Do what you love – love what you do

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.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE
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

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.

bääbää let go

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

 

WHO AM I vol.2

WHO AM I vol.2

What do I gain from knowing myself? Why should I learn to know who I am?

According to my own experience as a teacher for 18,5 years now, I believe I know something about learning. It is easier for me if I admit it that my students won´t remember what I have taught them (what I have said). Does it mean that I am not a good teacher – could be, but I still have my doubts. Will they remember what I have done (no matter how much effort I put on updating my knowledge and making beautiful prezies or powerpoints)? I believe that they will and want to remember good experiences. If I succeed to create a feeling of prosperity and acceptance I have managed with something because they will remember the nice feelings they´ve had. This is something that has to do with me, knowing myself and knowing where I am standing professionally. I do care about what the student´s know and can do. The gap between my generation and the youth of today generation is big and growing. Among many other things this is why teaching right things in a right way is a interesting subject.

The employers are looking for the right person (and maybe suitable personality) and not necessarily the right competences or skills one has or might have. Work life competences are the skills one ought to possess. There we have the challenge to make it through and succeed as teachers in schools of today. We need to start teaching prosess by learning to know the life competences and learning to know who am I. What are those life competences then? To learn the student´s to know themselves. To find out who I am, what do I want, what do I know and what do I still need to learn. I need to have the ability to express myself. I need to have the ownership of my own learning as a student.

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How do I do that? I believe that the students capacity to find out who I am is not very good. It is not easy at all for a teenager all of a sudden at the age of 15 or 16 to answer a question about who I am or what are my strenghts, what can I do or what I am good at? Why is it so difficult? Because we are not tought to explain others about such things. This is something that needs to be tought at schools in Finland. We are lacking of self-confidence and encouragement for a stronger self-knowledge. Through stronger self-knowledge like knowing who I am and what do I want we will reach a stronger ownership in learning I believe. Attitude is a key word and solution for many problems, attitude fostering is important to invest at. Learning by doing gives a possibility to grip in that area.

 

We know what we are,
but know not what we may be.

William Shakespeare

Photos Mikko Hankaniemi Photos by Prince David & Luke Tanis on Unsplash

Written by Natascha Skog

Design thinking as a mindset

Design thinking as a mindset

In Icebath we have an urge to be a part of creating a more desirable future. Design Thinking has inspired us to see teaching differently. We want our students to feel the confidence that they can be the best version of themselves that they are expected to be and that they can manage the difficult challenges that they will face during their studies and in the future work life. We think enacting thoughts and ideology from design thinking gives us optimism that is well needed in education.

im working my craft

In teaching and learning we face challenges every single day that need new ways of thinking, design thinking. After the reform in vocational education in Finland new teaching requires new ways of thinking and design thinking offers us a great method.

Design thinking in a nut shell.  Teachers offer students learning opportunities the challenges, students find out the way they approach it and what they will learn from it. This way students are able to see opportunities and have the ownership on their tasks, they start thinking what they can create. The process continues, what do I think about this, what is my IDEA, how do I build it, I try, practice, practice, practice and I will evolve.

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The most important task on the way is personal growth. That is why we need teachers with reflective ability and good self awareness that they can get the best out of their students.

Photos Mikko Hankaniemi,  Craft your growht Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash Practice, Practice, practice, practice Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Written by Annele Heikkila