Teachers Day

With various conflicts blazing, it cannot be easy being a teacher in North Africa in North Africa and the Middle East at present. However, 11 countries across the region mark Teachers Day on February 28th 2014, and they all celebrate the hard work of school staff. Different countries celebrate the role of educationalists in different ways (and at different times).

Many take part in the United Nations World Teachers Day on October 4th each year but the actual idea of celebrating Teachers Day took ground independently in many countries during the 20th century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education. For example, Argentina has commemorated Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s death on September 11 since 1915, while India has celebrated Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday every September 5th since 1962. On September 28th Taiwan uses a Teachers Day day to honour the virtues, struggles, and contributions that teachers make- not only to their own students but also to society in general. Here, people often make use of the day to express their gratitude to their teachers, such as paying them a visit or sending them a card. In his vision for a new Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said the "the new generation will be created by teachers" and there, a Teachers Day is celebrated every November.

Teachers do a vital job- as do the support staff and admin assistants who make a school function. Whenever they are celebrated, these are days dedicated to acknowledging how much these groups of people generally do throughout the year for students who, sometimes, take them for granted. As I thought more deeply about why we go out of our way to honour these groups of people, I realised that we set these days aside to focus on those roles and professions that provide some with the opportunity to change the lives of others. Celebrating World Teachers Day – whenever it might fall – gives us all a chance to reflect on the incredible and crucial role that teachers play in the lives of children and the adults that they become.

Ray Henshaw