The Department of Basic Education has just tipped their hats to SA's teachers for World Teachers' Day, posting via Twitter:
5 October is commemorated each year as World Teachers' Day. A much needed day of appreciation since our teachers aren't always afforded the respect they deserve for shaping young minds.
Did you have a teacher who changed your life? What words said to you by a teacher have never left you since childhood? Tell us your story by emailing to email@example.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
- Also see: What does a teacher make?
We know just how valuable the profession is but as you'll discover from the speaker in the video below, "it doesn't matter what you think you know about education, unless you've actually taught in a classroom day-in and day-out and done the work, there is no way you will ever understand how incredibly demanding and challenging that vocation is."
At a TEDx Talks event hosted by Yale University, speaker Dr Adam Sáenz offers a powerful explanation of just how valuable a teacher is.
His academic credentials include a PhD in school psychology and post-doctorate in clinical psychology, working as an advisor to teachers who teach children with academic and behavioural problems.
He not only shares his personal experience of how a few positive comments by his school teachers literally changed the course of his life, but also that it was not until he stepped into a classroom as a substitute teacher that he started to understand how demanding the job really is.
He describes his teen angst growing up, his arrest as a juvenile, his drug use and his undiagnosed depression.
A few years after high school, Adam found himself without opportunity, looking at the future with no hope for success.
He happened to be looking through old letters when he stumbled upon a few life-altering words by two high school teachers.
"I saw these two letters and I couldn't figure out what they were but when I found them I was blown away. They were letters that had been written to me by two of my teachers, my senior year at Katie high school and this is part of what one of those letters said:
'You're extremely talented and intelligent, but most importantly, you have a good heart... I know you will use your talents to help your fellow man, and that's the most satisfying life a person can have.'
"It was signed by my English teacher, Jo Ella Exley, it said some other things but that's what jumped out, I pulled out the second letter and this is part of what that letter said:
'Don't quit writing, especially in your journal. Someday it may be the basis for your book... you have insight, sensitivity, intelligence and maturity beyond your tender years... Keep being you. You are a special person.'
"It was signed by my creative writing teacher, Polly McRoberts. Those words absolutely haunted me. They just haunted me because I said, wait a minute, I know who I am... I'm a 19-year-old version of that sixth-grade kid that's never going to make it through a single day, whose job it is to make your life hell, who's never going to learn. I have no future, I know who I am, but here were these two women for whom I had tremendous respect that were disagreeing with me, and because of who they were, and the kind of life they lived in front of us in the classroom, I couldn't just blow them off. I couldn't just say, 'Well you don't know what you're talking about', and because of their character and their integrity, I knew they would not have written these words to me if they didn't absolutely believe it."
It was these words that motivated the then young Adam to try his hand at University.
"I know that I never would have stepped out for that first degree had educators not spoken truth into my life about who I am and my identity. I'll tell you right now, I will be forever grateful to Mrs McRoberts and Mrs Exley for the moment of impact they had in my life."
So, to all teachers out there, the days may be long and exhausting but never, ever forget just how much your encouragement could mean to a child, not just today, but throughout their lives.
Watch the full talk below:
- Top tips from teachers to parents
- 8 things great teachers do differently
- Conversations with a rural school teacher
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