The most important lesson the United States can take from Finland is the "preparation and development of high-quality teachers," Paine said.What a notion... treat someone with dignity and respect, trust them to do what they are trained to do, and let them arise to exceed your highest expectations. The great shame of our educational system and of our nation is that we do not. When I was at the University of Helsinki in 2008, I visited the wood shop where kindergarten teachers are trained in woodworking. You will not find that at any university in the US. But read the whole article. It is not just about teaching, and trust of teachers, but also about project based learning and integration of subjects, following the model we use at Clear Spring School.
This starts with honoring the profession, he said.
"In Finland, it is a tremendous honor to be a teacher, and teachers are afforded a status comparable to what doctors, lawyers and other highly regarded professionals enjoy in the U.S.," he said.
In addition, like other professions, teachers gain seniority and tenure primarily on the basis of training and experience, and teacher unions have a strong voice in shaping education policy -- all very controversial in the United States.
The profession is held in such high regard that competition to get teacher training is fierce. Nationally, only about 10% of some 7,000 applicants to primary school programs are accepted annually to Finnish teacher training programs, according to statistics from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
And it's not about the money.
"In Finland, they do attract the very best and brightest into the profession, and it has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with the respect that is given to the profession," Paine said.
In fact, teachers in Finland are paid about the same as teachers in the U.S.
Today I will be preparing for classes and making small boxes.
Make, fix and create...