"Kehra paper mill funds training for beginning teachers in Ida-Harju Region"

An article about Horizon’s beginning teachers training initiative in its community has been published by Sõnumitooja newspaper. The article is written by Ülle Tamm and is written in Estonian language. The following is the English language translation of the article:-

The training supported by Horizon Pulp and Paper Ltd. in Kehra is attended by teachers from Aegviidu, Aruküla, Kehra, Kuusalu, Loo and Tamsalu schools.

“It’s very special, nice and meaningful that a local company has decided to support the development of teachers in its area. We are very grateful to Tolaram and its charitable organization Ishk Tolaram Foundation. Horizon Pulp and Paper Ltd., owned by Tolaram, has already funded the training of beginning teachers twice now and we very much hope that it will continue. Such private capital support is exceptional in Estonia. Julia Tuts has cooperated with us as the representative of the paper factory, and we are also very grateful to her for the dedicated care,” said Triin Noorkõiv, CEO of the NGO School supporting the beginning teacher.

Trainings or work-related counselling meetings have been held once a month since January at Kehra Cultural Centre, the last being on Tuesday, June 4. The supervisor has been a counsellor-psychotherapist Ene Velström from Virve village in Kuusalu parish.

When the first such training was funded by the Kehra paper mill in 2022, 7 teachers participated from Tapa, Kehra, Loo and Kose Gymnasium. The supervisor for this training was also Ene Velström.

This time there were more participants. The 12 participants in the training were: Maris Matsi, Aap Allmägiand Jaanika Lahemaa from Kuusalu High School, Marju Ilves from Aegviidu School, Daily Adam, Johanna Maria Ernesaks and Julia Aparin from Kehra Gymnasium, Laura Loikmann from Aruküla Vaba Waldorf School, as well as teachers from Loo High School and Tamsalu School.

Ene Velström said that the training sessions have been thematic: “We discuss the resolution of different cases, the learning and group process, the personal development of each student. I have raised issues, but also the teachers themselves. The great interest of this group is the handling of conflicts. With training, our goal is to increase the professional confidence and resolve of teachers, so that the first years of work as a teacher in the school do not have a frightening effect and they begin to see their own successes and lead their development as a teacher.”

Catering for the meetings held at Kehra Cultural Centre has been ordered from Anija Manor. Ene Velström described that at the beginning of each training, Julia Tuts, a representative of the Horizon Pulp & Paper Ltd., attends and sees if everything is ready for the meeting.

Triin Noorkõiv, CEO of MTÜ Alustava Õpetaja Kool, said that firstly, consent was obtained from Tolaram to finance training meetings. She then sent a letter to the district’s school leaders and called to check whether the information had arrived. Schools were able to register beginning teachers for participation. In addition to the financial support of Horizon, the schools have paid 120 euros for each teacher as their own contribution.

Bashyam Krishnan, CEO of Horizon Pulp and Paper Ltd.: “Horizon is the largest employer in the region and we have a strong connection with the local community. We believe that education is an important pillar of a child’s development and has a positive impact on society. There is a shortage of teachers in Estonia. The training programme for beginning teachers pays attention to the problems that arise in teaching and helps new talents overcome challenges. We care very much about education. This project has helped beginning teachers and we plan to continue to support in the coming years.”

Maris Matsi, who is working as a teacher of Estonian language and literature for the second year at Kuusalu Secondary School, praised that supervision has helped to make sense of her activities as a teacher: “I understand why it is said that young teachers do not stay in school. When I started last school year, the whole school life was a bit scary for me as well. Until then, I considered myself an understanding as a parent, I thought I realized when talking about the problems that came up in school. When I started working as a teacher, I only realized that I couldn’t really imagine how multilayered the issues could be which a teacher faces. Not everything is always black and white. Each student is different with their own needs and expectations, background and knowledge. There are high expectations for teachers, and it can seem difficult to meet them. During the training, I gained important knowledge about the functioning and developmental phases of the class as a group, as well as how to communicate in different situations.”

Aap Allmägi, who has been teaching nature, geography and biology for two years at Kuusalu School, said that he signed up for supervision and is satisfied, and the teachings can be applied: “When I had a problem, I offered it as my next topic. I definitely recommend that a beginning teacher participate if such training is carried out in the future. At school, every day is different. Last year, it was more complicated. Now, it is already easier. It takes time to prepare for classes. At the same time, children behave better at school than I expected, which is surprisingly positive. I plan to continue as a teacher.”


The original Estonian language article published in Sõnumitooja can be found here.