Today is World Teachers’ Day. In 1994, October 5th was proclaimed World Teachers’ Day, a day to recognize and honour teachers for the contributions they make in classrooms and students’ lives every day. On this day we have an opportunity to express our gratitude and say thanks for the tremendous impact teachers are making in the lives of our youth.
I am fortunate to be working with an exceptional group of professionals who brings their passion, caring approach, and innovative ideas to the classroom every day. I am continually impressed by their dedication and efforts to make learning engaging and fun. The best parts of my day are when I wander into classes to see the amazing learning that is happening.
But what are the students saying about their teachers? As I contemplated my focus for this post, gathering stories from the students seemed like a logical and authentic means to honour teachers. With notebook in hand, I felt like a roving reporter, approaching groups of students in the hallways during the lunch break. I asked them to tell me about their teachers, and I recorded their thoughts and stories which they so willingly shared.
Teachers take a genuine interest in their students. They ask us about our weekend adventures, a sporting event or wonder how we are feeling. They notice when we look worried or upset and ask us how we are doing.
We see our teachers laughing together. (I didn’t really think students would notice or comment on that feeling of collegiality. Perhaps seeing their teachers having fun makes our students feel happy too; laughter contributes to a joyful atmosphere and positive school culture.)
Teachers are awesome. They encourage us to ask questions and be curious.
Teachers are inclusive. They create a safe learning environment where we can be ourselves and not feel judged.
The following poem written by a student in Ms. Smith’s Creative Writing 12 class speaks to the importance of creating safe spaces for our learners.
By Lucy Chase
When I walk into this room
I feel safe
Like slipping into a fuzzy mitten
For my heart and my soul
Like feeling the sun on my skin
The happiness soaks into me
And I find myself
Imagining things I usually wouldn’t
I express myself differently here
More honestly and with more passion
Than anywhere else
In this room
I am me.
One of the common threads that ran through many of the students’ comments was how the teachers make them feel. As Lucy so beautifully writes, “In this room I am me.” Teachers create the conditions that allow students to be themselves.
On World Teachers’ Day, let’s remember to thank teachers for caring about their students’ well-being, ensuring they feel safe, and for guiding them lovingly every day as they navigate a world where endless possibilities await.