Teachers’ Day

Whilst wishing everyone Happy Teachers’ Day, as is traditional, I do so with a note of reservation.

We are not gods, we are not geniuses, we are not there to be put up on pedestals or worshiped as the dispensers of gobbets of knowledge or wisdom. There might have been a need for such people in education once upon a time …… but that time is long gone. We are not sanctimonious lords and ladies handed the rights of divining a young person’s future by the mere flick of our red pen. We are also not kings and queens with the right to frown down cynically on parents for their ‘best we know how’ inadequacies in the inexact science of bringing up children. We are also not people who have the right to destroy a child’s innate curiosity, creativity or desire to learn, and excuse ourselves on the grounds that we give them a hug once in a while.

The medical profession benefits enormously from having the Hippocratic Oath – a pledge by every new person entering the profession to uphold its ethical values. One of the most powerful messages associated with that oath is the overriding commitment to “do no harm”. Oh, how I wish that such an expectation existed at the core of the teaching profession. We need a Hippocratic Oath for Educators!

That harm is done is unquestionable. We only need to ask any adult, old or young about their own schooling experiences. That it continues to be done by educators who claim the right to have a day set aside in the year to celebrate what they do borders on criminal.

We will truly have the right to celebrate a special day as Teachers’ Day when it is evident that we have schools and education systems that refuse to force feed a ‘one size fits all’ diet of knowledge, that acknowledge the unique nature, character, strengths and learning needs of each and every child and are designed around meeting those needs. It will be an education system that meets each and every learner where they are, that acknowledges their motivation to learn, their long term life needs to have ownership of their own learning and supports them in acquiring the skills to go in to the world and live the very best life they are capable of living.

Today, if this day has any relevance or meaning, let us pledge to strive harder for real and genuine reform that leads to more personalized learning, built around the needs of the individual learner with respect and dignity, equipping young people with skills of self-determination, character and empowerment.

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8 Responses

  1. happy teacher’s day sir, hope to attend your training sessions some time in future with a whole lot of new ideas for a constructive future for a world that needs compassion at this hour of syrian crisis…..to be able to think and learn for the world we want is a message for this teachers day for all the teachers in the world who can do so much for peace in times to come.

  2. Hi Shalini, good to hear from you. I agree the situation in Syria is a worry and as those with the power to influence children we must be ever vigilant and mindful. That said, I do take hope from statistical data that suggests there are now less wars and less people dying because of wars in the world now than at any time in the last 200 years.

    • its hope and analysis from seniors that one looks forward to always, i only wish the UN was more representative of the current world order to stop the middle east from getting into a violent region in the world spiralling into an imbroglio due to US intervention and regional factors…it doesnt take time for things to worsen esp when the situation is so vulnerable and everyone from russia to US are pumping in weapons for the either sides it doesnt help……..the so called arab spring is creating mayhem across the region worse than a cold war situation with al qaeada finding new ground its all happening there everyone is involved and its the millions of kids and a generation of syrians who would just disappear……..how would UNHCR assistance be sufficient when one on hand the refugees are being given homes and on the other hand they are being killed as fodder canon for the various religious groups and countries in the region. i have been following Al Jazeera closely esp the programme INSIDE STORY…..

  3. Wish you a wonderful day and hope one day your thoughts and wishes come true.

  4. This makes sense.. In a few cases teachers day has become a sort of ritual to please the gods (teachers). there have been years when teachers have been given cards which students have spent hours working on and flowers that students have bought with their own money.. I think it’s quite crazy..

  5. Thank you-as always thought provoking and yes-the oath-so very required Anuradha Kurup ________________________________

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