Celebrated globally on 5 October each year, World Teachers’ Day is a time to recognize teachers’ impact on students and the wider community.

A constant source of support for their students, teachers, can help to shape a young person’s life and ensure they reach their potential. Sometimes overlooked in society, teachers and educators celebrate World Teachers’ Day, and their contribution to society is remembered, recognized, and appreciated.

Established by UNESCO in 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers in 1966. Designed to set out the responsibilities and rights of teachers, appropriate recruitment protocols, teaching strategies, and learning environments, the Recommendation laid out worldwide standards for education.

Created to ‘acknowledge, evaluate and enhance the instructors of the world,’ World Teachers’ Day shines a light on the profession and brings relevant educational issues into the mainstream. World Teachers’ Day is the ideal time to involve the wider community in school life by allowing teachers to highlight issues, such as a lack of resources, and celebrate the teaching profession. It is also a fantastic time to show teacher appreciation.

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Celebrating Teachers in the USA

Although World Teachers’ Day is officially celebrated on 5 October, many countries have alternative or additional teacher recognition days throughout the year. In the USA, for example, Teacher Appreciation Week takes place in the first full week of May each year. Every Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated as National Teacher Day and is a time to recognize the contribution teachers make to the lives of their students.

Teaching is one of the most important roles in our society, and its impact cannot be overstated. For most students, their first teacher helps them gain independence as they step away from their parents and into another new environment. As children, a kindergarten teacher is usually your first non-familial authority figure; as such, they provide the support and care you need as you begin your education.

Of course, the role of a teacher doesn’t get any less important as children age. Whether you’re teaching at an elementary level and helping to shape young minds or ensuring high school students have sufficient support as they make choices about their future, the role of a teacher is instrumental and life-changing.

Highlighting Issues with World Teachers’ Day

Although World Teachers’ Day is a great time to recognize and appreciate teachers’ impact on society, it’s also a suitable time to raise issues affecting your class, school, or profession. Designed not only to celebrate teachers but to shine a light on the industry, World Teachers’ Day can allow educators to raise awareness of topical teaching issues and garner mainstream support.

Each year, UNESCO sets out a theme for the upcoming World Teachers’ Day, so highlighting topics relating to the annual theme could be a good way of raising awareness within your community or school district. In 2019, for example, UNESCO was shining a light on ‘Young Teachers: The future of the Profession’ and looking at ways to attract and retain young teachers.

With many teachers feeling compelled to leave the profession due to a lack of practical support, World Teachers’ Day could be a great time to build a more supportive network around your school. By involving parents and the wider community in World Teachers’ Day and National Teacher Day in May, you can successfully encourage people to participate in the school community throughout the year and volunteer their time whenever possible.

Recognizing the contribution teachers make

Sadly, teachers come into the line of fire regularly, even though much criticism is unfairly leveled at them. When schools have limited resources or when school places are oversubscribed, teachers can sometimes get the blame. Teachers often bear the brunt of national or international policies that don’t meet expectations within the education sector.

However, teachers are too aware of the cracks in the system and are trying to ensure all students have access to a well-rounded, enriching, and valuable education! Indeed, teachers are often the lynchpin of communities and the driving force in the lives of young people. The unsung heroes of our districts, it’s time to recognize teachers’ enormous contributions to our lives and celebrate them in style.

Whether you choose to celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5 or National Teacher Day in May, there are various ways to promote the profession and recognize the inherent value of teachers. Celebrating in and out of school is a great way to encourage the whole community to participate, so why not organize various events?

To celebrate teachers and recognize their contribution, try these ideas this World Teachers’ Day:

  • Ask students to write down three things their teacher has helped them with
  • Invite parents and guardians to after-school events
  • Host a party of members of the local community
  • Plan a ‘stationery drive’ and ask for contributions of pens, pencils, markers, etc.
  • Encourage students to celebrate creatively
  • Ask students to recall their funniest teacher stories
  • Share your memories of your teachers with your students
  • Shine a light on the practical and academic requirements for young teachers
  • Recognize your contribution

Celebrating Teachers’ Day and Recognizing Your Contribution

Although teaching can be a supremely satisfying career choice, it can also be challenging, frustrating, and stressful. Teachers are responsible for the academic welfare of their students, but they also take on a significant role in the lives of their students. Offering support across a range of different areas, teachers do more than deliver academic content and facilitate learning.

While having a positive impact on a young person’s life is rewarding, teachers rarely get to stop and recognize their achievements or successes. With so many demands on their time, they’re often constantly moving forward and focusing on the next issue to resolve, lesson plan, or term.

However, celebrating your success is important, and Teachers’ Day is the ideal time to do just that. Take the time to think about what you’ve achieved in your career and your impact on your students, and reward yourself for your priceless contribution to others. Teachers’ Day is a great way of focusing on your positive impact, so why not write some notes or create a journal to reflect on how much you’ve achieved during your career?

In addition, Teachers’ Day can also give rise to informal celebrations, so make time to celebrate with your colleagues. Whether you enjoy cake and cookies in the staff room, head out for a celebratory meal, or have a team-building day, spending time with your colleagues can help you relax and de-stress. Furthermore, building strong professional working relationships with your colleagues will give you a wealth of support you can draw on throughout the year.

For teachers, your colleagues can be your biggest allies and valuable source of support. Familiar with the challenges that teaching can bring, your colleagues have an unrivaled insight into what each day entails and the struggles you may face at work. By working closely together, learning from one another, and supporting each other, you can enhance the careers of others, get the professional help you need, and cultivate a supportive and harmonious working environment for everyone at your school.

Career Development and Teachers’ Day

As you’re busy recognizing teachers’ value and impact on their students and community, spare a thought for your career too. In addition to reflecting on your past achievements, Teachers’ Day is a fantastic time to set yourself some goals and plan where you want to be this time next year.

Perhaps you want to specialize in a particular teaching area, or you’re keen to take on more responsibilities at your school. If so, make a note of your career goals, the areas you want to improve, and when you want to achieve these things, and get a plan in motion. With clear goals and achievable objectives, you can use Teachers’ Day as a springboard to enhancing your career and honing your skills as a teacher.