After a year of navigating lockdowns, social restrictions, and being faced with a significant threat to people’s health and livelihoods, it is no surprise that we have a newfound sense of respect for the men and women who work tirelessly in often chaotic and life-threatening situations to keep us safe.
The men and women on the frontline of our healthcare sector, our hospitals, medical centers, and ambulance paramedics have garnered a heightened level of respect and praise for their significant efforts and contributions to our collective wellbeing.
In all of this, there is also a somewhat under-rated group of unsung heroes who have battled significant odds and impediments throughout this period of a global pandemic. They are our teachers and educators.
The oft-forgotten role of educators
For many people, the connection with schools and the education system is an indirect one and oft-forgotten. Despite the fact that a vast number of people have children in the education system, the teaching profession is typically one which is so often taken for granted despite the significant role it plays in children’s development.
Perhaps this is an opportune time to reflect on the vital role teachers and educators play in our children’s formative years. It is time to reframe our view of teachers and their contribution to the upcoming generation’s education and socialization.
A thoughtful and heartfelt presence of one of the best teacher gifts on offer is perhaps the best physical starting point in showing that we don’t take our child’s educators for granted!
The increasing role of teachers and educators
The role of a teacher has never traditionally been an easy one. Increased social pressures on youth, coupled with faster, hectic lifestyles, which have left many working families time-poor, have increased reliance on teachers to take a greater part in a child’s social and cultural upbringing as their academic development.
Given the significant long-term impact of lessons and behaviors learned in a child’s formative years, the burden placed upon the shoulders of the teaching community is in no way an insignificant one.
Educating youth amidst the ‘new normal’
Throughout the past year of upheaval in a global health crisis, teaching staff has been faced with a further level of strain and difficulty. In the initial lockdown phase, schools and classrooms became empty hollows, with the majority of children forced to isolate at home. Ironically, this placed a far more significant strain on teachers and educators. Faced with a ‘new normal’ of remote teaching, social distancing, and videoconferencing, teachers themselves were faced with a steep learning curve – keeping their students engaged and ensuring minimum disruption to the vital education regimen.
One lesson we have all learned from the pandemic is the importance of social interaction. Human beings are by nature social creatures, and this social element plays a vital role in human development – notably in education, learning, and cultural development.
It is a testament to our teaching professionals that despite the most trying of social circumstances, education and all levels – primary, secondary and tertiary – continued unabated.
Prior to the global pandemic, there was a general tendency to take teachers and educators for granted. Perhaps in this time of reflection, as we move through the health crisis, we should give some thought to reframing our attitudes towards our teachers and view their contributions in a different light.