Educational Assistance and Resource Centre

Educational Assistance and Resource Centre

Status: Educational Counselling Centre

Interviewee: Director

Country: Romania

Valuing Experience • Intergeneration Dialogue • Support Programmes • Research and Evaluation
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The County Centre for Educational Resources and Assistance from Iasi is considering various challenges faced in the education system, particularly focusing on the psychological pressures and intergenerational discrepancies affecting teachers. The director of the centre proposes a comprehensive approach to value senior teachers, enhance intergenerational dialogues, and foster an environment conducive to student success.

By valuing the experience and expertise of senior educators, stimulating intergenerational dialogues, and implementing supportive programs, we can strengthen the teaching profession and create a more conducive learning environment. It is crucial to address the financial constraints and potential risks associated with retaining senior teachers, while also emphasising the importance of holistic problem-solving and community engagement. By investing in the professional development of teachers and conducting research to evaluate the impact of these strategies, we can foster an inclusive, respectful, and rewarding educational ecosystem.

Key Challenges

  • Psychological Pressures: Acknowledge the increasing stress levels experienced by teachers in schools and the need for supportive measures to alleviate these pressures.
  • Intergenerational Discrepancies: Recognize the differences in values, work attitudes, and methodologies between senior and novice teachers, which require effective integration strategies.
  • Financial Constraints: Examine the impact of low retirement income, leading to the extension of teaching beyond retirement age, and explore potential solutions.
  • Deterioration of Teacher Status: Analyse the decline in the teaching profession's reputation, loss of authority, and negative media stereotypes affecting teachers' standing in society.

Proposed Solutions

  • Valuing Experience: Appoint senior teachers as heads of committees, invite them as workshop lecturers, and involve them in mentoring programs to capitalise on their experience and expertise, strengthening their position within the organisation.
  • Integrating Seniors and Novices: Foster intergenerational dialogues and encourage team-teaching approaches, where mentor-beginner teams collaborate and bring diverse perspectives to address complex cases.
  • Strengthening the Teaching Profession: Rebuild the teacher brand through communication campaigns, promote social respectability, and reward excellence through salary increases based on merit.
  • Supportive Programs: Implement initiatives such as beginner mentoring, involvement in pedagogical practice, and integration programs for beginning teachers to facilitate growth and create a supportive environment.
  • Research and Evaluation: Expand research on the relationship between valuing senior teachers, student outcomes, and career orientation, while analysing beneficiary satisfaction and community perceptions.

Generational disparities extend to technology use, multitasking habits, the fear of missing out (FOMO), as well as overall contentment and happiness levels between senior teachers and students. We also observe incongruities in strategies and methods, where modern approaches clash with outdated mindsets. This creates a unique challenge in implementing new work strategies effectively.


Full Interview

What are the age related challenges you observed in the educational community of Iasi?

The age-related challenges within our educational community encompass a range of factors. In the last few years there's been a noticeable increase in psychological pressures leading to heightened stress levels among teachers. Secondly, there are intergenerational differences in values and work attitudes among teachers. Senior educators are driven by principles like passion, duty, sacrifice, and engagement in pro bono and extracurricular activities. In contrast, newer teachers set clear boundaries for work hours and personal commitments. Generational disparities extend to technology use, multitasking habits, the fear of missing out (FOMO), as well as overall contentment and happiness levels between senior teachers and students. We also observe incongruities in strategies and methods, where modern approaches clash with outdated mindsets. This creates a unique challenge in implementing new work strategies effectively.

Financial aspects play a significant role too, with low retirement income prompting educators to extend their careers by up to three years past the retirement age, affecting both genders equally. These various age-related issues collectively shape the dynamics and experiences within our institution.


Is there a specific context for these challenges?

In our schools, there are some challenges that come with age, and they're caused by different things happening around us. One big problem is that being a teacher in Romania isn't as respected as it used to be. This makes teachers feel less important and makes it harder for them to have authority in school and in the community.

Also, teachers and schools are having a hard time getting students and parents to listen to them. This is because people don't always think teachers are as important as they once were. It's tough to keep control in classrooms and have good relationships with students and parents when this happens.

Another reason is that parents are often away from home for work, and this leaves kids alone. Teachers then have a bigger responsibility to guide them, not just in learning but also in life. This can be really challenging.

In our educational community, we're also dealing with some difficult situations. Students sometimes don't behave well, and there can be bullying. Also, there are more students who need special help with learning, and this makes teaching even more complicated. TV and movies often show teachers in a bad way. They might make fun of teachers or show them being mean. This can make people think teachers aren't worth respecting. It's like a cycle where bad ideas keep getting repeated. All these things together make the age-related issues here. It's not easy, but we're trying to find ways to make things better for everyone – teachers and students alike.


What are the measures contributing to a more age-friendly community?

Our institution is taking steps to prevent and solve the issues we've been talking about. Here are some of the things that we are already doing:

  • Teachers who have been teaching for more than 25 years and have top qualifications can now teach a bit less – 2 hours less each week. This way, they have more time to focus on their teaching.
  • Teachers have the option to keep teaching for up to 3 more years after they're supposed to retire, even up to when they're 68 years old. But this needs approval from the school's leaders.
  • Really experienced teachers who are great at what they do can become mentor teachers. They help new teachers and get to teach a bit less, too.
  • Older teachers are also helping students who are studying to become teachers. They're sharing their knowledge and getting paid for it.
  • Teachers who have been around for a while are also helping new teachers fit in. They have special talks every Monday to help new teachers feel part of the team.
  • There's a part in our magazine that's all about school counsellors and speech therapists. It's a way to show that we value their work.
  • We're sharing stories from students who've benefited from counselling on our Facebook page. This helps others understand the good things counsellors do.
  • Experienced teachers are leading important groups that work on teaching methods. They're like team leaders, and it shows we trust their experience.
  • Experienced teachers are also being asked to talk at workshops and conferences. This helps others learn from them.
  • Teachers have a better chance of getting a raise if they do really well in their job. This way, we're rewarding their hard work.

These things might not fix everything, but they show that our school is trying its best to make things better for both teachers and students.


Are these measures working?

One good thing is that teachers from different generations are talking more to each other. This helps everyone understand different viewpoints and learn new things. We're also finding better ways to help students learn and feel comfortable in school. Both experienced and new teachers are sharing their ideas, which helps a lot. Instead of just looking at one problem, we're looking at the whole school. This way, we can solve multiple problems together.

Teachers who are really good at their jobs are getting more respect. This makes them feel important and motivated to keep doing their best. Because of these changes, being a teacher seems more attractive. More people might want to become teachers when they see how we're making things better for everyone.

All these efforts are making our counsellors community a better place for both teachers and students. We're working together and learning from each other, and that's a really good thing.


What should be done further?

From my point of view, we should do more research to understand how valuing experienced teachers can affect the learning community and to see how everything is connected. It is important to know if giving respect to older teachers can also help students do well in their studies. And we can open ways in which the  experienced teachers can be valued and retained. When we value older teachers, it might help the whole organisation and the community itself.

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