Editor's note: Russ McKell, a social studies teacher at Summit High School in Orem, was among 32 Utah educators who recently visited schools in Finland with Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Europe. Read the related story here.
In general, Finnish teachers are happy. They are professional. They are focused on students.
And their classroom sizes are half the size of ours.
In the small community of Siuntio, we toured an art classroom where art teacher Mari Sarviaho proudly showed us the work her students had produced. Paintings, sculpture, architecture and graffiti decorate her room. She believes deeply that art drives students to understand themselves and that it is necessary in all classrooms. It was inspiring to listen to her.