Most common characteristics and skills one can think of that the 21st century teacher should involve are critical thinking skills, good qualification, competence in at least two languages, creativeness, computer literacy, and many others. Majority of the listed skills can be acquired and developed during the university studies and work experience. However, there is one thing that a person is not capable to fulfill properly when he/she is overloaded with many tasks, often unnecessary. Here I would like to focus on the special ability that one cannot plough through without much free time, which is called “creativity”. I think “creativity” and “free time” go hand in hand and may produce positive results in many spheres, including education.
Unfortunately, teachers cannot fulfill their potential properly due to the deficiency in time in many schools in Kazakhstan based on my experience. They are busy with a great amount of tasks as paper works, preparing for classes, individual works with weak students, visiting children from low income family, indefinite quantity of meetings, and other additional non-class activities and hours which are not paid. Many would concur that it is not possible to allocate time for creativeness in such bulk of works. Thus, teachers’ responsibility should be considered adequately, so they can realize their capability fully.
To support this argument, it is beneficial to look at the example of countries which pay attention on free time for students as well as teachers. In the recent years Finland schools depict success in the education field by applying innovative ideas which led to keep being among top secondary education in the world. According to “Education at a Glance 2014”, Finland teachers have comparably low teaching hours and the teacher-student ratio is one of the lowest among OECD countries (1:9).
Books on business and management also suggest in giving free time for employees for them to work on the projects they undertake. According to the evidence (David Burkus, 2012) employees are more willing and creative to work when they are provided with free time and can manage with their schedule by themselves. Therefore, free time and less teaching time should be provided for teachers, which will motivate them to give birth for new and creative ideas.
- 1. Burkus, D. (2012). Why Free Time Frees Creativity. Retrieved from http://www.creativitypost.com/business/why_free_time_frees_creativity
- 2. Education at a Glance 2014, Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/edu/Finland-EAG2014-Country-Note.pdf
- [Online image]. Retrieved August 26 2012 from http://www.creativitypost.com/business/why_free_time_frees_creativity