Shaping futures

Teachers are building better futures for everyone. 


If you had to name one teacher you will always remember, who would you name? Share your story and say #ThankYouTeacher!

11 stories about commitment

Teachers are guided by human values.

Thank you, teacher!

Seela Sella, Ina Mikkola, Jani Toivola and Peter Nyman share their stories about teachers who meant a lot to them during their time at school. Now it's your turn. #ThankYouTeacher

Tasked to shape the future

We are building the future at all levels of education – starting from early childhood education – to benefit each learner and all of Finland.

It's time to say #ThankYouTeacher

Teachers have carried each of us forward. Ina, Jani, Peter and Seela share their stories about teachers who have meant a lot to them. Now it's your turn to say #ThankYouTeacher.

Teachers have an agenda

Contrary to popular belief, teachers do follow an agenda. They have committed themselves to significant values.


Read our letter to Finland!

Dear Finland, we teachers play many different roles in the lives of many people. We are supporters, educators and adults whom your children can trust and be safe with. We teach everything from grammar and social skills to integral calculus and the basics of welding. We foster curiosity. We teach what it means to be human.
We educate the professionals, experts and problem-solvers in every field – the people building a better future, the voters and the taxpayers.
We are proud of our competence and the value of our work. We have a direct impact on providing everyone with the opportunity to discover their own strengths and pursue their dreams.
To see the joy of learning that we get to witness each and every day in our ECEC centres, schools and educational institutions! Or the moments when fear turns to a sense of security and worries to bright future aspirations. It is a privilege to behold the entire journey that sees learners of different ages find their own path and voice, clearer day by day.
We are there to witness it. At the same time, we can see that we are already stretched too thin. 
The work of teachers knows no bounds, but there is only so much one teacher can do. Exhaustion is taking a toll on more and more of our colleagues. Reforms follow one after the other, and the workload grows year by year. But that doesn’t show in our wages. Many professionals in the education sector are now considering changing their career altogether. The extra workload and worry for our health brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have only added to the stress.
Currently, the OAJ and employers are negotiating pay in the education sector.

The negotiations are not only related to whether the arduousness of our work and the high level of education required to do our work competently are reflected in our next month’s pay. They’re also about us being able to hold on to our world-class teachers and bring new and competent professionals into the sector. The issue is of utmost importance for Finland as a whole.

 This is why footnotes or passing words of praise in a formal speech are simply not enough. There must be appropriate compensation for the invaluable work we do.
Teachers are tasked with shaping the future.

Best regards,
teachers, principals, ECEC centre managers and other professionals in the education sector


97 %

Finns regard the work of teachers as important for the entire society.

9 / 10

Nine out of ten Finns agree that the work of teachers is demanding and responsible.


Teachers are tasked with shaping the future

Teachers are tasked with shaping the future. They are creating the foundation for tomorrow’s world.

But the work has become increasingly more heavy. Teachers have been stretched thin for a long time and are now working at their limits.


Appreciative words are simply not enough anymore

According to research, Finns do value the work of teachers.

We understand that their demanding and responsible work impacts the future of students and the whole of Finland.

Let’s make the importance of their work visible together!


37 %

Only every third teacher feels that their work is appreciated. It is time to show the appreciation in real actions.

60 %

Six out of ten teachers feel that their workload is too big.

57 %

Six in ten Finnish teachers are now considering career change


Let’s highlight the importance of teachers’ work together  

We invite everyone to take part in the campaign. You can help us to highlight our worries about the well-being of teachers, regardless of whether you work in the education sector yourself or not.

Let’s make it loud and clear that it’s time for decision-makers and employers to show their appreciation for teachers. Teachers, too, deserve appropriate working conditions and to have the value of their work reflected in the salary.


Appropriate compensation for the invaluable work

OAJ is currently undergoing negotiations about the salaries of the education sector. The objective is a multiannual salary programme that would close the unfairly grown pay gap.

OAJ negotiates

Teachers must be able to focus on teaching

Teachers need the possibility to support their students. They need less cluttered tasks and projects, better readjustment of teacher resources and the possibility to support students.

OAJ has an influence

High-quality teaching is an investment in the future

In Finland, almost two billion euros more are required for education at the annual level if we wish to bridge the gap to the other Nordic countries.

Education is an investment

Participate in the campaign!

Even small actions help tremendously if we all make them. We encourage the education sector professionals to proudly promote their competence and share the aspect of their everyday work that cannot be seen by most people.

We also encourage everyone else – people just like you – to use social media, for example, and share their thoughts about what makes the work of teachers so important. Take part in the campaign today – it only takes a little of your time.

Sign our shared message

Have you already signed our shared message to Finland? Almost 13 000 teachers did it in Spring 2022!

If you're one of them, let people know about this on social media and share a link to this campaign page,

Share your colleague’s story

Read and share at least one of the interview articles of the campaign.

  • Early childhood education teacher Maria
  • Class teacher Jussi
  • Vocational teacher Johanna
  • University lecturer Mika

You can also read the previously published interviews of 11 professionals working in different positions in the education sector.

Show your support for teachers

Thank you for being here! The fact that you are here shows that your heart is in the right place and that you genuinely value the work of competent education sector professionals.
With small actions, you can help us to make people understand the importance of the work of teachers and supervisors of the education sector.

Their work must not be taken for granted – it is time for the appreciation for teachers to also be reflected in the salary level and working conditions, for instance. This benefits the whole of Finland.

Share a teacher’s story

Read and share at least one of the four interview articles of the campaign.

Want more to read and share? Check out these 11 interviews that were published previously in this campaign.

Share your thoughts about the importance of teachers and encourage your friends to participate!

Last autumn on the World Teacher Day, we encouraged everyone to stop and think about the important role of teachers in our lives.

Share your appreciation for teachers that have been important in your life using the hashtag #ThankYouTeacher!

Get inspired by the stories shared by Jani Toivola, Seela Sella, Ina Mikkola and Peter Nyman.
Remember to also encourage your friends to participate – you can share the campaign website with them!



#ThankYouTeacher: Tips for participation

Read more about our social media tips and use the #ThankYouTeacher hashtag to tell us who has helped you get to where you are now.

1. Share your story as a Facebook post with the tag #ThankYouTeacher

Which teacher would you like to thank and why? Share your story as a Facebook post and say #thankyouteacher.

Share with your followers a memory about a meaningful encounter with a teacher. It can be as simple as this:

  • I remember my art teacher, Hanna, who let me be my creative self and try different techniques. Hanna encouraged me to express my creativity. Without her, I might not have seen the potential I had as a visual designer. #thankyouteacher

2. Share one of OAJ’s campaign updates

During the autumn, OAJ will publish lots of campaign content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including videos and articles where Finnish celebrities talk about teachers who are important to them.

Follow OAJ and share the updates!

  • OAJ on Facebook
  • OAJ on Instagram and Twitter: @oajry
  • OAJ on LinkedIn: Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö OAJ

3. Share your #thankyouteacher picture or video on Instagram

Instagram focuses on visual presentation, so we would like to encourage you to use Instagram to publish a picture of you and a cherished memory from your school days.

For example, you can take a picture at your workplace if you feel you would not be in your current field without encouragement from a teacher. Of course, you can also share an old school photo or a photo of yourself during your studies.

Share with your followers a memory about a meaningful encounter with a teacher. For example:

  • I remember my art teacher, Hanna, who let me be my creative self and try different techniques. Hanna encouraged me to express my creativity. Without her, I might not have seen the potential I had as a visual designer. #thankyouteacher @oajry

Remember to use the hashtag #thankyouteacher in your post. We will publish some #ThankYouTeacher photos shared on public accounts on our campaign pages. We are happy to also share your photo on OAJ’s Instagram account. If it is OK with you, please mention @oajry in your post! 

3. Materials for associations

OAJ’s associations can use OAJ-areena to download and use additional messaging material.

Teacher appreciation project on OAJ-areena


Teachers are guided by human values

Teachers and the supervisors in the field are highly educated professionals who have committed themselves to values far more important than political ideologies. Teachers’ work is guided by human values, such as education and fairness.  
These values are reflected in the laws and syllabuses as well as in the ethical principles of teachers stated in the Comenius’ Oath .



Committed to shaping futures

More than 100,000 teachers work in daycare centres, schools and educational institutions in Finland. Usually the supervisors in the sector – from heads of daycare centres to principals – also have a teacher background. What do the teachers think about their work? What are the values they are committed to?

Read their stories!

11 stories about commitment


Piano teacher: Learning requires a feeling that we are on the same side

Born into a family of musicians, Kari Tikkala has become an award-winning concert pianist in his career. His career as a musician has taught...


Vocational teacher: Experiences of success build student's belief in themselves

Vocational teacher Kimmo Siuruainen says that commitment to work starts from understanding what kind of example he gives to young students. ...


Upper secondary school language teacher: The most important thing in the work is human interaction

Pirjo Väli-Torala dreamed of being a teacher from an early age as she enjoyed school so much. Twenty years as an upper secondary school lang...


The principal directs, inspires and leads the work community in the right direction

As a teacher, Tuula Herkepeus, the principal of the Kivimaa school, saw how important a teacher is for a child's growth. Now, as a principal...


Director of a daycare centre: Increasing positivity and openness to the world are the core tasks of education

When Annukka Hulkkonen graduated from the University of Oulu in 1996, early childhood education had only been accepted as a university subje...


"It is a rewarding moment when a child goes to play with a smile after crying"

Samira Ouazizi is studying to become an early childhood education teacher and, as a teacher, she wants to guarantee for every child a safe o...


A teacher encourages colleagues to be merciful – being genuinely present is more important than perfection

Reetta Nisonen teaches visual arts for students in both upper comprehensive school and upper secondary school. She also acts as an internshi...


Class teacher: Without education, there is no education nor a functioning society

Joanna Lukkarila teaches primary school pupils in the middle of Helsinki's vibrant city centre. For her, the ultimate meaning of a teacher's...


A university lecturer relies on high and concrete goals in his teaching

Jonas Lagerström, a University Lecturer in economics, says that setting goals high motivates students and makes them work harder. The teache...


University of Applied Sciences teacher: The best thing about my job is seeing the student's professional growth

Kristiina Mutka-Vierula is a long-standing teacher who wants to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship and community in her work. Stil...


Early childhood education teacher: It is a big thing to teach small children

It is important for Aleksi Vehmassalo, an early childhood education teacher, to offer children a safe childhood and growth environment. His ...


Tips for participation

#Committed: Proudly tell us about your work

Teachers are the best experts of their own work. Participate in the Sitoutunut (committed) campaign by sharing a photo of yourself on your own social media channels. Use hashtag #sitoutunut #Committed and tell your followers and friends what you value in your work the most.

Do you have important things to say?

OAJ wants to help Finns reach a new kind of understanding on matters that make the teacher’s work so important. However, we are not hiding the shortcomings. All teaching professionals have experienced the difficulty of the work and work-related stress. We will give them an opportunity to tell their opinions by publishing their contribution in the Painava sana blog.

Vote for an education-oriented candidate

Teachers are masters of shaping the future. However, the future is shaped in cooperation. Show your appreciation to teachers’ work by voting for an education-oriented candidate in the Municipal Election. You can find them from OAJ’s candidate selection engine.




What do you value the most in your work and which moments are the most meaningful for you in your work? We encourage all teachers and supervisors in the field – from heads of daycare centres to principals – to proudly tell us about their work. 

Use a Facebook frame!

Facebook is the most commonly used social media service of OAJ’s members. No wonder, as nearly 70% of Finns use Facebook.  

 A nice way to tell about your own work in Facebook is to add a Sitoutunut frame to your profile picture. You can easily find the frame by searching the frame selection with word #Sitoutunut. 

 More detailed instructions are available here.

Share your photo in social media and tell us which values you are #sitoutunut #committed

Approximately 50% of Finns use Instagram. Photos are emphasised in Instagram, so we encourage teachers who are using Instagram to share a black-and-white photo of themselves imitating the advertisement photos of the campaign.   

Take a selfie or ask a friend to take a photo of you against a peaceful background. Upload the photo to Instagram and select the black-and-white filter.   

Share your commitments in your post to your followers. For example: In my work as a class teacher, I have committed myself to respecting everyone. This is what the world needs, and everyone should learn to respect others from a very early age. #sitoutunut  

We will publish some #sitoutunut photos shared on public accounts on our campaign pages. We are happy to also share your photo on OAJ’s Instagram account. If it is OK for you, please mention @oajry in your post!  



Make your contribution!

Teachers and supervisors in the field are the best experts in their own work. They know both the significance of the work and its disadvantages. The Painava Sana blog gives them the floor.

Do you have an experience you want to share that could help non-educators understand what makes work so important but at the same time demanding and stressful? Send your tips to OAJ's Heikki Pölönen at .


What is OAJ’s campaign about? 

The strategy approved by the OAJ Council in 2020 requires actions from the organisation to improve the appreciation of its members. This campaign is one way of implementing the organisation’s strategy. The campaign, in which OAJ highlights the significance of teachers from different perspectives, will last until the summer of 2022. 

 Where do the messages of the appreciation campaign come from? 

 Members were engaged already at the planning phase of the appreciation campaign. A survey carried out at the end of 2020 clarified what they are proud of about their work – and, on the other hand, what aspects of their work they would like Finns to understand better. All campaign actions are created on the basis of the results of this survey. OAJ’s activists were separately engaged in the preparations in January 2021. 

 Why use the members’ money for this?  

Our strategy requires that we strengthen the appreciation of the work performed by our members. This again requires that our communication reaches people other than those working in the field. This is the reason why we advertise on channels followed by Finns and these channels play a significant role in the campaign.   

The Council has allocated MEUR 1.5 to the campaign for 2021. This amount enables us to reach Finns comprehensively and, thereby, open up new perspectives on the meaning of the members’ work.  

 Wouldn’t it be more important to address the problems in the field? 

 OAJ’s key task is to monitor the interests of its members and create security for them as working life changes. OAJ implements this key task every day – at the national level as well as regionally and locally. 

 Although we area highlighting the meaning and value of our work, we are not hiding the problems in the field. We tell about the difficulty of the work and work-related stress, for example, in the Sitoutunut articles. We also publish the statements of teachers and supervisors in the field in the Painava sana blog, where we boldly address even the most difficult issues.  

 Give feedback and share your ideas!  

The teaching appreciation project is led by OAJ’s Web Communications Manager Heikki Pölönen. Give feedback or share your ideas via email! The address is