Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton
“Students want to be taught”
When the band Kolmas Nainen broke up in 1994, Sakari Pesola had to come up with a new profession pretty quickly. He had not been able to imagine himself teaching before, but as he was doing his teacher training his interest grew.
"I ended up teaching history and social studies at Pohjois-Haaga Comprehensive School, and I am still there. Before I started at PHYK, I had taught at other schools, but I’ve been here for fifteen years and enjoyed it. I’ve not once had a feeling that I wish I could shut the big main door behind me for good. Never!"
Pesola uses different kinds of teaching methods, depending on the group and on the day. Sometimes he is an old-fashioned talking head reeling off facts to the pupils, other times he focuses more on interactive learning and makes students do group work. In some lessons students discuss current themes based on documents or newspaper articles.
"Societal changes haven’t led to the disappearance of elementary teaching. In my opinion, the best pupils want to be taught. And I mean taught. Sometimes I feel that this gets forgotten in the debates about pedagogical methods."
Over the years Pesola has tried to map out how different topics and themes should be taught. The different methods depend largely on the groups. And in effect Pesola also teaches the cultural history of music to the entire school by performing in the teachers’ band.
"The teachers’ band is a fun thing. It’s made up of me, two music teachers and a woodwork teacher. We play requests at school events: from country to punk to progressive rock to ballads. And we dress accordingly."
For the last five years, Pesola has been holding down two jobs. Kolmas Nainen returned to the stage in 2009. The band has released two new albums and been actively on tour. Pesola also made an album with the band Moon Cakes in 2011. All this time he has been teaching full time. At home, he has a wife and three children, so there have not been any new career plans on his mind.
"I should stop and think at some point for a while whether I’m going to be a teacher until I retire. Just now the volume turned down a tad on the band stuff. I haven’t ruled out carrying on with research in the cultural history of music if I only have the time for it."
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta. Translated by John Calton.
Sakari Lauri Pesola
Born October 4, 1963, Töysä
Master of Arts (Finnish History), 1995, University of Helsinki
Licentiate of Philosophy (Cultural History), 2003, University of Turku