Today is world teachers day, also known as International Teachers Day. A day that was started on October 5th 1994. It was introduced to commemorate teacher organisations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. Huh..Did you know?
I trained as a teacher and taught both in the UK and internationally for over 15 years. It was not until I taught in India that World Teachers Day graced my ears. It was and is a big deal. The students rejoice in their teachers, desks are decorated, the student council skip round the corridors delivering hand made cards to teachers and after school the parents contribute to a big afternoon tea in which we are formally thanked. It was of no surprise if you left the day laden down with flowers and cards that would not look a miss on your birthday.
However I never heard about this in the UK. No school I worked at celebrated World Teachers Day and if they did, it went under the radar.
So why is this day important? Well quite frankly, teachers are the backbone to many of our children’s lives. I have two young children in a primary school and every morning I drop them off to the care of their teachers. What they learn in their day is down to one teacher (mainly) and they have the battle of the National Curriculum to deal with. Teachers across the world have day to day battles with funding, class sizes, resources, timetables, requirements, assessments, children entering the classes mid year through, English as a second language…just to name a few, yet they show up and teach. A teacher is a person passionate about education. They are passionate about their purpose. To teach. To educate. To share the world with our children and allow them to explore and grow in a safe environment. We have much to thank them for.
So why are we not celebrating it here? Am I missing something? Did I not get the letter screwed up at the bottom of my child’s bag gently reminding us that it was teachers day? No, there would be no letter, no fanfare from the school because teachers will be the last people to say they need thanking. They are genuinely just doing their job. A job they want to and do love (despite everything the government and everything else throws at them) a job they do because they made the decision to train in education and practise the art of learning and educating every single day of their life.
We all know the impact a teacher can have. We all have stories of our favourite teacher. The one that gave us a chance, the one who saw something in us that others didn’t. The one or two that made us feel amazing because they told us we have done some brilliant work, they were proud, they were there at the time, taking on the role of our parents, telling us we were great. A teacher can make a moment last a lifetime for a young person. They can leave a life long impression, spark a learning journey in them that may guide them towards life changing decisions. It is a powerful position to be in. In the day of the digital age, a teacher is really one of the only connections many children have to the real world.
Take some time today to think about teachers. I chose to leave full time teaching to start EsmeLoves, my own dream and a dream that I feel I could only follow after spending years in education telling young people to follow their own dreams. Being a teacher is such an honour and having an amazing teacher is a cherished opportunity that will shape you and your children for the rest of their lives.
Happy World Teachers Day.