Editorial: Today is World Teachers’ Day!

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Many of you may not know that such a day exists but it does, and we figured that with all the talk of education in recent times, we would take a moment to recognise the special day set aside for teachers from around the world.
To give you a bit of background, and according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the organisation “proclaimed 5 October to be World Teachers’ Day in 1994, celebrating the great step made for teachers on 5 October 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in cooperation with the ILO;” the ILO being the International Labour Organization.
The description continues, “This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. Since its adoption, the recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.”
As with all things UNESCO, they look at things from extreme altitudes and rarely sweat the details. It is for these reasons they leave the participating countries to implement the annual theme in a way that best suits the local environment. By the way, this year’s theme is “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers,” and 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel.
We would understand if you were feeling a yawn coming on right now, but education is one of the most important, if not the most important, foundations of our society, and teachers are an integral part of that foundation.  They, along with parents, are the ones who shape the minds of our youth – our future. So, there is no risk of overstating their importance in our community, and taking the time to understand the need for a global day of appreciation is well worth the two minutes that you have devoted to getting this far.
The teaching profession is an often thankless one. For the most part, they are underpaid, underappreciated, and under-resourced.  They are typically asked to do more with less and in return get abused by parents who blame them for their children’s poor results. 
So today, we would like everyone to take the time out of your very busy schedules and say thank you to a teacher, or two, or how many ever you can. Expressions of gratitude are rare for teachers so we are sure that they would be welcomed and appreciated. Also, show your support by becoming more involved in your child’s school and their life.  The PTA (Parents Teachers’ Association) is a great place to start.
A teacher is not a babysitter, and school is not a day care.  Teachers are professionals, and they do a job that is in our best interest. Just like in any other profession, there are good teachers and there are bad teachers, but we venture to say that the vast majority of them are good. We say that because it takes a special kind of person to become a teacher. It takes patience and understanding – and that is just to deal with the parents!  Moreover, it takes a love of young people and for seeing them grow. Few, if any, teachers continue in the profession for recognition and financial rewards. Instead, they do it because it is what they like to do; it is their calling.
If you have even attempted to teach anyone, anything – maybe to drive a car – you would have, for one brief moment, understood what it takes to be a teacher. The typical response is either love or hate, and for most people it is hate. Proving a point that teachers are special and they do what most people cannot – they teach! They teach through frustration and stress while maintaining a calm demeanor as they function as life coach to their temporarily adopted children.
Teachers will never receive what they deserve, but for one day a year, we can at least show some appreciation for what they do. And, we can try to do better ourselves because we are all teachers, especially parents. We all mold the minds of our youth, except, teachers typically do it more, and they do it better. So, if you are a parent, look in the mirror today and after you have made an honest assessment of teaching skills, pat yourself on the back for the job you have done, then when you reach to school, thank all the teachers you can for the jobs that they do every day. Maybe even give them a hug!
Happy World Teachers Day everyone!

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