“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
– Malala Yousafzai
Teaching is indeed the noblest profession of all and teachers are the guiding force in a child’s life, that shapes their destiny. Teaching not only imparts knowledge, but opens the young mind to infinite possibilities, instilling it with logic and confidence, inspiring and encouraging each one to be the very best version of themselves. 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, and correcting their wrongs. Most of us are lucky to have our hearts, minds and souls nurtured under the warm glow of enlightenment by our teachers.
The values they impart become the cornerstones of future generations. On the 5th of September, we celebrate Teacher’s Day as a mark of tribute to the incomparable contributions made by teachers to society and thier crucial role in birthing not just eminent persons and personalities, but also in nation-building.
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 staunchly advocated education, and was a well-known diplomat, scholar, former President of India and above all – a teacher himself. 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.” Then onwards, the 5th of September has been observed as Teachers Day in India.
Many speak of a certain immoral profession as the oldest profession. This is wrong. The term, ‘the oldest profession’ can be attributed to the noblest one, the one that spreads knowledge, inculcates good, moral behavior, discerns right from wrong, and truthfulness from the falsehood; the profession, which, through the ages, has been respected, revered, loved and trusted, the profession of teaching. A teacher is known by many other appellations – like the educator, mentor, coach, guide, tutor, advisor, pedagogue, preceptor, pundit or guru and the most obtuse and very rarely used cognomen – the abecedary.
Mankind has reached pinnacles of civilization through teachers, educators, the communicators of knowledge and very rarely by self-learning and research, but still, at the bottom of it, you will always find a guide or an influencer somewhere.
A mother is the child’s first teacher. She is the first to understand her child’s needs and the child finds security and comfort in her protective embrace. A child’s first word, first step, is mostly in the company of the mother. Within a very short period of time, the new-born senses safety and comfort in mother as in no one else. The mother too lays down the foundation, the basis of communication, the language, the mother-tongue…
Napoleon worshipped his mother. She was known throughout France as Madame Mère. He declared, “Everything good I have done, I owe it to my mother.” He also said, “Give me an educated mother, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation.”
No wonder then, almost every student of my school gave the appellation ‘Mamma’ to our French teacher, Mrs. Khorshed Vakil. Boys loved her and worshipped her. I owe a lot to ‘mamma’ and I am grateful to her for the good life I enjoy today.
Asho Zarathushtra was the first of the great teachers. His teachings have transcended time and space, and his message of ‘Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds’, through millennia still remains relevant, not just to Zarathostis, but in one way or the other, to the world at large. His simple and sweet wisdom, “Happiness unto him who happiness gives,” can never fade into nothingness.
According to Plato, education helps achieve justice – individual and social, that forms the bedrock of all things civilized. Teachers bring light through literacy, banishing the darkness of ignorance. This is of prime importance to India with its mammoth population.
I am sure I speak for all when I extend heartfelt gratitude to some of the finest and the most dedicated teachers who we have had the good fortune to have been taught by. If we have achieved success in any way, we owe it to our parents, our teachers. The following are a few quotes by the greats which best honour our teachers…
“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.” – Robert Frost, Poet
“Teaching is not a profession, it’s a way of life.” – PM of India, Narendara Modi
“The true teachers are those who help us think for ourselves.” – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India’s 2nd President
“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” – Alexander
“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.” – Aristotle
“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” – Anatole France – French Writer, Poet and Nobel Prize Awardee,
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” – Kahlil Gibran
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
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