Iida Jääskeläinen, art teacher
‘I teach visual arts in lower secondary school. When a teenager asks in my class, What do I need this for?, I think that’s an important point. I want to be able to explain why I teach something in such a way that pupils will find it meaningful. Subjects must be from the pupils’ real life.
When I studied art education at Aalto, we talked a lot about the role of art in society. Through art, you can explore the world and also yourself.
As an art teacher, my job is to provide a channel and create an atmosphere in which pupils have the courage to examine and express their thoughts. Instead of technical expertise, artistic talent can be about the ability to express your own ideas.
Aalto’s Programme in Art Education emphasized the ability to bring about change and nurtured the courage to move forward. I still vividly remember a question that my thesis supervisor asked me. It was about what kind of criticism I would give to myself.
I still return to that question in my thoughts. The critical thinking and continuous learning that I adopted at Aalto became ingrained in me: I strive to improve my environment and what I do without prejudice.
I carried out all kinds of independent projects with my fellow students, doing voluntary work. One of them was an art gallery that brought together students from different degree programmes, which the university asked us to set up. We were given a space as well as funding for buying materials for the gallery and food and drink for the exhibition opening.
I’ve always been interested in art, design, architecture and culture. However, it hasn’t always been clear to me that of all subjects, I would study art education, or that I would become an art teacher. It only dawned on me towards the end of my master’s studies that this is what I want to do.
I find my current job really meaningful – right now, I want to use my time doing this. As a subject, art education is very broad and also prepares you for many other occupations. In the future, I also want to work with art and education in other types of organizations.'