Posted by: Lotus Light | September 10, 2010

Teacher’s day

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.  John Cotton Dana

Today is Teacher’s Day in China.  In Australia we do not have a special day where we recognise the contributions of teachers, so Teacher’s day is good fun for me.  In some places teachers are given gifts by their Department and I’ve heard that in High Schools teachers will be showered with gifts by the parents of the students.

I knew that it was Teacher’s Day today because my phone began signalling messages VERY early this morning.  There seems to be a competition as to who can wish you greetings the first.  This afternoon, I had training for students and they all arrived with gifts.  Small statues, cards,special foods,flowers and fruit (I won’t have to buy fruit for weeks – although it may not last that long!) are piled high on my desk.

I have to admit that I LOVE presents.  I am a child in this regard, and really don’t care what the occasion is.  So, today was fun.

BUT… and yes, there is a ‘but’.  Why should I receive all of these gifts for doing my job?  I am paid to do it, I enjoy doing it – so why should this extra largess come my way?

Many people have combined to teach me throughout my life.  Every day I learn something new from someone – either in a book, a TV show, from a student or from a friend.  I learn by observing the world around me.  People learn from those they respect, or those they loathe. The monks in the image above teach by example; they work with the townspeople to create harmony, solve problems and find paths to live a better life.  These monks will have more impact on the lives of those students who live there than I will.  Is it possible to acknowledge all of these sources of learning? No, and many of them will have more impact on us than a teacher we see once a week for a semester.

If we have a Teacher’s Day to show our gratitude for those who have taught us, shouldn’t we also have a Factory Worker’s Day, to thank those who have worked to create objects that make our lives comfortable?  A Cook’s Day, or Waitress’ Day to say thank you for their contribution to our lives? 

This of course becomes unwieldy.  So – should we stop Teacher’s Day?  Stop the gift giving and the messages of thanks?

A yes and no for that one.  We need to acknowledge those who help us, but for me, it should not be a formal, structured ‘Thank You’, but a personal, when-it-needs-to-be-said thank you.

I would miss the gifts and messages, but I would feel as if I deserved the thanks a little more.  Doing my job does not need special thanks.

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