The Covid-19 pandemic affirmed the crucial role of teachers in continuity of learning and sustaining development among students.  At the heart of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, teachers stood firm in their vocation.  Relentlessly learned how to adjust to technology, forced to learn to operate gadgets that most of their students knew better.  

If teachers were there at the height of the difficulties presented by this unprecedented natural hazard, their presence should be valued more than ever.  As protocols have eased out teachers are slowly coming back as frontline workers in school reopening.  Numerous studies have concluded that teacher quality is the single most important in-school factor influencing achievement.  Nevertheless, the truth remains that they are underrecognized, turning the teaching career unappealing to younger generations.

The pandemic demonstrated the resilience of Filipino teachers who are imbued with great responsibility of helping students reach their full potential.  As we know, the bonds built in classrooms often last a lifetime.  Influential teachers will forever be in the lives of students they taught, motivated and inspired.

“Teachers are a central part in all our lives and in every one of our societies.  This has never been clearer than during the Covid-19 crisis.”   This was underlined by Guy Ryder, Director General of the Internal Labour Organization (ILO).

At any rate these are some of the ideas that we can ensure our teachers get the recognition they deserve as we begin to engage again in face to face classes:

  • Surprise them with a smoothie, coffee or ice cream
  • Film a video, take a photo, gather student quotes and gratitude messages
  • Find out a teacher’s favorite snack and sponsor food for the day
  • Send handwritten notes with anecdotes of praise and gratitude
  • Give back through online gift cards so they can shop at their own free time at the convenience of their mobile devices
  • Give the simplest things a teacher needs – post it notes, highlighters, glue sticks, daily supplies that help them be the best in their craft

World Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on October 5, 2022.  Such is giving me melancholic vibes as I try to recall my most favorite teachers of all time – back in primary, secondary and tertiary education.  Come to think of it, are we as students have, in our own simple ways, been able to pay tribute to our teachers?  And how, as we mature as adults and become responsible for our lives, have we been able to apply what we have learned from them?  Perhaps, more than the material things we used to create as kids (i.e. DIY cards, flowers, gifts, etc), we can pay tribute to our teachers by continuing to fight for better, safer and more dignified conditions for the people who continue to pursue the teaching profession.