Friday 5th October marked #WorldTeachersDay. We're taking this opportunity to celebrate the many committed educators in our own network.
Launched in 1994, World Teachers Day is used as an opportunity to celebrate the great successes of teachers around the world, while also highlighting the many barriers that prevent access to quality education.
This year the event is being used to focus on the right to education and the importance of qualified teachers in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (#SDG4) - to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics found that in 2017, 85% of primary school teachers worldwide had received teacher training. However significant regional disparities exist, with figures dropping to 64% in sub-Saharan Africa and 71% in South Asia. Those teachers who have not received training can struggle to make the most of learning opportunities, especially when confronted with limited resources and overcrowded classrooms.
In order to mark the occasion and share some insight from the many teachers within the global EPPE Network, members have answered questions about their experiences of teachers and teaching.
Was there a teacher who particularly impacted you?
"My Chinese teacher in secondary school. She was in her 30s, very energetic and passionate, she had beautiful handwriting and a distinguished personality. Importantly, she kept her promises and was responsible."
"My high school English teacher, Miss Lorraine, has always been an inspiration. Looking back, it must have been difficult for a teacher to give one child the extra help she needed in a class of 65. She always did and for that I will always be grateful."
"My Bahasa Teacher from Senior High School. She taught me to never give up on my dreams and to stay humble."
"I'm always grateful to Mr Kerr who taught me to view the world through a geographer’s eyes. Also Jan Goodfellow who embodied so much of the teacher I wanted to be when I was doing my own training and felt lost in a profession under siege."
"Mr Winkelman dared to be different. He was his whole self everyday and pushed kids to be excellent. His expectations were high, but the demand pushed us to be the best."
"My 71 year old AP European History teacher. He had an incredibly deep and vast level of knowledge and was able to talk about history in the most intricate, personable, and engaging way as if he had lived all of the stories himself (many of which he had). He always demonstrated a genuine desire to keep learning and encouraged us to do so as well."
"Back in 2000, all year long my grade 10 Science and Chemistry class had been ''copy what the teacher reads from his book''. I was already predicting that I would fail the class. But then a replacement teacher arrived for one semester. He made us see Chemistry class as the ''fun class of the day''. I passed that class and went on to do a masters degree."
If you could go back and offer yourself advice as a trainee teacher, what would it be?
"Knowledge is not the most important thing; being an expert is good, but more than that, being a nice person with wider perspectives and a positive attitude is crucial."
"When I first started out, I wish I had been kinder to myself. I'd tell my younger self that it's okay to not have all the answers and that there was no way I could have controlled everything. Failure is part of every profession and as long as I learnt something from the experience, I'm allowed to forgive myself."
"To teach is to inspire. It comes from within your heart. You can never lie to your students; when you are nervous, when you’re unprepared, when you’re afraid of the challenges. Thus, being a teacher requires not only intelligence but also passion, dedication, and a good work ethic."
"Remember this might be the day they learn that life lesson. What is common sense to you might not be common sense to them, yet."
"Don’t get bogged down by the admin and details—remember that the ultimate goal is to make sure the students enjoy learning. Everything else will come along with that."
"Breaks mean breaks. Let them run around and enjoy themselves!"
What do you most enjoy about your work as a teacher?
"Seeing the improvements in the students. They are like trees; I might water them and fertilize their minds, and I might not see them grow and blossom immediately, but I cherish the moments I’m with them nonetheless. Nothing makes me happier than when I see them achieve their dreams, no matter what they might be. Guiding and supporting them to achieve is my achievement. And they teach me a lot too, they motivate me to keep moving forward, and my interactions with them provide fresh air to my brain."
"I love receiving letters from my former students. To me, there is no greater privilege than to be remembered for doing good. If I can be to somebody what Miss Lorraine was to me, I'll consider my life well-lived."
"I love seeing their smiles when they finally accomplish a task."
"I love the kids. They drive you crazy, but they are smart, funny, and will give back everything you invest in them. There is nothing like those light-bulb moments when they finally grasp a concept, or knowing you're one of the people who has earned their trust."
"Kids say the darndest things. And they keep you young and on your toes."
"When your presence causes contagious smiles among the kids. They know its gonna be fun."
Many thanks to our contributing members. To read more about their work in education across the globe, take a look at individual member profiles.