Your Finnish Teacher Leena-Maija

I have been a language freak since my first English lessons in primary school. It was fascinating to learn so many new things! I

It was clear that I wanted to study French as an optional language in addition to the compulsory languages when it became possible in lower secondary school. My inspiring and skilled French teacher and a nice group kept me motivated and I applied to university to study French.

I wanted to become a translator, so I started to minor in Finnish. My career dreams of becoming a translator faded, but my interest in my mother tongue Finnish never waned. I also found out that I liked teaching. So I graduated from the University of Turku as a teacher of French and mother tongue and literature. My pedagogical studies as a foreign language teacher gave me not only a lot of good methods, but also an important insight that a safe atmosphere is the basis for good teaching.

Finnish as a foreign language - my cup of tea

For years I taught mother tongue to vocational school studentsIn in my new hometown Hämeenlinna, but the interest in teaching Finnish as a foreign language, which had been awakened during my studies, remained alive. As a Finnish teacher, I could combine my professional skills as a foreign language teacher and my own experience of goal-oriented language learning with a deep understanding of the structure and essence of my mother tongue.  I completed the Finnish as a Second and Foreign Language studies at the University of Jyväskylä. The teaching internships I did during my studies convinced me that I had found my field.


Teaching adults in integration training and vocational school in Hämeenlinna


I worked for almost six years in integration training. I taught Finnish from elementary to independent user level. The aim of integration education is to get students to a level of language proficiency that will enable them to continue their professional life or other studies in Finland. The work was demanding but endlessly inspiring. Although languages are my number one interest, I am also curious about things and people in the world and am particularly enthusiastic about geography. With adult professionals from all over the world in the classroom, the teacher is constantly learning new things as well. The work also gave me a chance to see the diverse life situations of people who have moved to Finland. I believe that my own experience of living in a foreign country with a foreign language helped me to understand their joys and challenges. During the integration training, I also learned to actively collect feedback on the teaching and, if necessary, to adapt the teaching accordingly.

As a Finnish teacher at a vocational school, I got to work with students in a kitchen, a metal hall and a sewing workshop. As a teaching situation, it was fruitful: the students had the skills and I helped them find the words. At the vocational school, I also had the chance to do a great project with a team of skilled people, when I developed a language test for the hundreds of foreign language applicants. The teacher is often alone in the classroom, so I particularly enjoyed working in a team.   


With children and teenagers in comprehensive school


For the last five and a half years, I have been teaching children from immigrant families in all nine grades of primary and lower secondary education. This work has shown me how differently children and young people learn a language and integrate into a new country compared to adults. Children usually learn a fluent spoken language quickly, but building up a vocabulary and mastering general language skills requires determined language development. Good language skills do not develop overnight. The best thing about working with children and young people is that the students are so sincere. Feedback on teaching is quick and honest. The teacher is involved in the important growth stages of the student's life, so the work is meaningful.


Now as an entrepreneur, I am ready to use all my knowledge and a wide range of experience to help you reach your goal as a Finnish language user!