Markus' story: Dreaming your way into tomorrow

Career story

The school sports field was full of children and adults. Or at least that is how it felt to me. I remember how the August wind blowing across an open field brushed my face. It already felt like autumn. A flight of migratory birds in the sky, yellow leaves on the lawn and first graders wearing their yellow caps walking on the pedestrian routes. This autumn, I paid special attention to all this. It reflected the end of the summer and the arrival of autumn. It was a time for new beginnings. When I looked the first-graders in the eye at the event organised in the sports field to mark the beginning of the school year, I realised that, in a way, we were all in the same situation. At an exciting start of something new.

I'm Markus, head teacher and class teacher. Alongside my work, I act as a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki in the Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture. In addition, I maintain my passion for writing by sometimes working under my business name Tarinatähti.

After comprehensive school, I completed a double degree at Salpaus Further Education: in my vocational studies I obtained the vocational qualification in business management and in the upper secondary school I passed the matriculation examination. After a year in military service, I started studying pedagogy in Helsinki and graduated with a master's degree from the class teacher's study track in January 2021.

I have often wondered what I'm going to be when I grow up. In my opinion, such reflection is important as it allows you to weigh your own skills and interests. You can practice this kind of play with thoughts even as a child, as long as you always remember to bring yours dreams into the process. When I was a kid, I wanted to become a Donald Duck illustrator. I loved Don Rosa's stories, and I was sure I would become at least as good as he was.

At some point, I dreamed of becoming an author. When I was in primary school, I used my father's laptop to write many stories, some of them even quite lengthy. They were printed in a booklet format at my father's workplace and distributed to the members of my family to read. Although I find a lot I could improve in those stories today, they still tell me about who I really am.

When I was studying in the upper secondary school, I took a slightly more serious approach to reflecting on in which direction my own life should go. Soon it would be the time for my age group to move on either to working life or to further studies. At that time, my leading idea was to apply to a business school and pursue a career in the economic sector. However, my thoughts suddenly changed, and I decided that studying pedagogy and becoming a class teacher was my primary choice. Behind this decision, there was a strong sense of how significant the work was. Another factor guiding me was the great thought expressed by an acquaintance of mine: “Markus, remember that no one ever forgets their primary school teacher.”

I have never made any calculations or plans

When I first started working as a substitute teacher with young pupils, I felt how responsible and meaningful the work was. I realised that you did not need to be in the board of a listed company or in the Finnish Parliament to change the world. It happened right here, in this classroom, with these kids.

During my studies, I became interested in science and research. When doing my master's thesis, I received excellent guidance and had discussions that helped me with phrasing my own arguments and conclusions. I understood that free science has value in itself: it maintains social debate, develops communities and provides a foundation for all sectors. Getting back to the event marking the beginning of the school year in autumn 2021. It was my first teaching position after graduation, and right then I realised that I had combined two of my passions: being a teacher and research.

I have experienced strong guidance and steering in my own life. I have spent my career wondering about things and having a curious mind. Through my summer jobs, I had an opportunity to try out many jobs, such as acting as a salesperson in different shops and picking strawberries. At the same time, I got acquainted with a great number of fine people. I have a safety net near me that keeps on challenging and encouraging me and that forgives me. My parents, siblings and friends are something I am very grateful for every single day.

I have never made any calculations or plans, but rather kept on dreaming. When you realise that the most important things in life are not related to your career, honour or money, it frees you to look forward in life with a sense of relief. Every day, it is a good idea to give some room for dreams and dreaming.

Life is a great gift that you should accept with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Markus Koskinen