Teaching in Latvia – Compared to the UK

education Education, Education, Education Part 3

Remember I have only been teaching here since September so my experience is limited and I have plenty more to learn. So what I write is basically first impressions.

I suppose the most obvious difference is data. In the UK every breathing moment, data seems to occupy your mind. Are students achieving target grades?, have I analysed all my 200+ students grades? and highlighted underachieving student, why have my students not achieved target grades?, have I recorded all homework grades? and so on and on. It does not appear in Latvia there are any target grades. I don’t know if there is any baseline testing or if the government records for statistical use all  students exam grades. This lack of target grades does reduce one contributor to stress, but it does leave me constantly posing the question “How am I being judged as a teacher”. Without this measure of success it leaves me constantly looking for other forms of reassurance that I’m on the right track.

The second obvious difference is reporting student progress back to parents and assessment. No long winded reports that most parents  probably don’t read with loads of comments and grades covering all things leadership can think of. Instead parents are supplied with an average grade (1 – being bad and 10 – being excellent) of assessments undertaken during each semester for each subject. Student work being assessed or marked only needs a grade, no written formative assessment appears to be needed. I do understand that most formative assessment appears to be verbal.

I’m going to  keep this blog brief, so finally the last major difference is the difference in emphasis between planning what is going to be taught and recording what has been taught. In the UK weeks and weeks of work go into preparing schemes of work, long term plans, medium term plans and individual lesson plans. Recording what has been taught is in the teachers own planner. Whereas in Latvia the emphasis is on recording what has been taught. A general description of every lesson has to be entered in e-klase for everyone who has access to e-klase to view. I cannot really comment on the types of schemes of work that are in operation at all schools and for every subject. In my subject we follow a published text book as our scheme of work.

So there you have it the, 3 major differences, except for salary; approx 700 euro/mth in Latvia against approx £2000/mth in the UK. Still wouldn’t swap my life though.