With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for teachers.

Most people have heard of Erasmus, the EU’s successful student exchange programme, which has enabled millions to study abroad. Less well known is that teachers – from universities, schools, vocational colleges and adult education – can also take part. In 2015, over 100,000 teachers travelled abroad with the help of EU grants.

Erasmus offers teachers opportunities to travel to 33 countries for up to two months. During their trips, some teachers take part in training courses, others join the staff of schools and universities to experience working in a different educational system. Another option is job shadowing to learn how teachers from other countries deal with day-to-day challenges. All of these activities are a great way for teachers to develop professionally, get new ideas and make new contacts.

Children in elementary school posing with their teacher in front of chalkboard
© johoo / Fotolia

As well as Erasmus, the EU brings together teachers from different countries through networks and online communities. For example, on eTwinning, there are nearly half a million teachers from 180 000 schools all over Europe exchanging ideas on subjects as varied as awareness-raising of smoking health risks to craft activities for school libraries. School Education Gateway offers access to free online training courses and teaching materials.

For teachers who would like to spend more than a few months abroad, the EU has removed some of the barriers to working abroad through mutual recognition of teaching qualifications; this means that, for example, a teacher who qualified in one EU country can teach in another without having to take additional exams.

Further information