As we get set for the weekend, World Teachers’ Day (WTD) is upon us. Ironically, it falls on a Saturday this year. What better way to show our teachers that we value their hard work than by giving them the weekend off! On October 5th, countries around the world will recognize the valuable contribution of teachers everywhere as custodians of literacy, numeracy, and civics. At Matthews Hall, we certainly share this appreciation of our own teachers.
The status of teachers – and the respect shown to them – are interesting things to ponder. After all, next to parents, teachers are the role models, guardians, and advocates with whom our children spend the majority of their time. If our kids are our most treasured gifts, where and with whom we allow them to spend their days are significant responsibilities. We all want our kids to spend their days with effective teachers who have the hearts of parents.
Great teachers are the key, but great teachers are more than what they know. We all know effective teachers with advanced degrees and others who excel without them. High scores may be related to success, but they do not directly predict it. Knowing one’s subject matter is definitely important – and yet, what about teachers who know their subject matter inside and out, but fail to know their students? Without authentic relationships there can be no real learning. Relationships built on trust, integrity and honesty are the foundation of every meaningful educational encounter.
At Matthews Hall, we have a great team of teachers who work together in the pursuit of a common goal. We are not part of a system, we are part of a community. We reject labels for kids, we strive to know and appreciate our students as individuals, and we work hard to offer students an experience that will inspire, motivate and transform them. As World Teachers’ Day is quietly recognized tomorrow, let’s reflect on the significant role of teachers, past and present, in our own lives and in the lives of our children and let’s be grateful.
I have a vivid memory of visiting a Grade 5 class in 2003 when I was a young principal. The teacher had invited parents to visit her class to share about their professions with her students. On the day in question, the visiting parent was a physician, an obstetrician, from Ghana whose opening remark to the children was this: “I want to thank your teacher, Miss Malcolm, for inviting me to your classroom today to share my work as a doctor with you. But, more importantly, I want to thank Miss Malcolm for becoming a teacher because without teachers, there would be no doctors. Children, we need to thank Miss Malcolm for becoming a teacher.”
I still remember the impact that experience had on Miss Malcolm, who was an early career teacher at the time. She felt valued and respected – and energized.
The link between the respect demonstrated to teachers in society and the performance of children in school is increasingly well-supported by research and, really, can be directly observed in any school.
On World Teachers’ Day, we might even say that respecting teachers is not only an important moral duty – it’s essential for the educational outcomes of society itself.
Happy World Teachers’ Day to our dedicated MH team!
Ric Anderson, Head of School