How Do We Inspire the Best and the Brightest to Become Educators?

I was honored to be named in Top Global Teacher Bloggers / / Global Search for Education The bloggers on this list have been asked to contribute to Huffington Post’s Education blogs for 2016. This month we look to answer the following highly controversial question “How do we inspire the best and the brightest to become educators?

 – here is my response:

As a Finnish teacher I often end up answering the question: What and how we teachers act so that our school system is in the top of the world. The situation has been analyzed and has come to a conclusion that parts of our strength are f. eg respect of the profession, flexibility of the curriculum, teachers’ high level of education and autonomy of teaching methods. The students are well aware of these strength factors, so I strongly believe in their influence when applying for profession.

How have I experienced those factors? Have we succeeded even today to get the best of students enter in teaching profession?

  1. In our society education is still appreciated and this shows directly in the number of appliers to teacher education. The first step in applying for the education is sending the application form. The next step is entering the aptitude test – to which only some are called. Those who pass this test are able to start the studies for basic education. For example the Helsinki University takes 120 starters yearly. In 2015 there were 1832 appliers, of which 766 were called for the literary tests. 360 entered the aptitude tests and 120 were chosen. Under 10% of the whole amount.
  1. Flexibility of the curriculum means that I know which contents belong to different year classes and what my students are meant to learn during the year. With my colleagues we can plan and carry out study modules with the best way we want. And we of course take notice of the current local events. We can also arrange the core contents so that it supports the learning best. The curriculum isn’t a list of things to do it’s a guideline for our planning and executing our teaching.
  1. I have a full autonomy in teaching. I can choose the materials and teaching methods myself. Usually the teacher colleagues together choose the study books but I can still teach the way I want to, even with my own material. The most important thing is to get the students to learn and become inspired of their own learning. There are no school inspectors nor national tests. I myself observe the learning daily. I make my own tests or make them together with a colleague. We don’t give much homework. Childhood is about being together with your family and friends and getting a lot of active exercise outside. We aim for multiform assessment. I’m inspired by my students will to learn. The principals have conversations with teachers where they discuss and plan future schooling for them. I feel that I have a possibility to be creative in my work!


Photo:  Elis Lindfors

Instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing and the ranking list of schools we have warm relations with students, collaboration with colleagues and we feel we get highly professionalized, teacher-led encouragement and assessment.

How do we succeed in the future to get the best of students in education?

The world is changing fast more global and the children need to achieve skills to living and working together. This is a challenge for us teachers, too. We have to change our methods like pedagogy, how to collaborate with other experts and learn new kind of learning all the time.

The teacher training forum,  which consist of Minister of Education and leader of Helsinki University Teacher Training Department, is challenging the whole Finnish education field to brainstorm new ideas for aims and means for the future education. The method they are using is a brainstorm in net. This is also an excellent example of a new and innovative way of acting.

In the end I want to quote William Doyle: “If you look closely and open your mind, you may see the School of Tomorrow.”  Would you like to be a teacher in Finland?