Yesterday was World Teachers’ Day, a celebration of tireless, inspiring workers, because to educate is just that – to inspire.
In 1994 UNESCO designated October 5 as World Teachers’ Day, and yesterday, the celebration’s twentieth anniversary, was given the slogan, “Invest in the future, invest in teachers.” I couldn’t be more in agreement with that, which is just as true as it is necessary. UNESCO points out that in many countries the quality of the learning process is directly affected by the lack of teachers. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics, some 1.4 million teachers are lacking worldwide, and those teachers are indispensable to reaching the universalization of primary education from now until next year. In the world there are 250 million children who are unable to acquire even basic reading and writing skills.
But another, bigger problem should be noted: the quality of teachers’ training. And frequently, education professionals are obligated to work without basic resources or adequate training. Teachers’ education should be a continuous, careful process that is not limited exclusively to their university years. It requires the constant updating of techniques and the development of needed pedagogical methods to support student development and the teachers themselves. Technology is a very valuable ally for these processes in and outside of classrooms. Laptops, smart phones, open public internet connections, educational applications and online courses are components of a mobile, permanent and accessible network for everyone that fosters constant improvement for the educational system if we know how to use it. The network by itself is not enough. Teachers should obtain – with the support of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP – Ministerio de Educacion Publica), universities and non-governmental organizations – the mechanisms and resources to take full advantage of it and immerse themselves in the marvelous world of continuous, globalized, modern, interdisciplinary and interactive learning offered by today’s technology to the education sector.
The best teachers build permanent and important connections with their students and their knowledge, relationships in which confidence and reciprocal admiration rule. They can be champions, super heroes, friends and colleagues, living bridges that are reinvented with new information and two-way learning, inspirational teachers. But the educational system’s big challenges are not only the teachers’ responsibility. Universities share a large part of the responsibility, as well as governments, communities and families, which oversee and co-manage the quality of education that their children receive, because values are also learned at home.
Significant improvement to the system will be possible when all of the actors become aware of the urgency that the subject requires for the comprehensive development of our society. We should re-evaluate the work of teachers, giving it the importance that it truly deserves. I am convinced that the quality of our educational system will always depend on the quality of our teachers and professors.
Let’s invest in our teachers! Investing in them is investing in all, today and tomorrow.