In communities worldwide teachers are dedicating their lives to improving the futures of their students with incredible energy and often too little recognition. In honour of World Teachers’ Day, we would like to spotlight a few of these remarkable teachers.
When we think of learning in school, we think of large core subjects – math, reading, science, art, history, etc. Yet some remarkable teachers, like Toronto-based Stepan Pruchnicky, also integrate habits and strategies in the classroom that foster something just as important; compassion. In a recent post, Stephan explains why helping your students find a partner for classroom activities is important: “There’s nothing worse that not being chosen. There’s nothing better than being invited to join a group just as that feeling is setting in.” When students are tasked with finding their own partners, he reminds them to always be conscientious and invite partnerless students to join group. Pruchnicky regularly writes and tweets about how we can listen better to one another and have conscientious conversations.
Thank you Mr. Stepan!
Touching and Changing Lives
On top of volunteering as a teacher in two schools, serving as a member of the Kilifi County Education Board and running her non-profit Lifting the Barriers which supports students outside the classroom, Jacqueline Kahura coaches and motivates fellow teachers to take on the role of caregivers for students who face issues outside of school that affect their learning. Kenya faces the problem of low regard for teachers and unrealistic testing requirements that plagues many other countries, as well as a lack of infrastructure and furniture for schools in rural communities. Mrs. Kahura speaks about her work in a BBC interview: “It has had its own challenges frankly; however, at the end of the day when I look back and say, I have touched and changed this number of lives, that I find very fulfilling.” She was a Top Ten Finalist for the 2015 Global Teacher Prize. Take a look at the fascinating video about her work. Could she be more inspiring?
Thank you Mrs. Kahura!
Connecting with Students
Rita Pierson taught for 40 plus years and is a brilliant example of one of many remarkable educators who truly changed the trajectory of many young lives. She is well remembered for her TED Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion (watch it, it’s worth the time!), in which she explains the importance of connecting with students on a personal level and of acting the part of success despite the challenges of the classroom and institution. “We come to work when we don’t feel like it and we listen to policy that doesn’t make sense and we teach anyway.” She tells her audience, “Is this job tough? You betcha. But it is not impossible. We can do this. We are educators. We are born to make a difference.” Mrs. Pierson passed away in 2013 having touched the lives of many students and continuing to inspire many educators with her message.
Thank you Mrs. Pierson.
Innovation for the Community
Guy Etienne is a man with a passion for science and pragmatic education. His work extends from his school College Catts Pressior in Port-au-Prince, Haïti where he pushes his students to aim high and stay curious, to his teacher training programs, broadcast throughout his country. “I tried to work as an engineer, to build a building but, I don’t know. I am very happy when I share my expertise, when I share my knowledge and when I share my competence.” According to The Global Prize, for which Mr. Etienne was a 2015 Top Ten Finalist, he left behind his PhD studies in engineering in 1982 to become an educator and has been so influential in the education system in Haiti that the government has asked him to Minister of Education five times. He has other preoccupations and projects though, so he continues teach and use his knowledge to develop his community and country.
Thank you Mr. Etienne!
Now it’s Your Turn, Thank a Teacher
This is just a snapshot of the variety of challenges and victories teachers face, but you can do your part to recognize that work and raise the status of teachers by taking a moment and commenting below, to say thank you to a teacher who has changed your life and spread the word, loud and proud!