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Appreciating the Educator

Teacher Appreciation Week is a national holiday celebrated in the United States of America which takes place in the first full week of May (May 6th to May 10th). The goal is to highlight the need for parents and students to appreciate the hardworking professionals who dedicate time, effort, and energy to curating their learning experiences. This is a laudable initiative and, in my opinion, could be replicated globally to bring the teaching profession to the fore.

 


Many continue to consider the teaching profession an alternative to the ideal job, and not an ideal job in and of itself. Teachers seem to occupy the bottom rungs of corporate ladders, so the profession doesn’t come up as the ideal destination for young graduates. What can those of us in education begin to do about this narrative? What should we be making visible to get gifted and talented practitioners to join this profession?

 

Education is a mountain of influence from which young minds are shaped. Having guardians of this mountain of influence who understand the enormous responsibility they have to shape young minds is important. These guardians include parents (in the first instance), teachers, school leaders and administrators, policy-makers, and industry leaders; all of whom need to collaboratively drive standards of society by facilitating quality education for children and young people. The right minds need to be in the room to facilitate the recommended standards of learning. When we see those teachers who go out of their way, going over and beyond the call of duty, we should show appreciation to encourage and motivate them to continue the good work.

 

The reverse should also be applicable though! When we see teachers who are not meeting our expectations, we should call them out. We should begin to hold our educators accountable for the progress of our children make, working collaboratively with them to ensure that no child is left behind. Enough of mass promotions for teachers in the public sector without prerequisite reaccreditation. Enough of low-level expectations when it comes to teachers in general – we need to audit our community of teachers; and up-skill those who are ready to work, while letting go of those who are not.

 

There’s a popular African proverb - it takes a village to raise a child. This village of education stakeholders needs to become active participants in this cause to raise our children and young people. Let’s hold the teachers accountable for higher standards of learning and reward them accordingly.

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