OAJ's Executive Board has awarded the the Education Influencer of the year award to all Finnish teachers. Olli Luukkainen, the President of the OAJ, announced the recipients of the recognition at the teaching and education sector event Educa that was held online this year.
According to Olli Luukkainen, every Finnish teacher and supervisor in the sector has had a rough time over the past year.
– With this recognition, the OAJ Executive Board wants to draw attention to the entire education sector and how they have stretched thin in difficult circumstances, and to thank the teachers for their long-term and strong work for learning, growing as a person, education and competence, even in exceptional circumstances, at all levels of education. This is an exceptionally excellent achievement on a global scale, Luukkainen states.
The OAJ Executive Board wants to draw attention to the entire education sector and how they have been stretched thin in difficult circumstances.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Educa fair was organised as an online event this year. At the event, Anna Renfors received the award on behalf of all her colleagues. She works in Lempäälä as a teacher of Finnish and literature and, as the President of the OAJ Council, represents teachers and supervisors from all levels of education.
– In March 2020, the everyday work turned upside down for me, my colleagues and every Finnish teacher. It has not been easy to do this demanding work, I can see it both in my own daily life and from the research conducted by OAJ. It has been hard for many Finnish teachers and supervisors to cope in this situation. I think it is important that, after such a year, teachers' hard work is recognised, also publicly, says Anna Renfors.
The importance of the work has been noticed in a new way
OAJ's Executive Board has awarded the Education Influencer of the year award since 2010. Proposals for the award have been collected from OAJ's local organisations.
The criteria include long-term and strong work in education and training, a particular training activity during the past year, new and innovative activities, and regional or local visibility.
– In the past, individuals have often been acknowledged in sharing the award. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic year, it wouldn't seem right to ignore the efforts of all teachers and, for example, principals and heads of daycare centres. All Finnish teachers meet each of the criteria set for the award.In exceptional circumstances, the importance of teachers' work has also been noticed outside the sector in a new way. Teachers are educational influencers every day in everything they do, allowing us to trust that society has a better future ahead of it, Luukkainen says.
All Finnish teachers meet each of the criteria set for the award.
Renfors says she admires the creative skills of teachers, even in rapidly changing situations.
– Teaching involves working close to the learners and supporting everyone personally. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to come up with new ways to be teachers and promote everyone's learning. I admire the professionalism of every Finnish teacher who has survived this task, and I appreciate the supervisor in the sector, to whom the pandemic has brought a huge amount of extra work, from reorganising teaching to COVID-19 tracing, Renfors says.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to come up with new ways to be teachers and promote everyone's learning.
To celebrate the award, OAJ will hold a remote celebratory gala for its members in the spring. Renfors is looking forward to the event.
– There have been just a few joint meetings over the past year. Even though the gala has to be held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems important that there is something to look forward to ahead of us, something that brings joy and variety to everyday life.
The members' gala will be held in spring 2021, and more information will be sent to OAJ members by email in March.