WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5: If a teacher has ever touched your life, be sure to thank him or her today–it’s World Teachers’ Day. Since its origin in 1994, today’s observance is now recognized in more than 100 countries. (Send an e-card, tweet about your favorite teacher or learn international regulations at 5Oct.org.)
While teachers can appreciate a “thank you,” WTD is about more than words: Many use today to fight for international standards for the teaching profession and other rights, such as in this year’s theme, “Teachers for gender equality.” Both UNESCO and Education International encourage celebration of the vital role of teachers in the education system.
The indisputable link between teacher satisfaction and education quality has long been recognized: in 1966, UNESCO signed the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. (UNESCO’s website has more.) Today’s WTD grew from support of the 1966 document, and on WTD 2011, UNESCO will be raising awareness.
Issues that teachers continue to face vary by country. Teachers and militant groups in the Philippines will be campaigning for more chalk and teaching supplies today, as teachers often have to buy these supplies with their own funds; many groups will ask for better pay and benefits. (Get details from the Manila Bulletin.)
In the U.S., school systems face a growing number of teachers with minimal or no experience, as thousands of veteran teachers retire or leave for a position with a better salary; more than 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years. (Learn more at MSNBC.)