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NC Teachers Gain Worldly Understanding of Education

28 North Carolina teachers traveled to Germany as part of the Go Global NC initiative. (Go Global)
28 North Carolina teachers traveled to Germany as part of the Go Global NC initiative. (Go Global)
July 27, 2017

CLINTON, N.C. -- As school systems across North Carolina prepare to start a new year, teachers are returning refreshed and, in some cases, equipped with knowledge to better serve their classrooms.

That's the case for 28 teachers from across the state who traveled to Germany this summer to understand how that country approaches education. Olivia Hall, an assistant principal in Samson County, said one thing in particular sticks out in her mind from the trip.

"The teachers are paid better, and I think there is a certain respect that comes with teaching in Germany that may be missing a little bit here, especially in North Carolina,” Hall said. "They really trust them in the classroom."

Hall was part of a program sponsored by Go Global NC, an organization dedicated to connecting North Carolina with the world.

According to the Education Efficiency Index, German teachers are paid on average the equivalent of $54,000 annually. While U.S. teachers make an average of $41,000 annually.

Kevin Scharen is a teacher with the Alamance-Burlington School System. He said early job training is another aspect of the German system North Carolina schools could learn from.

"Where we're kind of lacking is that, yes, we do have generalized technical schools and trade schools, but where they're doing it better is if your child wanted to be a mechanic, you can start as young as 16,” Scharen said. "They're basically given a year to two years of job training."

Hall said she was struck by how highly regarded educators are in Germany - and noted how it draws the highest quality students.

"I think the fact that they pay their teachers very well is a draw for strong students,” she said. "You have to be a very strong student in order to go into the teacher prep programs in Germany, and it takes many, many years in order to do all that you have to do to become licensed as a German teacher. "

As part of the program, teachers will submit plans on how they can take what they learned back to their own schools.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC