Did you know that it is ‘World Teachers’ Day’? The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) is celebrating its 16th annual World Teachers' Day today on October 5!

This year, UNESCO’s goal of the day is to drive awareness that…

‘despite global recognition of the importance of teachers in changing children’s lives and building sustainable and prosperous societies, they are all too often undervalued and under-empowered, particularly in the area of Early Childhood Education. Worldwide there is a growing shortage of quality teachers and inadequate professional training. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimates that to achieve universal primary education by 2020 countries will need to recruit a total of 10.9 million primary teachers. All these factors result in equity gaps in access and learning which mostly affect the poorest regions and schools and the earliest grades. This is particularly damaging, as there is clear evidence that the earliest years of a child’s development are the most critical.’

A key phrase jumps out at me is – ‘teachers are all too often undervalued’. I couldn’t agree more. We often forget to acknowledge and thank teachers for their work and dedication. In our video filming, we ask role models about the people that most influenced them to pursue STEM careers. And the answer is always a teacher or a parent.

So in honor of World Teachers’ Day, I wanted to share a few unscripted quotes from our role models that highlight how thankful they are for their teachers…

  • ‘My botany professor was the first person to say ‘I see it in you, this stuff is easy for you’. He made me think of life differently in terms of what I could achieve. People would always say ‘whatever you set your mind to you can achieve’ but it wasn’t until working with him that I saw myself in a role as a professor or scientist or whatever I wanted to be!’ – Dr. Violeta, Business Owner & STEM Initiatives Consultant
  • ‘My high school physics teacher was the one that brought me into the world of engineering. He showed me that even though it is really hard and its intimidating to do all of this physics and to go into engineering, he always said ‘YOU CAN DO THIS!’ and that is when I decided I wanted to do engineering.’  - Alexandra, Electrical Engineer
  • ‘When I was in 7th grade, the teacher was great at getting us out and seeing the environment instead of just sitting in a classroom and that helped me to fall in love with environmental sciences!’ – Colleen, Senior Aviation Planner (Geo-Environmental focus)

How lucky were these role models to have such teachers in their lives? I sincerely hope that UNESCO is successful in its mission to increase the quality and availability of teachers worldwide so that more and more students have experiences similar to our role models.

THANK YOU TEACHERS!

Sources: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-teachersday-2015/#.VhLOckuF87t and http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/resources/online-materials/single-view/news/world_teachers_day_calls_for_the_empowerment_of_teachers_to_build_sustainable_societies/#.VhLO60uF87s

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