‘To teach is to touch a life forever’



Celebrating World Teacher’s Day    
On October 5, most parts of the world will be celebrating World Teachers’ Day. This day was proclaimed by UNESCO as a day to recognize the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as “to celebrate educators and the central role they play in providing children everywhere with quality education.”

In the Philippines, however, a whole month celebration is dedicated to teachers all over the country entitled, “National Teachers’ Month” beginning in September 5 until October 5. This year’s theme is “Guro, Kabalikat Sa Pagbabago.” These adaptions clearly express the important role of the teacher, first, in providing children everywhere with quality education and second, in the contributions of our teachers to society and nation building.

We all know that our teachers play a great and very important role in our lives. They help us improve our knowledge, skill level and confidence. We depend on them to educate our children, to produce the intellectual capital that is the foundation of our future as a society.

At some point in our lives, each of us must have come across an amazing teacher, who touched or maybe even transformed, our lives. This is the greatest reward of a teacher: despite the great demands the profession puts on a teacher, it provides a venue to make a real difference in the lives of others. A parent of mine put it more aptly, when she gifted me with a pillow that reads, “To teach is to touch a life forever.” I keep this pillow in my office to remind me of the responsibility I have over so many other teachers and young students.

Joseph C’deBaca, a classroom educator of 20-plus years and the founder of an online site called Teacher’s Learning Center (TLC), says, “Teaching is not just a job or a career; it is a “24/7” identity. A teacher never stops being a teacher in the eyes of a student, no matter what day of the week, season of the year, or decade of life. Twenty years after having Miss Jones as a 3rd grade teacher, a student is still likely to greet and introduce her as ‘Miss Jones, my teacher’.”

More importantly, a teacher needs to love what he/she does and feel that it matters. Marc Veyrat, a French chef from the Haute-Savoie region in France is one of the most famous chefs in the European restaurant scene, and considered by some to be the best chef in the world. However, this was not always the case. Early in his career as a chef, Veyrat was expelled from three hotel culinary schools, and local hotels in his own home city would not take him on as a kitchen apprentice because of his unorthodox use of ingredients. Coming from the French Alps, Veyrat would use herbs which he gathered in these mountains such as caraway, cumin, wild thyme and chenopodium and use these as key ingredients in his recipes. The self-taught chef, however, was undaunted and would go on to open Auberge de L’Eridan in Annecy, France, and La Ferme de Mon Père in Megève, France–two of his own restaurants, which garnered for him a total of six Michelin Stars (three stars for each of his two restaurants). He is also the first cook to get the perfect grade of 20/20 in the Gault-Millau guide, one of the most influential French restaurant guides in the world, for these two restaurants. Veyrat has said, “I know I’m not a traditional chef. I’m a student of nature because before you love cuisine, you have to love the ingredients.”

Here lies the heart and soul of teaching: that to become a great teacher, a good teacher must first love learning and never tire of learning—from his/her students, from books, from experiences—good and bad. Such a teacher embraces change and is always open to new ideas.

And so, to all the teachers who have dedicated their lives and who continue to dedicate their lives to this noble profession, I offer this poem to you:

“How will you be remembered
by those who come to you?
What will they say, the one’s you serve
When teaching days are through?

“He never had a favorite.”
“He smiled when he was down.”
“She made me feel that I was loved.”
All jewels in your crown.

And yet one priceless accolade
out-sparkles all the rest.
A single phrase sums up the days:
“My teacher gave her best.”

No one needs more inspiration and encouragement than teachers! So here’s to you, dearest teacher, may you continue to be a beacon of love, wisdom and understanding. Happy World Teacher’s Day!

1 http://en.unesco.org/events/world-teachers-day
2 http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_a/popups/mod01t05s01.html
3 http://www.skillsyouneed.com/rhubarb/effective-teaching.html
4 God’s Little Devotional Book For Teachers”, copyright ©1999 Honor Books, Tulsa, Oklahoma
5 Colleen L. Reece & Anita Corrine Donihue, “Apples for Teacher: A bushel of stories, poems, and prayers”, © 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.


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