breaks where you can focus on something that is not attached with your work. It might turn out that these aimless engagement moments in an activity are a great catalyst for free association.

You can become less aware of your environment and more aware of your internal thoughts. This is what we appreciate in Icebath to get to know yourself, how you are doing, what you are thinking and feeling and what your mind has to offer you today. ”Know your unknowns!”

When you’re focused on a specific task with your work your thinking tends to be linear. This means when you are working on a problem your brain tends to fix on one or a few different strategies. To solve the problem you need more, you need to open your brain for a free association.

Take a break, get inspired of the different people in the coffice and notice that those thought patterns no longer dominate your thinking. As you feel yourself comfortable and relaxed in your environment your ideas become untethered, they are free to attach up against other ideas they’ve never had the chance to encounter.

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Stress relieving coffee

Relax. You deserve it, it’s good for you! Suits you as well as red lipstick!

There are studies that show that freshly brewed coffee can actually be beneficial for you. Coffee may have the potential to reduce emotional and physical stress. In the same way that coffee affects brain chemistry to keep you alert, its effects on neurotransmitters may help your body fight off symptoms of stress and stress-related diseases. Take a sip of coffee and relax knowing you may be helping your body unwind.

I have met some people who say that they don’t have time to take a break during their busy day. Even just 10 minutes out of your hectic day gives your mind and body time to de-stress by calming your heart rate, relaxing your muscles and letting your mind slow down. Also simply smelling the coffee may have antioxidant benefits and bring about brain changes that can help to promote calmness. Raise up your body, change position, sit back and smell the coffee!

I enjoy cofficing very much since it combines two of my favourite things coffee and work! Of course I can´t hang out in the coffee shops every day and don´t even want to, but it sure is one of the refreshing ways to cheer up your day at work.  Working in the coffice remotely is all about self-management and being able to focus completely on work, isolating everything else around you. In Icebath we like to aspirate in different environments. One of the most memorable and most effecting places we have worked is Burggarten park in Vienna! People in Vienna go to play there, meet your colleagues there and be surprised how effective that place is! You may take coffee to go as well.

Cofficing is not for everyone, but I should recommend that you try it before you abandon it. Maybe if you are working during the hot summer months, as I will be, because of my new job, go for a coffee with your laptop, give it a shot and see how it goes. Don´t plan to stay too long on your first time, so the thought of it wont´t get too stressful. If working in coffice is definitely not for you, do something else that challenge your body memory and brain tracks and be aware the new ideas you will get!

Written and photos Annele Heikkilä

Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Known knowns (Things we know that we know them)

  • We learn best by doing, we know that.

Why it is hard sometimes to see results even when you teach “learn by doing – way”. There are few reasons. One is that school is not real, in sense that even though you might have job like simulation, something still seems to be missing. I think that this missing thing is students’ motivation. There are no sense of danger making mistakes and losing your job. There is no fear that you are losing a patient. School is school, it’s not real life, most of student’s think. They are used to being in school. Almost all their life. They are not mentally prepared to work in school as much as we would like. Think about your first days at work, you are 100% focused (and maybe more stressed and more nervous). Think about you after one year. Not so focused maybe anymore. Think 10 years. Then think how much you are willing to re-learn or educate yourself more and be focused every day. It isn’t that easy. It takes more mental preparation to be that focused and have high energy.

Teaching by simulation is still the best way. That’s the part where important teaching comes in, that dreaded word teaching. Teaching in sense that you learn your ropes with guidance of teacher and have relatively safe environment to succeed and make mistakes. Teachers guidance is super important in this point to give advice and feedback and prepare students for future. I think we teachers know that and know that we know that.

 

Things we know that we don’t know them

  • Why are honeybees dying? We know that they are dying, but we don’t know why.

Let’s say our student works at shop. Shop sells different items there, clothes, candies, coffee etc. When he comes to work first time, what he does not know, but needs to know? Prices of course. What else? How to make coffee, how to use cash register, where shops clothes are coming from, what material they are, and so on. We have to know what our student does not know so he or she can be better at his job. We teachers as our students, must know our unknowns. Let’s think about that simulation again. Can we simulate everything? Off course not. Can we teach or prepare them for everything? Off course not. How we prepare our students to things that can’t be simulated, like real life situations where you might feel anxiety or stress. At least to my knowledge best way is to prepare them mentally and have them practice in job like situation as much as possible, so that they build confidence in their abilities and most likely will stress less at work and be better workers.

 

Unknown unknowns

  • World can explode tomorrow (we did have no clue and did not think it as possibility)

Hardest part to write and think about. How to think unknown unknowns? There might be even better ways to learn and teach. Maybe we don’t know yet that our brains can learn faster and more efficiently, but we have no clue about it. Something completely unknown thing. These are things that comes completely from unknown to us. Do we have to teach it? How we teach? Can we teach it, if by definition, we do not know what kind of situations are coming at us? I think if you are mentally strong it’s easier to handle those kind of things, and humans are very good at adapting to different situations. We can prepare our students to be more mentally strong and help them to be strong in hard situations. That’s about it, that we can do.

 

Unknown knowns

  • The things that we know but are unaware of knowing.

Most interesting of all maybe. In Slavoj Zizek’s words: “these are things that exist and have been influencing our life and our approach to reality, but we are unaware of knowing them, or we do not realize their value, or worst we refuse to acknowledge knowing them”. Like Freudian unconscious. How aware are we in our teaching methods? We have read and read about good teaching ways, but how much our past life experience affects us? Do we force some kind of ideology in to our pupils? Ideology and customs that were taught to us and we are influenced by them (unknowingly). Like for example how to behave in different social situations, who to listen, who to not, etc. How we even define ideology today? Believe yourself, do what you want, we are all individuals, you can do anything in your life. etc. How much that kind of attitude we pour in to our students? Those attributes sound good in principle, but democracy to Iraq sounded good too.

 

Written by Samppa Toivonen

Craft your growth by changing a job – 10 reasons why people should change their jobs

Craft your growth by changing a job – 10 reasons why people should change their jobs

Challenching yourself, personal growth and crafting your growth are meaningfull topics in Ice Bath. Starting a new job is one way to craft your growth. It’s not definately most easiest one, but it can be the most effective one especially if you focus on your professional growth.

Since the topic is actual for myself I gathered 10 reasons why people should change their jobs.

1. Adrenalin. You probably never have been called an adrenaline junkie or adrenaline addict, but you might find yourself very attracted to the adrenalin rush you will get by changing your job. You don’t have to be a free fall jumper, skydiver, or another obvious type of danger-seeker to be hooked on the rush that comes from a little stress; adrenaline junkies come in much more subtle forms, even a Master of health sciences can be one. Just don’t get addicted to the feeling, addiction always harms the future.

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2. Colleagues. You will still be attached to your former colleagues, but among them you will get the new ones. I call it networking in big time.

3. They say you should change a job every 7 years. Yes I did go by the book! 7 years and 4 months and I got the urge to learn something new. It is easy to stay in your comfortzone. So easy, too easy.

 

4. You get to challenge yourself. ”If something that you’re doing doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.” Unknown

5. You will learn new things about yourself. You have been independent leader of yourself and your work, but Oh boy it feels good that you have to have a mentor who you can follow like a duck. You get the secure feeling when you see your mentor behind their desk in the morning. A mentor doesn’t even have a clue how much they mean to you, but you will enjoy the joy inside of you. You are meaningfull to someone, they give their time to make you feel comfortble. We need that feeling. We need to have moments when we are carried, to be able to carry others when needed.

6. If you are over 40 and a woman you get to know all your fears, especially if you change the city among the work. But well hey, you do want to get familiar with the dark side of yourself!

7. Step out of your comfort zone. Jumping to an ice bath is nothing comparing to a start of a new job. After a day in a new job you might end up having a dream where you find yourself in pyjamas in your former job. It just tells you about your feelings of how bare, exposed and insecure you can be. Luckily it happened in your former job, not the new one!

8. You get to give an expression that you are cleaver and taking all in even though you don’t have no idea what they are saying. You can just look smart and nod. Maybe the only time in your life that it is acceptable.

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9. You get to meet interesting people. Is there anything more interesting than meeting new people and to be able to be reflected by them. They see you in different light.

10.  The most important thing is that you are able to grow bigger than even you knew you had the potential for. When people get familiar with you they don’t always see all the knowledge and potential that you have. They see the good things about you and knowledge that is handy for everyone, but they and you might lose the rest that you have in you.

Changing the job is not a solution for everyone to craft their growth. It is important that you find your own way to craft your personal and professional growth. Just follow your dreams and ambitions!

Written Annele Heikkilä
Photos edited by Mikko Hankaniemi

TRUST, BELIEVE AND LET GO

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If I know who I am, what I know or can and what I want, is it easier for me then to make a plan how to get there where I want to be? We assume that self-confident students know maybe better what they want but not necessarily how to get there. In schools we teachers believe that when we teach the students will learn. The students need guidance but also good experiences of success. We teach but do we encourage and give enough good feedback? Does our students get the feelings of good experiences and success often enough?

Trusting someone means that you need to know the person well enough. Do we as teachers know our students on secondary vocational school level well enough? I would say no, in that sense what is meant here. Trusting yourself to my mind means that you need to know yourself and you need to be somewhat self-confident. Trusting in your students means that you need to know them as persons. The vocational school reform in Finland is pushing teachers to a situation where the only possibility to teach or coach your students and make a personal plan for the student is to learn to know them personally. To learn to know them personally well enough.

Project learning, entrepreneurial methods and close co-operation with companies e.g. order from a company or working life partner are methods used. These kind of methods insist that the teacher knows whom to place where to do what. So that you can trust and believe that the order will be done succesfully. The working life is looking for the right person. I as a teacher must know my students well enough to be able to send the right students to the right places in working life. I must trust and not only trust but also believe that they will be able to take care and manage the given tasks.

Trusting and believing in someone means that as a teacher I give a chance for the students to do something concrete. Learning is a process. During the process there will be many different stages. In learning by doing e.g. I can follow the process and teach or coach the students from a closer distance. I learn to know them better that way. In the situations where learning is organized by creating concret authentic situations will it also be easier for the students to remember and understand. Finally when I know my students well enough I have the faith and courage to give them feedback. Doing something concret is important. It can and will be remembered and realized better than just hearing or reading it. Success will appear at some stages of the process. When I as teacher am closely involved in the projects I can learn to trust, believe and finally let go when the time is ripe.

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Trust – believe – let go is a slogan for me and my team of colleagues nowadays. Not easy at all but it has been a learning process for us teachers also during the time of changes in vocational education here in Finland. We are pioneers and we are proudly enjoying it. We trust and believe that we are doing something good and right for the future. Letting go is challenging but it gives us more than it takes.

Written and photos by Natascha Skog