“Take a stand for Teachers” is the 2012 slogan for World Teachers’ Day.
UNESCO calls on everyone to consider undertaking a special celebration for World Teachers’ Day: ”Teachers… ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them.”
On the UNESCO page there is another statement I liked very much:
Teachers are among the many factors that keep children in school and influence learning. They help students think critically, process information from several sources, work cooperatively, tackle problems and make informed choices.
Isn’t this the essence of good quality education? Making informed choices outlines well the other highlighted skills: thinking, processing, cooperating and problem-solving. Emphasizing these skills leads to deep and meaningful learning. Building a cooperative learning environment where students can practice choosing empowers them to think and share, and also helps students to understand how learning is an individual process.
Please note how teachers are rightfully recognized as one of the many factors that keep students in school. We should always remember not to ask teachers produce miracles, because every teaching-learning situation is constructed from many different pieces.
Over time teachers are able to enhance the other pieces of learning, especially when learning is viewed as a process, not as a product or performance. Yet, too often it seems that teachers are expected to solve all the pieces of the puzzle at once. The teacher’s piece is important, because the star will not be there without the teacher – but other pieces are equally important. Each and every teacher in the world should know that they can choose how they teach: teacher centered vs. student centered way, viewing learning as a product vs. process, cooperatively vs. competitively, creating opportunities to practice choosing vs. expecting blind obedience, and so forth. All these choices are available for teachers to use in any given system or while teaching any given curriculum.
These everyday pedagogical choices are made either instinctively or with awareness of making an active choice. Even deciding not to choose is a choice. My way of supporting teachers is twofold: to spread awareness about the fact that they can choose and then empower teachers to learn more about their choices.
We all as parents and teachers are trusted with great shared responsibility: to help next generation achieve their full potential. So, supporting teachers in their important profession should be an easy choice.
What can you do to support a teacher today?