Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something to Learn from Finland's Teachers

By Sean Scarpiello

Over the past few decades, Finland has done a great job at turning one of the worst education systems into one of the world’s best. One of the ways this was accomplished was by selecting better teachers. In Finland, one of ten people studying to become a teacher actually ends up being a teacher. All educators have Masters Degrees and teachers are held in high regard. Many other countries with flourishing education systems follow a similar trend. So could this be a way to improve the declining United States education system?

I think that teachers should definitely be looked upon favorably as professionals. Teachers have some of the most complicated jobs, yet receive little respect for their efforts. If teachers want to have more of society’s admiration, they need to step up their game. Districts need to be much more selective when it comes to choosing teachers. It takes a special person to be a teacher and many of today’s teachers just do not fit the mold of being a professional educator. If we can raise the bar and have a higher quality of teachers, respect will come naturally.

In my area where some teachers are making a little under $100,000 a year with full benefits, many teachers carry out the actions of a qualified professional. However, very rarely would I get a sense of true admiration for my teachers. It was hard to feel like my teachers were working for students and not for themselves. Sure, my teachers would stay after school if students needed extra help, but being a teacher does not stop there. A fantastic teacher will persist. A few times I found myself and some of my classmates leaving an after school study session even more confused than before. Even the teacher knew that the some of the students did not have a good grasp on the material as we left. This kind of performance as a teacher does not demand much appreciation.

Raising the quality of teachers in the United States would definitely aid in the quest to an improved education system in the United States. The sort of respect that teachers would automatically gain for themselves would also work out some of the other problems in America’s schools. For example, teachers that were held in high regard would run into fewer difficulties with some students who do not take school as seriously. Also, parents would play a larger role in their children’s education. Parents that received a note from the teacher would treat matters more seriously and push their children to succeed in class.

In general, a higher quality of teacher would improve the education system in the United States. Teachers would naturally be held in higher regard, much like education professionals in Finland and other parts of the world. Then, almost automatically, many problems would start to work themselves out and the United States could be back on the road to having one of the world’s best education systems again.


No comments: