Ensuring schools are safe and caring is a priority the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is looking to highlight during this year’s World Teachers Day, which was recognized Oct. 5.
The federation says the theme was chosen because of growing concern expressed by the CTF’s member organizations about violence in schools.
“All teachers and students have the right to a safe and caring environment,” CTF president H. Mark Ramsankar said in a recent news release. “Sadly, our member organizations indicate incidents of classroom violence against teachers are on the rise with a few reporting an increase at the elementary level. Many students and teachers go to school fearing they will be the next victims of threats, intimidation and violence at the hands of other students. This shouldn’t happen in a place of learning and work.”
No, it shouldn’t. So, what is to be done about the problem? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t an easily solved matter. Ramsanker points out that, in his view, the increase in violence is symptomatic of larger societal and systemic problems. “Too many schools lack the necessary supports and resources children with behavioural issues require,” says Ramsanker.
Ideally, schools should be able to simply focus on being institutions of learning, without expecting teachers and staff to also serve as psychologists and social workers. Unfortunately, classrooms seem to be more complicated places these days, reflective of the broader society itself, and consequently, it makes the role of a teacher a more challenging one.
In view of that, it’s worth taking some time to appreciate the job that teachers across the country do day in and day out to educate young people and help them not only grow their knowledge, but grow as people as well.
During the school week, children spend as much or more time at school than at home, not counting sleep time, so teachers play a major part in the lives of these young people. Teachers thus have an important job, and good teachers can influence their students in positive ways, something that has been noted by numerous people, including the following famous folks:
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” — Albert Einstein, famed scientist;
“Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.” — Charles Kuralt, the late U.S. journalist who spent a long television career with CBS;
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” — Bill Gates, co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation;
“Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.” — Sidney Hook, a late U.S. political philosopher;
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instil a love of learning.” — Brad Henry, the former governor of Oklahoma.
Teachers deserve appreciation for the job they do — and it’s a job that has only grown more challenging in recent times.