When I take the chance to remember teachers who have helped shape me the most, I am often quick to remember them for their intelligence, knowledge, or passion for their subjects. What I often fail to think about are the challenges my teachers had to face on a day-to-day basis. On this World Teachers’ Day, my hope is that we take time to appreciate the variety of teacher experiences we've had and give some thought to all facets of their lives.
In more ways than one, teaching is really an act of kindness. It takes courage, patience, empathy, and a certain degree of altruism for a teacher to extend their hand to each student and attempt to guide them towards some form of better understanding. Every day, teachers face the task of understanding and meeting the diverse learning needs of many students at once, while at the same time fostering individual relationships with each one of them. And yet, while the expectations for teachers are high, the personal gain they receive is often disproportionately low.
Let’s reflect together. Each of us who has learned in a classroom has been cared for by a teacher. Many of us have memorable experiences that have shaped our personal development and some of us can even claim that because of their teacher they became a teacher, themselves.
On this special day, let's take time to reflect on our teachers, both past and present! Find a comfortable place, take time out of your day and ask yourself:
What has a teacher taught you that makes you feel grateful?
How have you developed because of a teacher in your life?
Finally, ask yourself: how can you honor them for their indefatigable efforts in preparing us and future generations as informed, creative and capable citizens?
By Theo Koffler, speaker, author and founder of Mindfulness Without Borders – a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in youth and the adults that surround them.