I have been the girlfriend of a primary teacher for four years and over this time have become privy to the response he receives after telling people he is a teacher: “That must be such an easy job!” “Do you just get to do colouring in all day?” “You only work half the year with all those holidays!” Whilst these comments are generally laughed off, I think today – on World Teachers Day – it is important that we take a moment to be less comical about teachers and instead, appreciate the commitment and all-consuming energy that most teachers pour into their roles.
World Teachers Day has been celebrated on October 5th since 1994, after being established by UNESCO in an effort to instigate support for existing teachers and excite young people to consider a life in education. However, despite the best efforts of teaching organisations, sadly over the last six years there has been a steady decline in those enrolling on education based courses in the UK.
Why? The reality is, teaching isn’t ‘easy’ and it mostly certainly isn’t a nine to five playdough date! All the teachers I know are absorbed in their careers; uncontrollably committed to bettering young people, putting this at the forefront of everything they do. Where we see a used toilet roll, they see a resource. When we think taking two bags to work is ‘packing heavy’ they carry three bags, thirty books and a container full of stickers. Teachers, like nurses or police officers, are a part of our public service team. Everyday, they go above and beyond, not for the betterment of their career, but for the benefit of your child’s future. They are selfless, inspiring and more than deserving of this day of thanks.
As much as I don’t envy the long hours and saintly patience it must require to be a teacher, it has to be recognised that teaching is one of the most rewarding careers on the planet. Not many people can say that their average day at work consists of at least thirty faces that are (almost) always excited to see them. Thirty people that want to know how your day was. Thirty people who think everything you say is incredible, smart and exciting. As much as I want to dedicate today to appreciating the hard work that goes into teaching, I also want any future teachers to realise that despite this hard work, teaching is an inordinately rewarding path to dedicate your life to; and a job that will enrich more than just your bank account.
Our world needs teachers. Of all kinds. Primary teachers, guitar teachers, language teachers, driving teachers, shoelace tying teachers (also known as Dads)! Whilst today we should express gratitude to our existing teachers, it is equally as important that we promote the significance of education to the future of humanity. We can strip back much of the disparity in this world to the result of inconsistent levels of education offered to people – something I think we need to spend more time addressing.
Teaching is a vital part of making our world a better place, for we cannot learn without being taught and we cannot teach without learning. Make sure you thank a teacher today, whether that be a Mother or a classroom teacher, and celebrate the importance of life-long learning in our ever-changing world.
Written by Anna Campbell.