Thankful for Teacher Devotion: A Message from a Student #gesf

At the Global Education Skill Forum in Dubai, one of the things that I noticed was the overwhelming devotion of teachers to their profession and their students. I have encountered many wonderful and caring teachers throughout my career as a student, but I was overwhelmed with the passion for teaching that many of these teachers exhibited during the conference. These teachers also display this passion even in times of significant adversity. Many of the top ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize taught their students in challenging times; some of them even risking their lives in the name of education.

[callout]This post is by Mark G, a student reporter from Westwood Schools at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. When we have education conferences, we must include student voice. An education conference without students in attendance is missing out on the reason we pursue this profession. I hope you'll find Mark's views about teachers as uplifting as I do. Please comment if you do. Thank you, teachers. You matter! — Vicki Davis [/callout]

Mr. Azizullah Royesh, a teacher from Afghanistan and a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, started facing adversity at 12. He was forced to leave Afghanistan when the Soviet Union invaded. The last words his father told him were ”I wish that you stay alive.”

After fleeing to Pakistan, he started teaching at the age of 16 so that he could share his literacy with the other refugees. Throughout his career as a teacher, he also was faced with stressful situations. In one situation, many of his female students were protesting a controversial law passed by the clerics. The clerics, who drafted the law, stormed his school, tried to burn it, and called for his execution. He later moved back to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime.

Mrs. Phalla Neang, a teacher from Cambodia and a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, opened up a school for the blind and deaf. In Cambodia, people with disabilities are regarded as having sinned in a former life, and are persecuted and shunned by society. Many of them receive no quality education.

Mrs. Neang has opened up five schools across Cambodia to give blind and deaf people the opportunity to have an education, and also to educate the people of Cambodia of the worth of people with disabilities in society. She works ceaselessly to give her students a quality education, and when students don’t show up, she visits them to check on them.

Great Teachers

All great teachers share a common characteristic: A devotion to their profession and their students. This devotion was prevalent among all teachers attending the GESF conference. In a panel discussion at the conference, one question was, “what makes for an effective teacher?” The most common answer was that for a teacher to be effective, they need to be passionate and devoted to their job, and dedicated to their students.

The Winner of the Global Teacher Prize: Nancie Atwell

Nancie Atwell, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, said that in her classroom, she allows her students to make decisions about what they want to read. She enables them to pursue their passions in literature. She is very committed to her pupils, allowing their voices to be heard in the curriculum and letting them have more control over their education. Mrs. Nancy is one of those teachers who is not content with a paycheck, she wants to see real results in her craftsmanship. She shapes and molds her students with her immersive literature curriculum, and makes a lasting impact on all of her students.

Thank You Teachers for Your Devotion

In order to change lives and change the world, teachers must be devoted to their profession. As an attendant of the GESF conference, I can testify that all teachers present do not only have a devotion to their job, but have a passion for it that defines them as human beings. Because teachers are devoted to their job, world leaders are created, doctors are made, and the world becomes a better place. Thank you, teachers of the world, for your devotion to me and all my fellow students.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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