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Teachers’ Day: When, What, Why?

    Being a teacher is often an overlooked and underappreciated career. They spend most of their time educating or preparing to teach future generations without being recognized for their effort. Teachers Day is the one special day of the year where we can show appreciation for the 80 million educators in the world.

    USA Teachers’ Appreciation Week 1st week of May. USA Teachers’ Day May 3rd, 2022
    Teachers’ Day, South Korea and Mexico May 15th, 2022 and International Teacher’s Day October 5th, 2022

    When is Teachers’ Day?

    More than a hundred countries celebrate World Teachers’ Day annually on October 5th, otherwise varies from country to country. Teacher’s Day in the USA is always on the first Tuesday of May and is called National Teacher Appreciation Day.

    Teacher’s Day in India is on September 5th. In China, Teacher’s Day is on September 10th to honor its 15 million teachers teaching ten percent of the world’s 2.6 billion schoolchildren! Source.

    World Education Statistics – only 80 million teachers!


    Teachers’ Day or Teacher’s Day?

    A good teacher will of course immediately ask questions about the apostrophe in Teachers’ Day! The official word is World Teachers’ Day (plural possessive) and Teacher Appreciation Day/ Week, though the singular and popular Teacher’s Day is also grammatically correct. Yes, an apostrophe is required to show possession, but sometimes terms like teachers, farmers, soldiers, or taxpayers are intended more as an adjective than as a possessor. Source.

    Why is Teacher’s Day celebrated?

    World Teachers’ Day honors teachers and teacher organizations making essential contributions to the education and development of our future leaders. On World Teacher’s Day, UNESCO and Education International (EI) campaigns give the world a better insight into the teachers’ profession. They emphasize the important role teachers play in every society, especially the developing ones. Many events are organized in over 100 countries to celebrate their teachers.

    The most recent UNESCO theme from 2020 was “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future.” This theme reveals the commitment teachers have made, particularly teaching throughout the Coronavirus pandemic in a range of situations. It also reflected the challenges teachers face trying to work in a “new normal” environment of online education. Source.

    When did World Teachers’ Day start?

    World Teachers’ Day was celebrated for the first time on October 5th, 1996. A special intergovernmental conference in Paris accepted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. Source:

    What is Teachers’ Day called in the USA?

    In the USA, Teacher’s Day is always held on the first Tuesday of May during National Teacher Appreciation Week. The idea dates back to 1944, when a teacher from Arkansas, Mattye Whyte Woodridge got the idea to have a day to honor the contribution of teachers. She started correspondence with educational and political leaders and eventually former First Lady Eleanor persuaded Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day. The current date was set in 1985. Source.

    This year (2022) National Teacher Appreciation Day in the USA will be on May 3rd. The National Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) provides a comprehensive list of suggestions for how students, parents and communities can celebrate the unique role of their educators during this special week and also throughout the year. These ideas can of course be implemented in most other countries as well.

    Gifts for Teachers

    What gifts do teachers like?

    So, how do we show appreciation to our teachers? What is the perfect gift for teachers? Of course, it’s a gift that comes from the heart:

    • A smile on the student’s faces
    • Progress in the student’s educational path
    • A gift card made by the creative minds of the students 
    • A thank you note/video    
    • A song prepared by the class choir
    • Garden flowers
    • Student’s persistence
    • Students always going the extra mile to get the assignment done
    • Unique and creative answers
    • Inspirational essays
    • Recognition from parents and former students
    • Positive affirmation from a parent.

    And the list goes on… There are many ways to honor teachers, but probably the best way is to simply find the most thoughtful way to say thank you. The smallest of things make a world of difference to teachers and their attitude on the job. These little gifts will make them suddenly feel like masters of the universe! Source:

    What message to write on Teachers’ Day?

    Finding the right words to thank a special teacher is easy these days, thanks to the Internet. There are lots of examples of inspiration for students. Encourage pupils to post their messages on a shared social media page, on a notice board and in-person on handmade cards attached to small gifts. Here are some examples that appeared in a daily newspaper in India:

    It is you who inspired me to question, wonder, and think. Thanks for everything you did for me. Happy Teachers’ Day!”

    “Dear teacher, you have been a great mentor. Thanks and a very Happy Teachers’ Day!”

    “You are perhaps the only teacher who assured me that everything is possible to achieve in life if we divert all the life energy in attaining that goal. Happy teachers’ day!”

    “The moment you enter into the classroom, we all can feel strong energy vibes that still inspire us to be like you. Happy teachers’ day!”

    “If a country has great teachers like you, I am pretty sure that a nation can become a superpower within a decade. Happy teacher’s day to the most inspiring teacher!”

    “Not only do you focus on the academic brilliance of the students, but you also make sure they excel in other domains of life. You are the most perfect teacher I have ever seen. Wish you a remarkable teacher’s day!”

    “You never propelled us to become the best. You always taught us to focus on being the perfect one. Thank you, sir, for all the guidance and knowledge. Happy teacher’s day!”

    “Respected sir, you have the rare ability to teach the most difficult subject in the simplest way. If it wasn’t for you, I would have failed so many times. Thank’s a lot for your priceless contribution. Have a splendid teacher’s day!” Source:

    Teachers’ Day Quotes

    “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

    “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

    “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates

    “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward

    “A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn.” ― Ruth Beechick

    Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

    The National Parents Teachers’ Association has a comprehensive list of suggestions for how students, parents and communities can celebrate the unique role of their educators during this special week and also throughout the year. These ideas can of course be implemented in most other countries as well.

    Public tributes suggested by the PTA include a special luncheon or dinner honoring the town’s teachers; run a series of interviews with teachers in the local media; feature a teacher of the week display on a bulletin board. Expressions of gratitude can be a make-over of the teacher’s room; put special snacks and flowers in the teacher’s room, surprise teachers with cards, posters and handmade gifts during Appreciation Week; let students of each grade perform a short skit/ roleplay titled for example, “What school would be without Mister X or Miss Y”.    

    Why does the world need good teachers?

    It may sound like a cliché, but teachers actually do make a difference. Even though a teacher’s job is to teach, they’ve got many roles. They are our tutors, advisors, counselors, guardians and friends. In a way, teachers are often a very important part of a student’s family and closest friends. Parents and society rely on teachers for shaping their children’s minds; to become the best versions of themselves. One can’t even imagine a world without teachers. Time and time again we see the importance of teachers, especially when facing extreme challenges. In the past year and a half during the Covid-19 pandemic, the value of educators was visible in their dedication. So, yes in “sickness and in health” we do need teachers!   

    What challenges do teachers face?

    Teaching is a noble career, but a challenging one, as well. More than ever, teachers are facing difficulties and obstacles that aren’t easy to overcome. During the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 and 2021, teachers across the globe were facing the challenges of online education, lack of technical support, resources, and limited time. Those with many students were having trouble providing individualized attention. In the time of the pandemic, teachers went beyond their job description. Besides educators in the eyes of the students and parents, they were a ray of hope. They were true motivators for students to see the bright side of the pandemic story, always there when needed just a click away. As teachers prepare students for the future, today more than ever it’s important to recognize and at least publicly acknowledge the arduous job they do once a year on World Teacher’s Day.

    How many new teachers are needed?

    According to UNESCO, the world needs to train 68.8 million additional teachers by 2030 if the goal of primary and secondary education for every child is to be reached. It is 24.4 million teachers for primary and 44.4 million for high schools. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is the worst, with a shortage of about 17 million teachers. While countries in the EU have a teacher-pupil ratio of 1 to 14, India has a ratio of 1 to 32. In African countries, the ratio varies from 30 to 50, though a very large percentage of the teachers are not qualified themselves. Source:

    What makes a Great Teacher?

    Like nurses and police, teaching is recognized as a calling more than a career. Admittedly, all are not equally gifted or great, but the influence of teachers on their students is life long. So, what is it that makes a great teacher apart from hard work and much kindness? See these links:

    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

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