Wishing I had my students in my pockets


my new mentor and Finnish friend, Riitta

First and foremost, I must thank my mentor and new friend, Riitta, who took time out of her busy schedule as a senior faculty member of the School of Education at the University of Tampere, to treat me to a wonderful lunch today.  Aside from the fact that our conversation was extremely informative and I now feel like I have my foot in the door to begin my research, she also set me off on a little adventure around Tampere this afternoon.

So despite the fact that it was a chilly -4 degrees Celsius (that’s about 24 degrees Fahrenheit to my friends in New York), I was easily persuaded to trek around town by both Riitta’s suggestion, and the little tourist map she gave me (you know the type…everything looks like a cartoon and has a number corresponding to a list of attractions on the back).  Well, it wasn’t a difficult choice when I realized that the Tampereen Kaupunginkirjasto (Tampere City Library) was attached to the Tampereen Kivimuseo (Tampere Mineral Museum) because really, there IS NO END to my nerdiness when it comes to certain things.

kuplii_21_3Also, I had seen this ad, which someone mentioned had something to do with a comic exhibition at the library and given the recent student-led sit in against the Chicago Public Schools ban of the graphic novel Persepolis, I definitely wanted to go check it out.

IMG_9037Turns out the Mineral Museum is closed on Mondays, but the library was worth every painfully cold step it took to get there.  For starters, it looks like something designed by H. R. Giger, although it was really designed by Finnish architects, Reima and Raili Pietila, who are equally awesome (although I half expected Sigourney Weaver dressed as Ripley to greet me at the door).


It didn’t take long for me to be wishing that I could transport all of my students into the Young Adult section with me to see their faces light up with recognition as they scanned the shelves of books.


What a cool experience to see all of the titles that comprise our classroom library in Newburgh, New York translated into Finnish.  It really hit home the commonality of the adolescent experience in both countries.  I am so excited to get into the secondary schools here this week and begin conversations with Finnish students.  I wonder how they define themselves as readers and what books line the shelves of their classroom libraries.

IMG_9018There wasn’t really much to the comic exhibit, except I was thoroughly impressed with these little paper cutout dolls that were scattered all over a big table which overlooked the foyer of the library.  I am pretty sure they are saying nasty little tidbits, but google translate wasn’t much help with most of them.  There were literally hundreds and they stood like their own little army, poised and ready. It was impossible not took bend your face right down to them to get a closer look:

IMG_9017 IMG_9018

And I did so for at least five minutes.

Then just when I thought I had seen everything that the Tampere Library had to offer, I walked into the music section of the library and within minutes this happened:

So as you can imagine. I was loving every minute of it.

About christine mccartney

I am a teacher, a wife, a proud aunt, a dog rescuer, a person who has been rescued by my rescued dogs, a hiker, a four time (phew!) cancer survivor, a runner, a tattoo addict, a vegetarian, an advocate, a friend and a happy traveller. Enjoy!
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8 Responses to Wishing I had my students in my pockets

  1. Finnjävel says:

    They aren’t all nasty tidbits. Granted, the two on the leftmost picture are saying “fat people and ugly people should pay more taxes” and “engineers, they’re the dullest of men”, but the guy who gets a solo is just remarking that he never really liked Elvis, and one of them (rightmost on the middle layer of the triple-picture) is saying that “the fire in your eyes burns my heart”. The two holding hands at the front in the bottom layer are saying “I’m not a human” and “ladybugs are actually Coccinella septempunctata”. The one between them, I’m quite sure, says “let’s always be friends”.

    And yeah, Google translate is of very limited use with an agglutinative languages like Finnish.

  2. Mary Hurowitz says:

    Fascinating to read about your journey, I dreamed Linda and I went to Finland. It was a bit of a nightmare! Keep on sharing Love, Mary

  3. Melissa says:

    I think you need to make a stop-motion- movie of those little paper dudes, marching over and stealing pseudo James’ sax. After, they can create mayhem with the Dewey Decimal System, if that is indeed the system they employ!

  4. You should go back there and skype your class! Thanks again for another great look at this experience! I love that the students protested!

  5. Liz Brocker says:

    Imagine that the library is a cool place to hang out. Guess it would make for a more literate society or reflect the value of literacy to society.

  6. blkdrama says:

    Seems like a very good day. Back home we are poised for yet another snow storm! I love your little tour and wouldn’t it be cool if you could have Ian Skype you in from that spot in the library? or when you meet students…

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