Celebrated in many countries around the world to show appreciation of their role in society, Teacher’s Day also recognizes teachers whose contribution has resulted in significant changes and improvement in a particular field or for the community in general. The role of a teacher in the development of civil society is not measurable or quantifiable.
Many countries around the world celebrate teacher’s day, albeit on different days. UNESCO observes the World Teacher’s Day on the 5th of October annually. However, this does not impact the celebrations of Teacher’s Day on different dates in individual countries.
Different Countries Same Philosophy
In India, this day is celebrated on the 5th of September on Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s birth anniversary. Argentina observes it on September 11 in memory of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Bhutan celebrates it on the 2nd of May, which is the birth anniversary of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. El Salvador observes Teacher’s Day on the 22nd of June and it is a national holiday.Many countries celebrate Teacher’s Day on the 5th of October, which is the date on which UNESCO observes World Teacher’s Day.
Irrespective of the date on which the teachers of the country are recognized, what is important is that their contribution is valued and honoured. The role of a teacher cannot be judged by the number of students who are able to pass an examination under his or her guidance. The true measure of a teacher is how much the students have been able to imbibe and apply in their lives to add value and meaning and more significantly, how much they have been able to give back to the society directly or indirectly.
Teachers are often seen as the people who provide education. That is true to only to an extent. In countries around the world, teachers who not only educate but also foster forward thinking in the students are recognized. The contributions of teachers directly have an impact and bearing in shaping the future generations and therefore countries acknowledge and honour this contribution. While there may have been instances wherein teachers who were a little ahead of their times were persecuted, most countries throughout their varied histories have looked up to the teachers to show the way forward.
Teacher – Philosopher, friend and guide
The role of a teacher does not end when the student goes on to the next class or next level. Great teachers have been able to help students long after they have passed from their hands. In the role of guides and mentors, they have helped their former students to navigate through their difficult and troubled times. Teachers have also been instrumental in making students realize their full potential and lead them on to paths of self discovery. A great teacher will always have something new to tell his or her past or present students; there will always be that one more thing, the one thing that sometimes makes all the difference in the world.It is also in the nature of a teacher to hide certain things from students, to enable them to explore and find solutions for themselves.
The observance of Teacher’s Day also helps us to see the qualities that make certain teachers stand out. A look at some of the best teachers from around the world will show that there are many similarities in successful teachers.
- Negotiating Skills – The ability to handle students with a firm hand but with fairness is a remarkable balancing act. To be able to get students to do things that most don’t want to do and to get the students to respect them at the same time is a trick that not many can master.
- Mediator Skills – To resolve a conflict or dispute among students, especially in lower classes where children don’t necessarily see things through the prism of logical reasoning is something that most ordinary people struggle with.
- Dual Personality – For many teachers especially in the primary classes, the function of being the extension of their parents is also added to their jobs. With many children in one class from diverse backgrounds, it becomes that much more difficult to balance the two roles.
The Indomitable Spirit
Through good times and bad, teachers have always strived to make students push the limits and in the bargain, have often pushed it for themselves as well. This never fading spirit which teachers have shown generation after generation has never wavered or waned.
While Teacher’s Day is celebrated and teachers honoured, is that what the day should be about? Should it not be to also revere the values and reinforce them? Honouring and acknowledging the contributions of teachers one day in the year without paying any heed the rest of the time makes this celebration a mere act of symbolism and thus loses its relevance.