Would you like to replicate Finland’s success in your country?
Answer: Of course.
Well, to make that a reality, you have to start small, just like Finland did, 40 years ago. How small am I talking about when I say, “small”?
I’m talking real small. I’m talking about the level of the individual educator, at the grass roots level.
The grass roots of any education system, is its teachers. Teachers are the key to a high-quality education system.
Now, the experts will tell you that Finland is a society with high levels of income equality and widely used social welfare programs, such as health care, old-age pensions, unemployment benefits, housing, etc…
Finland is a nation that manages to distribute its wealth so well that poverty is almost inexistent. According to Statistics Finland, in 2009 income grew for everyone in Finland, “except for the highest-income decile”.
In other words, the Top Ten Percent (people with the most) did not increase their income, while the rest of the country (people with the least) did.
Does that sound like fairness to you? 🙂
Now, can you imagine rich and powerful people allowing something like that to happen – in your country? 🙂
Let’s look at what I call: The Genuine Task.
The Genuine Task for educators (as I see it) is to produce high quality results, in terms of learning achievement, despite living and working under less-than-ideal political, social and economic conditions.
The first step is to take a look at Finland (where ideal political, social and economic conditions exist for educatiors).
Of course, your country can’t replicate Finland – for any number of relevant reasons. Finland is Finland. Your country is not Finland – it’s different.
I know that, you know that, we all know that.
Let’s either get over that, or go work as an educator in Finland.
The option that remains, for those of us willing to take on, “The Genuine Task” in the countries where we live and work, is to begin with a committment to personal excellence as educators.
Personal Excellence: Being as great as you can be, in spite of the overwhelming obstacles educators face. How can we do this?
Here are some suggestions, for all educators:
Educators of the world: Are YOU up to date in your field?
Do you read professional journals in your field?
Do you participate regularly in traditional professional development?
Have you been to a conference recently?
Have you attended an Edcamp/Barcamp/Teach-Meet recently?
Are you a member of a professional organization?
Do you have a personal Professional Learning Network?
Do you SHARE your knowledge with other teachers – FREE – continuously?
Do you mentor a younger teacher in your field?
Are you doing Teacher Research about what happens in your classroom?
** I could go on like this but I will stop here.
One word sums all of this up: DEDICATION.
Dedicate yourself to your profession.
Dedicate yourself to the proposition that you can achieve and maintain personal excellence as an educator – throughout the entire lifetime of your teaching career…
Now, close your eyes, (go ahead) and imagine what education in your country would look like, if every teacher in your country were as dedicated as you are…
Don’t wait for the politicians of the world to committ themselves to social and economic equity (like Finland did).
Don’t wait for all societies of the world to value teachers by giving us more respect, more prestige, and pay us more money.
Don’t wait for anything, don’t wait for anybody.
Simply be the best teacher you can possibly be.
That’s the Genuine Task for each and every educator: Be the Best You Can Be…