A Finnish Educator Expresses Her Views After Teaching In US Schools

By Joshua Williams, Parent Herald November 30, 12:26 pm
The Unites States believes in the freedom of expression but professional freedom is denied to most school teachers.
(Photo : Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Knowledge Universe)

Professional lives could be disastrous when professions are chosen as means of paying bills and debts. However, those who choose their professions based on their passions are undeniably fulfilling.

When people love what they do, they perform better and stay happier. But there are some unique and challenging things when it comes to one's profession and these are the country and its policies.

The Atlantic shares the story of a Finnish teacher who had to move to Florida after marriage. Kristina Chartouni, a Finnish educator is having difficulty in keeping up with the changes in her professional life. Chartouni is now teaching in Tennessee and feels under a lot of pressure and observations constantly.

Chartouni stated that in Finland, principals would occasionally visit classrooms but not like in the United States. The Finnish teacher has already had visits from officials and these visits are more likely to occur again soon. Chartouni shared memories of her time in Finland where she was given the autonomy to create her lessons according to her own style of teaching.

It seems like Chartouni wasn't wrong after all as evidence from the findings of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states that teachers in the U.S. public schools are given a very little autonomy. This is seen in two specific aspects of teaching — selection of literature and classroom accessories, and sorting of skills, topics and content to be taught.

According to Washington Post, Finland's educational reformist Pasi Sahlberg questions the American approach for improving student achievement through teacher effectiveness. Sahlberg states the criteria to determine a teacher's effectiveness by taking students tests in particular subjects is a false idea.

Canadian, South Korean and Finnish teaching standards are regarded the best in the world. Pasi pointed out that in these countries, quality control is an entry level measure rather than checking the effectiveness of teacher's performance while they are in service.

Do you think teachers lack professional freedom in the United States? Sound off below. 

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