Saturday, October 5, 2013

World Teachers' Day 2013

2013 poster for World Teachers' Day

In my opinion, teaching is among the noblest of professions.  Although not everyone agrees, most of us entrust the education of our children to teachers.  And, during school age years, more waking hours of our children are spent with adult teachers than with parents or even peers.  The influence of teachers is enormous and we expect a great deal from them as a result.

In the U.S., the recognition of teachers as true professionals has had slow progress over the years. Teachers are now almost universally required to have a college bachelor's degree and certification by the state in which they teach.  Teachers must invest in their education and that cost is increasingly expensive.  It is only recently that salaries for teachers have begun to climb and reflect the education, preparation, responsibility and professionalism expected of them.  It was estimated recently that in the United States there were 1.4 million elementary school teachers, 674,000 middle school teachers, and 1 million secondary or high school teachers.  The average entry salary for a new elementary/secondary teacher with a bachelor's degree in 2004 was $32,000/yr. In 2007, median salaries for high school teachers ranged from $35,000 in South Dakota to $71,000 in New York with a national median of $52,000.  When viewed across the profession and the nation, the average teacher salary was $51,009 in 2006-2007 (according to a survey by the American Federation of Teachers).

Our family has a long and continuing involvement in the teaching profession.  My great grandmother was a teacher in Rhode Island back in 1876.  My father-in-law was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania for more than three decades.  My wife has been a Special Education teacher for decades. Our younger son graduated with an education master's degree from the College of William and Mary last spring and is now a high school English teacher.  Our daughter-in-law's family also counts several teachers/educators among their number. 

And so on this international day of recognition for the teaching profession, I want to salute all those who have dedicated years of education, countless hours of preparation, personal investment of time and resources, and often sacrifice of time with their own families in order to become responsible, devoted members of a truly noble profession!  Good on all of you!!

A Teacher and his students in Russia circa 1915.

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Image of World Teachers' Day 2013 poster from For more information about World Teachers' Day, see and the links provided there.

For more inforamtion about the profession of teaching around the world, consult the Wikipedia article "Teacher" here.

Photograph of  Jewish children with their Teacher in Samarkand from the Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorski Collection at the Library of Congress.  It is an early color photograph created by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorski as part of his work to document the Russian Empire from 1909-1915.  The work is in the public domain in Russia.  For more information on the image and its use, see  
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. Ah, teachers... I loved all my teachers in elementary and high school. I especially remember with much fondness my Grade 4 teacher Jeanne Lauzon, who was a dedicated educator. Great article, John!

  2. Thank you for the kind words Yvonne! I recall many of my teachers from early elementary years through graduate school. Some stand out above others and had a big influence on me, but I am hard pressed to think of a single one that I could say was truly a bad teacher in the sense that they did not care one whit about trying to teach students and help them learn and mature. Some lacked the skill they and we would wish they had, but none were ever malevolent. It truly is a noble profession and it is unfortunate that they do not get the level of recognition they deserve.