“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” No words hold truer or more relevant than these today, as expressed by India’s most-loved statesman, the late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, our 11th President, always a teacher at heart, who loved to be with students, interact with them, inspire them into dreaming big and motivating them into realising these dreams. So great was his passion to teach and his love for students, that he was with a similar gathering even when he breathed his last! Teaching is indeed the noblest profession of all, as it not only imparts knowledge, but opens the young mind to infinite possibilities, instilling with logic and confidence, inspiring and encouraging each one to be the very best version of themselves and live a happy, successful life. A teacher is the true source of motivation and guidance helping students identify and tread the right path, nurturing their strengths and talents, helping them fight their fears and weaknesses correct their wrongs.
All of us have been students someday and have benefited from our teachers. Teachers hold immense importance for each one of us – they impart knowledge and motivate students in the right direction, enlighten them and create responsible citizens and good human beings. The values they impart become the cornerstones of future generations. We celebrate Teacher’s Day as a mark of tribute to the incomparable contributions made by teachers to society. On Teachers Day we express reverence to our teachers and show them, with every gratitude, the special respect our hearts hold for them.
Why do we celebrate Teacher’s Day on 5th September in India? Teacher’s Day is observed in the US in the first week of May, while it is celebrated in the UK on the 5th of October, along with UNESCO which observes World Teacher’s Day also on October 5, as “A day devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world.” So, why do we celebrate Teacher’s Day on 5th September in India? 5th September marks the birth anniversary of the great teacher, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (born in 1888), who was a staunch believer of education, and was a well-known diplomat, scholar, former President of India and above all, a teacher. On becoming the second President of India, when some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, he said, “instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege, if 5th September is observed as Teacher’s Day.” From then onwards, the 5th of September has been observed as Teachers Day in India.
The Parsi Community, being one of the most educated and progressive communities, is known to have gifted teachers which have presented India with generations of great minds. Parsi Times caught up with a couple of such visionary educators to get their take on the great responsibilities taken by teachers and principals in educational institutions. Zarin Rabadi, Principal of Bai M N Gamadia Girls’ High School, says, “Teachers are responsible for imparting knowledge of particular subjects in the academic year, while the principal is responsible for the holistic development from an infant of 3 years to a teenager of 15 years; managing various aspects like HRD, maintaining relationships with Statutory Bodies such as Education Department, Police, Municipality, Media, Managing Board, Parents etc. A teacher has to opt for a more personalised role in mentoring students of the class. She/he is greatly responsible because rather than the Principal, it is the teacher who is the role model to students of the class with whom they interact daily.”
The highly celebrated educationist Freny Mehta, ex-Principal of Alexandra Girls English Institution, says, “A Principal needs to have clear vision and expertise to create a blueprint of how the school can achieve its goals. She needs to be a motivator and able to weave the several threads expertly to make the beautiful tapestry of the institution she heads – the students, parents, teachers, other staff members, Education department, the School Management, and all other stake holders. Teachers are instructional leaders who share their knowledge and expertise with their pupils, who give vibrancy to the mission of the school and be role models for those under their care. All – the Principal, the Captain and the Teachers, the Crew – work in unison to develop and implement programmes to ensure a climate of learning, progress and well-being for the school. Happy Teachers’ Day to all from the teaching fraternity!”