World Teachers Day 5 October 2020

World Teachers Day 5 October 2020

‘Why we need you as clock builders’

Congratulations to all teachers around the world; you are members of the most important profession in the world! Without you, there would be no carpenters, artists, astronomers, economists, photographers, philosophers, cashiers, journalists, police officers, judges, climatologists, doctors, nurses, etc., etc. In short, you are shaping the future’, how valuable is that?

World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is an international day held annually on October 5. Established in 1994, it commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO, which is a standard-setting instrument that addresses the status and situations of teachers around the world. World Teachers’ Day aims to focus on “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.

Theme 2020: “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”

Now more than ever, teachers need to inspire, model, train and develop positive attitudes along with enhancing content and skills. This approach will allow students to address the challenges they are facing today. As a teacher, ask yourself, ‘How can I facilitate students to be more resilient, resourceful, reflective and social in their learning and in their lives’? This is indeed challenging but Biesta refers to it as ‘The beautiful risk of education (2014).

Becoming a clock builder
Transformation to a better, more sustainable world requires (transformative) leadership. This is often difficult for us as teachers because we have been part of the educational system for so long. Therefore it requires a transformation in your personal leadership as a teacher. Acknowledging this and entering into (temporary) chaos before something new is created requires courage, time, a safe environment to make mistakes, the creation of an experimentation space and a change strategy that accommodates this transformation.

On a personal level, it takes a lot of self-reflection, revising and honesty to learn from experiences and apply them in new situations. However, it is also about being curious, having confidence in yourself and others and being able to see threats as an opportunity. Furthermore, it is not about offering cut and dried solutions, but asking yourself to look for them and accept the uncertainty that will naturally follow. The key element is having time for reflection.  It is also advisable to start small, but with a clear objective.

Do we dare to change our learning communities in such a way that they make a substantial contribution to a better and more sustainable world?

In this respect, I would like to leave you with Jim Collen’s question and metaphor; do you dare to be a ‘time teller’ or a ‘clock builder’?

‘Leading as a charismatic visionary-a “genius with a thousand helpers”-is time telling; shaping a culture that can thrive far beyond any single leader is clock building. Searching for a single great idea on which to build success is time telling; building an organization that can generate many great ideas over a long period is clock building. Enduring greatness requires clock building’.

We need to transform to a more sustainable world that cares for all!  

Let us all build clocks in our schools!

Drs. Anton de Vries
trainer-consultant at NHL Stenden University The Netherlands
member of the executive committee of The Learning Teacher Network


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