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Every fall teachers and students get a “fresh start,” and the majority of students are excited to progress to the next grade. There will be a new set of expectations,  new homework, a new class of kids to get to know, and most importantly, a new teacher to adapt to. These annual changes, a tradition in the American school system, can be both exciting and anxiety producing for children and teachers as well.

As a former elementary classroom teacher, I felt a considerable amount of stress over these changes. Before any teaching could occur, building trust between my students and their families was my top priority. My students, their families, and I I all had to practice patience, respect, and clear communication. It was time consuming each year to rebuild these relationships.

But what if we took a nod from Finland’s education system, which is consistently ranked best in the world? After reading Mike Colagrossi’s article, 10 Reasons Finland’s Education System is the Best, I contemplated each one of them and found myself most drawn to reason number seven: “Consistent Instruction from the Same Teachers.” Students in Finland often have the same teacher for six years. Can you imagine the amount of trust built during these six years? The teacher-student relationship doesn’t need to be re-established each fall; it is already there. This allows teaching and learning to get started immediately. Teachers are already aware of students’ learning styles, behavioral needs,, and what motivates them. It’s a smoother transition for everyone.

The flipside of course is, what happens if a teacher has a negative relationship with a student and his/her family? What if it just wasn’t  a good fit? Perhaps Finland has an answer to this. If you would like to read more, please read the article here.

Written by Britt Canner