One of the principals was eager to make some questions and here's how our discussion went:
- Why do you teach Swedish ("mother tongue") and math during the same lesson?
- Well, some of the pupils are ready with all their math problems so far, while others still have something to solve. Some need to practice their reading skills and that's why they read with the assistant teacher.
- What about those sitting in the sofa?
- They have solved the math problems and they don't need extra training in reading.
Then the principal noticed the girl lying under the table:
- What's she doing there?!?
- She's reading her desk book.
- But why is she lying on the floor?
- Well, the desks aren't that comfortable, so the pupils are allowed to find a place where they like to read their books. Some like the sofa and she likes to lie on the floor with a cushion under her head.
- But don't you have any rules?!? Are they allowed to do whatever they like?
- (Sigh.) Of course we have rules and no, they are not allowed to do whatever they like. I expect them to focus on their work and to not disturb their classmates.
- But why does she get to lie on the floor?
- Well, she might think it's a peaceful place to read and as long as she isn't disturbing anyone it's totally fine with me.
The principal rolled her eyes and continues to the next classroom with her fellow principals. I sometimes wonder what she told about Finnish education when back in France?