October 5th is International Teachers Day. The teachers we grew up looking up to besides our own parents. They have mesmerized, inspired, and baffled us with their lessons.
They have also annoyed us with constant homework, assignments, and exams. They have, at times, skimmed out grades, thus allowing our arch nemeses to get 1st prize. I think I might have digressed a bit, but what I want to say is that although International Teachers Day might have passed it is necessary to say one or two words about our teachers. Love them or hate them, we just can’t live without them. This is an appreciation article.
Teachers explore every means within their purview to make us feel comfortable and encourage us to learn. They comfort us when we are in distressed situations. They mourn with us when we are bereaved. And they rejoice with us in most of our successes.
The smile on their faces when they teach illuminates the entire class. Enthralled, we don’t want to hear the sound of the closing bell. Seemingly large embarrassing situations are turned into minor issues to make us feel relaxed. Their words of encouragement always mollycoddle you to wake up late in the night full of enthusiasm and eager to go to school in the morning. If taught by such dedicated teachers, most students in their classes do their best no matter how “low” their scores may have previously been.
In class, dedicated teachers show exemplary leadership skills. They are so patient and tolerant, despite our shortcomings, and they assist along the way without any sign of resentment. In our moments of success, when we do great in our exams, they rejoice with us exhilaratingly. They encourage us to dream and they tell us that there’s nothing impossible to achieve in this world. That’s the distinguishing mark of a truly dedicated teacher.
Their insistence for the right things to be done has shaped our lives tremendously. Their compelling guidance for us to obey our parents, respect our elders, and fear God will forever be the guiding principles for the rest of our lives.
Teachers have played pivotal guiding roles in our lives and they continue to do so in the lives of the current generation of students. Taking care of one or two children has never been an easy task in our homes…spare a thought for a teacher taking care of a whole class of children.
Teachers in diverse ways have motivated students to reach for and achieve lofty ambitions that the students themselves would have never thought possible. There are some students who due to challenging or distressing situations, would have dropped out of school if not for their teachers. Those students who have had the privilege to be taught by these dedicated teachers know exactly what I’m talking about.
Having said that, I’m aware that there are a few unscrupulous teachers among the many respectable ones. Some shamelessly retort to the public saying, “If you want quality service, you should be prepared to pay for it.” In many instances, they have raved and ranted at the top of their lungs about the knowledge they possess. When they entered the classroom they almost refuse to teach with enthusiasm, just as their own teachers once did. The actions of those types of teachers should not be used to punish the overwhelming majority of teachers that are dedicated and passionate, and who over the years have made considerable sacrifices to serve humanity and their country.
I recall during the occasional admonitions at school, one teacher said, “I cannot do any other work apart from teaching, because of the joy to educate and to shape a worthy human being into the society. Your success replenishes our hearts with joy and your failures saddened our hearts. Go into this world with the Ten Commandments and I’m very confident you’ll do well in this world.” He ended by saying with a choking voice, “do unto others just as you’ll want them to do to you”. At that point, you can envisage insuppressible unadulterated emotions that could no longer be hidden from his persona. That’s exactly how most teachers feel about their students.
My favorite teacher was passionate about his subject matter. He didn’t teach us a subject. Rather, he shared with us a wonderful secret. His enthusiasm, his lectures, his assignments, even his test questions screamed, “Isn’t this fascinating? Isn’t this brilliant? Isn’t this exciting? Don’t you want to know more?”
My favorite teacher was demanding. His was the original zero tolerance classroom. “You didn’t do your homework? Complete the assignment? Follow directions? Listen to the question? Study for the exam? Intolerable! You get a zero!”
Teachers rejoice in seeing their students become doctors, engineers, scientists, politicians, and more. Teachers, at any level, play a significant role in our lives. They will have to continue to do so if we still want to have a healthy, educated, tolerant society in Eritrea.
Teachers were highly respected in our societies until their service was not commensurate with the remuneration they received at the end of the month. Teachers worldwide receive very little at the end of the month and the repercussion has been the declining morals in our schools.
Teachers do a lot for students, even performing the role traditionally reserved for parents. Counseling and molding our future leaders in the schools for little compensation, yet they (often) don’t complain about it. What I’m stating here is just the tip of the iceberg. Meet any teacher and you’ll palpably have the feel of what they go through daily. They sometimes trudge through the forest to areas that are not motorable, to render their services. This has been possible due to the enthusiasm they put into their skill, the love for their work and country.
UNESCO recognized this day as International Teachers Day to commemorate the “Teaching in Freedom” pact signed on October 5, 1966 at a special intergovernmental conference convened in Paris. The accompanying recommendation is focused on the rights and responsibilities of teachers, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions.
It is, thus, my opinion that it is the responsibility of every Eritrean to take care of those who took good care of us and continue to take care of our siblings. Let me take this opportunity to say we Eritreans salute every teacher, past and present. We value your sacrifices and we hold you in high esteem. We will always respect those who stood and stand in front of a class to impart knowledge to others.