World Teachers’ Day 2020

Before reading
Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

Preparation task

Match the definitions (a–h) with the vocabulary (1–8) Vocabulary  
Vocabulary Definition 
1. …… significant
2. …… the spotlight
3. …… to inspire
4. …… a spark
5. …… thrive
a. important
b. a place where everyone is looking at you; the front of the stage
c.  to cause the start of something
d. having an effect on other people that makes them change the way they do things
e. to grow
KEY – page 30

Answers: 1a, 2b, 3d, 4c, 5e

Poet Mark Van Doren once said that ‘the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery’. Teachers inspire us, helping us to see our potential and find ways to change the world for the better. Teachers know that students are the future of their countries.

A day for appreciation

Since most governments around the world decided to close schools to protect students from catching the coronavirus, the role of teachers became even more significant. To carry on educating, teachers had to get creative. Instead of planning hands-on activities, lessons, and building relationships with their students, teaching moved online. This was a big change in the system and created new challenges.
That’s why this year’s World Teachers’ Day is special.

Since 1994, on 5 October every year, UNESCO reminds us that education is a basic human right and that every child should have access to free education. Not long ago, 258 million young people across the world were in difficult situations and could not go to school.

To fix this, UNESCO is planning to train 69 million new teachers by 2030, so that even children in poor areas or war zones can go to school and follow their dreams.

The teachers behind famous people

Can you imagine life without your laptop? It turns out we can say ‘thank you’ to the school teachers of Bill Gates, who asked him to push himself and which led him to develop the computer software Microsoft. ‘There’s no way there would be a Microsoft without them doing what they did,’ Gates says, thanking his maths teacher, Fred Wright, for helping him work harder, and his drama teacher, Anne Stephens, for helping him discover a love for the spotlight. Gates and his wife set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to donate money towards education, helping young people find opportunities to learn and thrive.

Oprah Winfrey, too, was inspired by her teacher, Mrs Duncan, to become a talk show host, actress, and TV producer. ‘I felt I could take on the world. You did exactly what teachers are supposed to do. They create a spark for learning that lives with you from then on. It’s why I have a talk show today,’ she explains.

Book lovers may be surprised to find out that the works of Maya Angelou may have never existed without her neighbour and teacher. Mrs Flowers encouraged Angelou to read, helping her appreciate poetry.

Finding your inspiring teacher

Think about your dream job. In a few years’ time, will there be a teacher responsible for where you are? Perhaps you already know who it will be. Why not say ‘thank you’ this World Teachers’ Day? Let them know that their efforts count, that they made a difference in your life, and that you appreciate their hard work.

Jas Matulewitz

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