In my opinion: Teachers should be celebrated for helping us through crises
Published 29/09/2010 | 05:00
Next Tuesday, October 5, is World Teachers' Day. This day is set aside each year by the world community to celebrate teachers and the central role they play in nurturing and guiding students through the life-long learning process.
This year, the theme of World Teachers' Day is 'Recovery Begins With Teachers'. The day provides an opportunity to show our support for teachers who have been directly or indirectly affected by a major crisis.
Be it a humanitarian crisis or the economic crisis, the role of teachers is vital in rebuilding the social, economic and intellectual life of a country.
Those who are fighting to provide quality education for the children of the world can join teachers and their representative organisations in celebrating the profession and showing support.
Ireland is renowned internationally for the humanitarian contribution it makes to developing countries and those in crisis. This commitment to helping people is reflected across all sectors of Irish society but is particularly evident in the teaching profession.
I think this stems from the nature of teachers' work in caring for young people and being involved with communities, whereby there is heightened awareness of people's needs.
Irish teacher and student support for people in need extends beyond locally-based initiatives and much work is being undertaken in the developing world in the field of education. Through education comes opportunity and many projects reflect this view.
For example, Global Schoolroom, in partnership with UCD, provides teacher education in the summer months to teachers in Uganda and India who have not received formal teacher education.
Link Community Development works in sub-Saharan Africa to promote access to high-quality education.
Many schools across Ireland have built relationships with teachers and students all over the world. There are many more examples and those involved in such projects deserve to be publicly acknowledged.
Ireland is experiencing its own economic crisis and teachers have a crucial role to play in the country's recovery by continuing to provide quality education to current and future generations of learners.
This view is reflected in the results of a survey carried out last year by iReach Market Research on behalf of the Teaching Council.
The survey showed a strong endorsement of the valuable role teachers play in our society and the Teaching Council will continue to work to promote the profession and the valuable role it plays in building Ireland's future.
In my opinion, we are fortunate that we have an educational environment that has strong foundations in the good work that teachers carry out in preparing learners for life.
It is essential that we support teachers in societies crippled by crises as education is a vital lift out of a crisis.
I urge you to celebrate the teaching profession by logging on to the World Teachers' Day site, www.5oct.org, and sending a teacher an e-card. If you are a teacher involved in a project related to recovery, why not share your pictures on the same website?