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Monday, May 24, 2021

Teacher appreciation in the example of Estonia, Netherland, Iceland, Finland and Sweden

 Part 1

Schools are so much more than just schools. Teachers serve many roles, especially during the recent pandemic times. Teachers are mentors, psychologists, crisis teams, coaches etc. Teachers inspire, motivate and guide students through their school time. We all know how under paid teachers and other educators are all over the world, but fortunately there are also other ways to show appreciation to the outstanding educators. In this two-part series of articles we are introducing how educators are recognized in Estonia, Netherlands, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. In the first article we will focus on the first two countries’ examples. 

Example of Estonia - Kadri Mettis                                                             

Teachers' Day is a day set up to enhance the teaching profession, i.e. to highlight the challenges and achievements of the profession. Teachers' Day is celebrated on different days in different countries; in Estonia it is October 5. On the same day, UNESCO has been celebrating World Teachers' Day since 1994. It is customary in Estonian schools for high school graduates to be teachers on that day and to give lessons themselves.

In the days leading up to Teachers' Day, it has become customary to recognize and thank teachers both regionally and nationally - receptions and concerts are organized. There is also, for example, the nationwide Teacher of the Year award ceremony "Estonia learns and thanks", where the teacher of the year is chosen. Teacher of the Year is an honorary title given to a teacher, educator, head of an educational institution or other educator whose work and personal example have significantly contributed to the development of young people into diverse personalities and have had a positive impact on educational, regional or national life. The Teacher of the Year is selected during the competition. Candidates can be nominated by students, parents, educators, educators' associations and collectives, local governments and associations of municipalities, the management of educational institutions, as well as individuals and other organizations. The title of Teacher of the Year is given nationwide, at the county level, and also by local governments and any educational institution. The award is given out in 12 categories: Kindergarten teacher of the year, Class teacher of the year, Basic school subject teacher of the year, High school teacher of the year, Vocational school teacher of the year, Lecturer of the Year, Support Specialist of the Year, Head of the educational institution of the year, Act of the year of the educational institution, Education friend of the year, Lifetime Achievement Award (https://www.hm.ee/et/gala).

Teacher of the year award winners in 2020 award ceremony "Estonia learns and thanks". Author Arno Mikkor.

Example of The Netherlands - Ria Bleeker

Many subjects from Estonia also apply to the Netherlands. Teachers’ day, 5th October, is celebrated as one of the elements of a whole week of education.  During this week education is emphasised as an important factor in our society. Celebrations and events in schools and universities such as lectures, speeches, films and theater are organised. Educators are put in the spotlight and appreciation from pupils and students are expressed in all sorts of ways. 

The teacher of the year award also applies to The Netherlands in much in the same way as in Estonia. The teachers of the year are ambassadors for their type of school during the year.  Every two years a school or educational institution is awarded for a distinct approach, a creative project or for being in the middle of society. Teachers still in training can be awarded for being a developing talent.



        These were only 2 very bright examples of how our fellow colleagues in other countries are recognised. In part two of this series, we will share more great examples of how European countries are showing teacher appreciation. 

 

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