Tim Walker is a young American with a job many of his colleagues back home would envy: He's a Grade 5 classroom teacher at a Helsinki public school and co-teaches classes in Grades 4 to 8.
"At my school," he said, "there's an English and a Finnish line. The curricula for both lines are nearly identical; only the language of instruction is different. I'm teaching in the English line." He has 23 students; classes are capped at 25.
"It's a Grade 1-9 comprehensive public school ("peruskoulu") that follows the Finnish national curriculum," he continued. "My school also has an international baccalaureate program. This means intertwined curricula for both the English line and the Finnish line. As a classroom teacher in the English line, I teach from the same standards that my Finnish line colleagues draw from."
When he talked in Helsinki with The Tyee in September, he was clearly excited to be teaching in Finland, while also learning about an education system that inspires respect around the world.