Every year on October 5th, UNESCO celebrates World Teacher’s Day to show support for teachers all over the world. As an educator myself, and one who comes from a long line of teachers on both sides of the family (not to mention the hundreds of exemplary teachers I’ve known and worked with for many years), I thought it is also very fitting to help celebrate the gift of teachers in our lives in this week’s article. One too many times we’ve probably had “not-too-pleasant” teachers in the past, but two too many times, I’m sure we’ve also had great teachers that continue to leave indelible encouragement and inspiration for us and many others.
This week, try to remember the one or two best memories you have of a truly wonderful teacher that has made a great impact on you as a student, and now as an adult. Small or big, I am sure that that impact will continue to encourage you to be best in all you do, and do the same for others.
I have heard the term “worldly teachers” used a few times before, but remain optimistic that despite the current state of many teachers around the globe, it continues to be used even more often, especially for truly deserving educators that exude wisdom, knowledge, maturity and experience in their profession. In other words, if we want excellent teachers to teach our children and the generations to come, we need to support teachers. I say this to echo UNESCO Director General’s message in this year’s World Teacher’s Day celebration:
“Teachers… ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them” (Irina Bokova, 2012, unesco.org).
On a slightly different note, we also have “worldly life teachers” in each of our lives that deserve to be honored today – e.g. a mother, a friend, a stranger, or a colleague, etc. It goes without saying that our interactions and relationships with these individuals, short or life long, serve as lessons and inspirations that we take everywhere we go, helping us become better persons and make better decisions.
However, one less celebrated group of teachers I’d like to honor today, too, is children. Yes, children! I continue to learn daily that as adults, many of us over analyze, over calculate (and other “over-verbs” there may be) circumstances that could easily be simplified if we only view them from a child’s eye. A son giggling and laughing at himself and repeatedly saying, “I’m OK, I’m OK,” after a fall teaches us to not take ourselves too seriously. A daughter sweetly saying to her mom, “I’m going to be good for you now, Mommy,” after a 5-minute time out teaches us to forgive easily. And every child that looks in our eyes saying, “I love you,” teaches us that that we are, indeed, loved. What has a child taught you today?
Today, on World Teacher’s Day (and everyday, let us honor and support educators all over the world for the excellent work they do to help create a better world today and tomorrow. Let us also not forget to celebrate the other life teachers we’ve had and have in our lives because they, too, inspire and teach us a thing or two about making better decisions and selves, and about the importance of laughter, forgiveness and love – some of our basic needs as humans, young and old.
About the Author: Charm Moreto Damon is a mother, a TESOL professional and a freelance editor. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, and pursued graduate studies at the Ohio State University, where she also taught academic writing and research to international students. She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, and keeps herself busy with family, friends, and editorial work. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.