I have been walking a lot during this year’s first month. It’s nothing revolutionary, nothing new. It gives me time to listen to great music – and space and time to think. Recently I’ve been thinking about my profession.

I’m a teacher. Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, announced in his New Years speech that Norway has to put more emphasize on education since Norwegian students and pupils alike are falling behind in European tests like PISA. Media goes bananas and tells us that our kids are lazy, dumb and not motivated for school. Furthermore, school is a joke, a playground, a place to keep our children when we work and make our way up the career ladder. And even more importantly, society blames the politicians and politicians blame schools and their teachers. There is no more discipline, teachers are not well educated and they cannot handle our children in a responsible way… Reform panic has created mayhem, it’s all chaos. Doom’s day is here.

I agree, something IS definitely rotten in Norway.

We’re too well off. We’re a playground. We’re the laughing stock of the new century. And why? We have the fatal impression that we’re all well off because of our newfound wealth. This leads to the ill conclusion among many that they’ll be okay whatever work they put into school. Look at our university system, it’s easy to sleep through it and get by, and if you flunk? Well, you’ll be okay. Of course, a handsome few make the best out of it and excel within their fields. It’s not all bleak. But many, many kids lack motivation, they see the world of consumerism around them and they are fed up on new iPods and flatscreens every Christmas. What’s the point of learning about history and science when you’ll be a real estate agent like your father? Next, parents are shying away from their real responsibility here. Unfortunately, it’s often the men. 3 out of 4 parents who are involved in their kids school are mothers… Where are the damn fathers? Are they really too busy for their own kids’ education?

The responsibility is shared for the situation. It’s society’s problem, it’s my problem and it’s your problem. We’re all in it knee deep. The irony is, we live in high times, salary is good and there’s cash flow for most people – and when a country runs well, especially in Norway we doze off in the global race of educational excellence. Look at India and China, there it is a matter of life and death. A matter of happiness and desperation. If you don’t succeed in your field you’re out of the game.

In Norway, we have the impression that we’re all in the game. Problem is, we’re stuck on level 1 for now. And who will suffer? Our kids, and then our society.

I’ll try to do my best, try a little harder everyday, teach our kids to excel, to be good citizens and above all – good human beings. And I’ll keep on walking.

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