Gudmundssonide pere lugu: “We want our kids to learn all the languages that are around us.”

Kogukonnakooliks kasvamine

Avatud Kool kannab uhkusega kogukonnakooli staatust ning lisaks lastele-õpetajatele on meie kogukonna väga oluliseks osaks ning tugevaks taustajõuks pered. Perede abiga sünnivad näiteks ägedad üritused, saavad värske värvi koolimaja seinad ning valmib videojäädvustus laste tegemistest.

Meie kool kasvab iga aastaga suuremaks, kuid tahame ikka ja alati jääda oma vaimsuselt hubaseks kogukonnakooliks, mille liikmed üksteist tunnevad, tänaval naeratades teretavad ning ühiseid ettevõtmisi korraldavad.

Me tähistame

Avatud Koolis on tähistamine väga olulisel kohal. Tähistame suuri ja väikeseid võite, eneseületamisi, märkamisi, pühendumist, julgemist, hoolimist. Nüüdsest tahame rohkem tähistada ka Avatud Kooli laste perede lugusid, õpetajate lugusid, tugipersonali lugusid, huvikooli lugusid. Lugusid, mis avavad Avatud Kooli kogukonda kuulumist erinevate nurkade alt ning tekitavad loodetavasti rõõmsaid äratundmishetki, annavad mõtteainet või pakuvad ainest mõneks edasiviivaks arutelukski.

Avatud Kooli lood

Meie lugude sarja järgmises loos saame tuttavaks Gudmundssonide perega. Nende pere loo teeb eriliseks fakt, et pere on kooliga seotud kahel tasandil: nii õpetajate kui lapsevanematena. Kui palusime neil end paari lausega kirjeldada, said paberile sellised read:

Our family looks like this: Jónas Thor Gudmundsson (father): teacher, historian and occasionally a musician. Karina Vabson (mother): Anthropologist. Snorri Thor Jonasson (8 years old). Tryggvi Thor Jonasson (3 years old)

Jónas: “I met my wife, who is Estonian, in Iceland around 17 years ago and she managed to drag me over to Tallinn. First time we moved here was in 2008, but the first few years we were moving between Tallinn, Copenhagen and Reykjavík due to studies and work.

We sort of settled here nine years ago due to the arrival of our firstborn. The first years I mostly worked in archaeology and through that I started to learn and appreciate the complex history of the country, but in the recent years I’ve been doing teaching and once in a while historical tours in the Old town.

I started teaching in Avatud Kool a little bit more than two years ago. Now, Snorri Thor, my firstborn, is in the 1st grade, making new friends and learning all the things the school has to offer.”

Mõnusat lugemist ning kui sul tekib nende lugu lugedes küsimusi, millele edaspidi Avatud Koolide teistelt peredelt vastuseid saada sooviksid, pane oma pere küsimused palun Sandrale teele

Tere, Jónas, Karina, Snorri ja Tryggvi. Saame lähemalt tuttavaks!

AK: Why did you decide for Avatud Kool as a parent and as a teacher?

Jónas: “Well, I didn’t. My wife decided both to send our kid there and for me to teach. I was working quite a lot in archaeology and in tourism – and there was a few month gap between projects. I think my wife was tired of me being at home and told me to apply to be a substitute teacher in English at Avatud Kool. I’m an obedient husband, so I obeyed.

I had taught for a couple of years back in Iceland while I was in university – and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that ever again. Things change though. Now I’m stuck here, teaching kids about the wonders of programming and loving it.”

The boys in Italy in the summer of 2022.

We decided to send Snorri, our older kid, to Avatud Kool because we were fond of the ideology of the school. We have three languages (English, Russian and Icelandic) in our household and it’s not easy for him to pick them up. So we didn’t want to send him to a purely Estonian school as we felt it might be too much for him. This balance of Estonian and Russian classes puts everybody into equal positions and we feel he can have a more positive approach to learn the Estonian language.

AK: Did the fact that Snorri is going to study in Estonian + Russian scare you? 

Not at all. If anything it was even more attractive. We want our kids to learn all the languages that are around us.

AK: How is he doing in both languages by now? 

I’m not even sure. I know Snorri’s understanding in the Estonian language has probably surpassed mine by now. He’s getting more confident speaking it and I think it’s just a matter of time when he’ll be reciting poems by Lydia Koidula by heart.

Snorri, Tryggvi and Karina at our local beach.

AK: How did your friends/family-grandparents take the news about Avatud Kool being the new school for Snorri? 

The whole family was quite supportive of it. I don’t think everyone fully understood the concept of the school, but they were just happy that it was close to our home.

AK: If your family would possess the power to change one thing about Avatud Kool, what would it be + why? 

I think a big green yard would be a fantastic addition. If it would be possible, then it would have been done already.

AK: Compared to your school-days, what is the biggest difference in being a student/teacher in Avatud Kool? 

Snorri and Jonas in Iceland in the fall of 2022.

Where to start with that?

What is very different from my own school journey is the relationship the students have with their teachers. The students are not afraid to stop me in the hallways and tell me about their favorite K-pop band, favorite computer games and what they are doing in other classes in school.

I wouldn’t dare to ask my own teachers that. I see how fond the students are of their teachers and vice versa. In my days there was always quite a firm distance between students and teachers.

AK: What has been your most difficult moment as a teacher here? And the most inspiring one?

I haven’t had many difficult moments. I think in the beginning I was worried that my language skills (or lack of them) might cause more problems. There have been many inspiring moments. Teaching programming can sometimes open new worlds for the students. It’s very inspiring when they realize their own potential in programming.

The family on a boat ride in Lake Garda in Italy in the summer of 2022.

AK: The most important fact your family would like to share about Avatud Kool to all the parents in Estonia? 

This kind of brave initiative to create a private school was, at the time, totally thinking outside the box and might have sounded crazy at that point, but it has proven to be a sustainable and empowering system.

Tryggvi and Snorri enjoying a rare moment of sunshine in Estonia.

AK: The most surprising moment/event/story you or Snorri have experienced in Avatud Kool?

When my kid went to the first grade I was so excited to have him so close to me and being able to monitor what he’s doing. I think maybe I did a bit too much of that in the beginning. All the kids would go to the yard during lunch breaks and I’d often be spying on him. Watching him play in the yard with his new friends was so heartwarming.

At one point my kid noticed me watching him in the window, came up to me and told me to stop. I was embarrassing him! He was right. I needed to give him own space to explore, make mistakes and learn from them. Kids need a bit of freedom. Yet… I still sometimes have a look – but now I make sure that he doesn’t see me.

Snorri occasionally pops up at archaeological excavations and helps out.

AK: It’s some crazy times we are living in at the moment. What would you like to say to all the families of Avatud Kool, to help maintain good spirits?

When you have two kids, every moment is a crazy one. Don’t be afraid to be silly with the kids. Being around kids keeps you young.

Working in the school and being around the students has taught me a lot. Not only about the latest K-pop trend and latest Tik Tok memes, but also to be patient and smile more.

Of course I can’t recommend all parents to come to the school and hang around here all day – but what they can do is talk to their kids and learn about what they are enjoying at the moment. If there is a strange Japanese boy band that your kid likes, play it loud at home and dance altogether in an extremely silly way.