Teacher’s social status in Brazil: a competency balance
Education plays an important role in any society and teachers constitute one of the main agents responsible for social changes and for providing cognitive and emotional support especially for home unattended learners. It makes them in charge of another social function: care providers. Therefore, educators are seen as prestigious beings, provided with high social status. However, this context has long before been misinterpreted and reversed; thus, those teachers who some time ago could feel proud of their ‘holy’ and respected mission now encounter all sorts of adversities in their profession and seem to be unable to deal with today’s demands; therefore, they haven’t been enjoying good reputation in the society, as well as among learners. In addition, they have not been given a proper treatment from the government which does not seem to address educational issues effectively. Thereby, the teaching profession has been going through dramatic changes that have made educators’ social status and reliability decrease considerably, namely in the public sector. This way, I intend to analyze the possible factors that have been causing such tremendous depreciation of the teaching profession as well as teachers’ social status in Brazil and explore possible alternatives for this phenomenon reversal through comparative work.
When an educator is not aware of the consequences of his/her attitudes in class it can surely be devastating for a student. Thus, he/she should be conscious about the reciprocal causation and its implication in the students` performance in class. Therefore, when he/she ignores this fact the everyday classroom routine will make both teacher and students stressed out.
This way, by taking into account the idea that when one has the knowledge of something one is responsible for managing it accordingly for the benefit of the whole community – and here we integrate the IK concepts into our classroom practice- we do have to promote changes in our management styles as well as in the way we as leaders deal with instructional settings when conveying the subject matter in order to promote meaningful learning as well as hold the learners’ attention.
Then a question arises: where does the problem reside? Is it lack of teacher`s knowledge concerning those basic concepts related to reciprocal causation? Or are there even more or external facts that teachers should take into account? Can teachers find a way to solve this problem of students` disinterest?
Why do in certain places are teachers recognized as leaders and as so are respected as good leaders should be? Why have teachers in some places been losing their high social status of respected and wise knowledge holders? Does it have to do with teaching professional development or even academic formation that lacks primary and fundamental knowledge necessary for them to succeed in this new era? What is the impact of the society on the people regarding economic and governmental policies nationwide?
I wonder when and how this social and professional teaching status shift began and what the real causes were. Is it an irreversible phenomenon? What can teachers do to reverse this situation? What is the government`s and parents’ role in the process of restituting teachers with their former high social status? How can teachers help themselves?

Are teachers really necessary in this fast and interesting multimedia society? I f so, how can they show the society they are still important and as so are worth a try?
Not only teachers but the whole school faculty, more specifically the supervisory group should have special trainings on how to deal with the demands of today’s world. This way, supervisory members, educators and parents should constitute a triad which would work together to figure out better ways to deal with everyday school concerns: indiscipline, punishment – or lack of it - , curriculum development, and so forth.
If we are to analyze the social function that teachers hold nowadays we should look for the reasons that led them to such underprivileged social status as professionals in some places. That is our challenge now: try to examine the real causes as well as search for possible alternatives to solve and/or reverse this phenomenon in the light of a globalized perspective by relying on successful and effective concepts and experiences considering the local relevance and feasibility.

Qualifying and Training Teachers in Brazil

Improving the professional training of teachers is critical to any effort aimed at improving the quality of education in Brazil.
Teacher status and education are considered fundamental for the improvement of educational quality. This is the commitment of UNESCO State Members, including Brazil, in two of the six Education for All Goals (goal 2 and 6), during the World Forum of Educational for All (Dakar, 2000).
It is of fundamental importance to establish the links between learning evaluation results and pre-service and in-service teacher education and training, in order to effectively renovate the learning process in the classrooms. Equally important is the establishment of career development plans for teachers and other professionals in the education sector.
Study results still show that:

· there are low rates of education achievement in Mathematics and Portuguese Language of students taking the first years of basic education;
· insufficient or even worse results were found in the last grades of primary and secondary education.
In order to improve the quality of education, as registered in UNESCO report of the International Commisson of Education for the 21st Century, "Education: the treasure within": it is necessary, above all, to improve the teachers' recruitment, education, social status and their working conditions. The teachers can only respond to what is expected of them if they can have knowledge and competencies, as well as personal qualities, professional possibilities, and required motivation.


Report - U.S. Teacher status too low


U.S. Is Urged to Raise Teachers’ Status

Published: March 16, 2011

To improve its public schools, the United States should raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new report on comparative educational systems.
Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the international achievement test known by its acronym Pisa, says in his report that top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise respect for the profession.
“Teaching in the U.S. is unfortunately no longer a high-status occupation,” Mr. Schleicher says in the report, prepared in advance of an educational conference that opens in New York on Wednesday. “Despite the characterization of some that teaching is an easy job, with short hours and summers off, the fact is that successful, dedicated teachers in the U.S. work long hours for little pay and, in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership.”
The conference, convened by the federal Department of Education, was expected to bring together education ministers and leaders of teachers’ unions from 16 countries as well as state superintendents from nine American states. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that he hoped educational leaders would use the conference to share strategies for raising student achievement.
“We’re all facing similar challenges,” Mr. Duncan said in an interview.
The meeting occurs at a time when teachers’ rights, roles and responsibilities are being widely debated in the United States.
Republicans in Wisconsin and several other states have been pushing legislation to limit teachers’ collective bargaining rights and reduce taxpayer contributions to their pensions.
President Obama has been trying to promote a different view.
“In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect,” Mr. Obama said in a speech on education on Monday.
Mr. Schleicher is a senior official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., a Paris group that includes the world’s major industrial powers. He wrote the new report, “What the U.S. Can Learn from the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts,” with Steven L. Paine, a CTB/McGraw-Hill vice president who is a former West Virginia schools superintendent, for the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation.
It draws on data from the Program for International Student Assessment, which periodically tests 15-year-old students in more than 50 countries in math, reading or science.
On the most recent Pisa, the top-scoring countries were Finland and Singapore in science, Korea and Finland in reading and Singapore and Korea in math. On average, American teenagers came in 15th in reading and 19th in science. American students placed 27th in math. Only 2 percent of American students scored at the highest proficiency level, compared with 8 percent in Korea and 5 percent in Finland.
The “five things U.S. education reformers could learn” from the high-performing countries, the report says, include adopting common academic standards — an effort well under way here, led by state governors — developing better tests for use by teachers in diagnosing students’ day-to-day learning needs and training more effective school leaders.
“Make a concerted effort to raise the status of the teaching profession” was the top recommendation.
University teaching programs in the high-scoring countries admit only the best students, and “teaching education programs in the U.S. must become more selective and more rigorous,” the report says.
Raising teachers’ status is not mainly about raising salaries, the report says, but pay is a factor.
According to O.E.C.D. data, the average salary of a veteran elementary teacher here was $44,172 in 2008, higher than the average of $39,426 across all O.E.C.D countries (the figures were converted to compare the purchasing power of each currency).
But that salary level was 40 percent below the average salary of other American college graduates. In Finland, by comparison, the veteran teacher’s salary was 13 percent less than that of the average college graduate’s.
In an interview, Mr. Schleicher said the point was not that the United States spends too little on public education — only Luxembourg among the O.E.C.D. countries spends more per elementary student — but rather that American schools spend disproportionately on other areas, like bus transportation and sports facilities.
“You can spend a lot of money on education, but if you don’t spend it wisely, on improving the quality of instruction, you won’t get higher student outcomes,” Mr. Schleicher said.

A version of this article appeared in print on March 16, 2011, on page A22 of the New York edition.

What do teachers make?