It’s World Teachers’ Day today. The value and importance of teachers has come into sharp focus this year as the world deals with rapid changes to the way in which we live, play and learn. This year, besides thanking those in the profession, we should be celebrating it.
World Teachers’ Day is commemorated worldwide between October 5 and October 12. The aim is to create increased awareness of, and celebrate, the hard work of all educators including teachers, researchers and professors. This year’s theme is “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future”. During this time of lockdowns and physical distancing, teachers have done their utmost to ensure no learner gets left behind, despite the daunting challenges. They have been working, individually and together, to find solutions and to create a new environment for their students to ensure that learning continues.
Courses have had to be modified and condensed, and lesson plans adapted to be delivered remotely. In cases where connectivity is bad, teachers have prepared study packages for their students. They’ve had to be creative in order to keep children engaged in learning and have had to adapt to checking in with their students via WhatsApp. Support communities have emerged on social media platforms. Teachers had to be proactive and flexible within a difficult situation. They had to rapidly reassess and change the way in which they delivered lessons, all while grappling with new technology and programmes. They’ve also been responsible for creating a safe learning space for their students.
This year’s theme therefore pays tribute to the way in which teachers have contributed during Covid-19. A Unesco statement reads: “The issue of teacher leadership in relation to crisis responses is not just timely, but critical, in terms of the contributions teachers have made to provide remote learning, support vulnerable populations, reopen schools and ensure that learning gaps have been dealt with.”
The statement further added: “The discussions surrounding World Teachers’ Day will also address the role of teachers in building resilience and shaping the future of education and the teaching profession.”
Unesco has celebrated World Teachers’ Day since 1994. During 1996, a recommendation on the status of teachers was suggested. It established standards involving the rights and responsibilities of teachers and involved further education, recruitment, employment and teacher learning conditions.
The day is also an opportunity to take stock of progress, and debate ways to address challenges for the advancement of the teaching profession. It also examines the role of teachers in the attainment of global education targets.
Student360 would like to thank the teaching profession for the positive impact they have on individuals, families and communities. Today, take the opportunity to thank the teacher who’s made the most impact on your life and all teachers who have been on the frontline during this time.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will be celebrating and honouring our nation’s teachers at the Mamelodi Teachers’ Centre in Pretoria today. The event will stream live on Facebook and Twitter on the department’s social media pages.