World Teachers’ Day 2020.

World Teachers’ Day is held internationally on 5 October. However, in Australia it is held on the last Friday of October. Its purpose is to recognise and give thanks to teachers for the work they do in educating children. Ekner Amberger writes:

It celebrates the collective talents and skills of teachers in all kinds of diverse situations in every part of the world.

At the school in which I work, teachers believe that they do more than teach content and skills. They are concerned for the wellbeing of the whole child. World Teachers’ Day, as Elma Amberger says, ‘celebrates teaching to the emotional, intellectual and spiritual requirements of the child.’

They see teaching as a calling. Sharon Wharton says it is a ‘calling to work with the young of today to make them inspirational ambassadors for tomorrow.’

World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity for the world, the community and the child to thank teachers. It can be a learning experience for children as parents take up this opportunity to thank teachers and encourage their children to do the same. As Elmer Amberger writes:

I love the excitement that the children bring to this special day as they come with home-made cards written neatly with messages of thanks and expressions of kindness.

Some children also come with presents. Sharon Wharton says: I’t is not the chocolates, wine or flowers we need but we really appreciate a well-considered, thank-you.’

There is much for which teachers can be thanked as Sharon Wharton writes: ‘Thank you for working many hours outside of school time to ensure the child get the education and support they need to learn in a functional, positive and interactive classroom environment. Thank you for being there every day to counsel and direct the child on a positive and spiritual life’s journey. Thank you for being there to answer their questions and send them in search for answers. Thank you for teaching them to be resilient, so they can handle life’s challenges. Thank you for loving them for who they are and teaching them right from wrong.’

And yet, Teachers also believe that World Teachers’ Day has lost its meaning and it has become just another day with a few people remembering to say “thank-you.”

In today’s world, a lot is expected of teachers and more than ever, teachers should be recognised as professionals who truly have the best interests of their students at heart. What can we do to make world teachers’ day more significant in the lives of teachers?

How can we express our gratitude to the people we entrust our children to them for 27 hours a week? Can we train our children to be grateful students?  Let’s make World Teachers’ Day 2020 a significant day for teachers as their students say, “thank-you”.

Kathleen Mooney rsj