The lessons learnt from teachers can never be forgotten no matter how old people grow. Teaching is regarded as one of the most important and prestigious professions of all time. A role model can be anyone including parents, siblings, a friend but some of the most influential and life-changing role models are the teachers.
In honour the teachers, World Teachers' Day, also known as International Teachers Day has been marked annually on October 5 since 1994. The day is a simple gratitude to honour the teachers around the world to express the love and respect students feel towards those who have taught in life.
More than 100 countries across the globe observe the day and Bangladesh also stands in the list. Various events are arranged in many countries on October 5 to honour the teachers.
In 2020, World Teachers' Day will be celebrated with the theme, "Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future". The day is focused on the innovative use of technology for teacher professional development and mentoring during the time of the novel Covid-19.
When the novel coronavirus brought extreme disruptions in lives, and educational institutions closed their doors, teachers, like other frontline workers, joined the fight against it. Here, The Business Standard presents some teacher's experience and comments on Teachers' Day 2020 amidst Covid-19:
Professor Afsan Chowdhury:
"After 42 years of professional life in many fields, people know me most as a teacher and not much else. That's because teaching represent the highest aspiration of human society. Transferring knowledge to the next generation and prepare them for coping and survival is not a noble task, it's essential for human survival. It's in our DNA and part of the evolutionary biology seeds we all carry. I am glad we do," told Professor Afsan Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi liberation war researcher, columnist journalist and a teacher of BRAC University.
"The teacher category exists because there are students. In many ways, the inter-action is the greatest learning exercise possible. It's the way, teaching and learning becomes one."
"I have taught Bangladesh history and as I did, most of the ideas I held before have dimmed or disappeared and new ones emerged. It has happened in the last decade so for me, it's the decade of intellectual growth. That has been possible because of the students who made me the teacher. Where does the student end and the teacher begin? They are one. Thanks students."
Regarding online classes amid Covid-19 situation, Afsan Chowdhury said, "Online class room is not inter-active hence less productive or interesting."
"Physical presence is very important for learning which is not possible through online. In a class of 40 students, most are bored out due to lack of inter-action so it's a lesser medium, at least for humanities subjects though not sure about science.
It's not much fun compared to live class rooms, he further added.
Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam:
"As a teacher, I still value what my father told me when I informed him of my decision to become a teacher: If you fail to motivate your students to achieve what to them appears unachievable, you will remain just an instructor, not a teacher. I am still trying to come up to my father's expectations but let me confess how difficult the task is," Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam, a professor of English and Humanities at ULAB said.
In the time of this Covid-19, with little or no training, teachers all around the world switched to online teaching, and connected with the students to give them hope.
This year's teachers' day theme is referred to the crisis we are facing more than six months into the pandemic, and how teachers are not only leading in facing it, but are also reimagining a post-pandemic future full of hope. That hope, we expect, is of bouncing back and going full steam ahead, and of achieving all the goals we have set for our education.
Substantial investment in teacher's professional development can bring long term, positive returns. Unless teachers are supported in their mission to lead and reimagine the future, the vision that this year's theme spells out will remain unfulfilled.
"Teaching is always interesting and a stressful profession at the same time. Currently, the pandemic has doubled the stress level," said Roohi Huda, Assistant Professor at Brac University's Department of English and Humanities.
"At the University, faculties now have to upload prerecorded lectures in the online teaching platform buX, and also run live discussions on googlemeet during class time. It has literally doubled the work."
"But all this is definitely worth it if students appreciate their teachers and the hard work they are putting in to ensure that learning takes place as effectively as possible in the midst of this pandemic. It is of course challenging for the students as well, and we do appreciate their cooperation," Roohi Huda added.
"Teaching has always been my passion and first choice. Being in the teaching field for the past 19 years, I still enjoy my every teaching day as a new one," said Nahida Aktar, Senior Teacher at Shaheed Bir Uttam Lt. Anwar Girls' College.
She said, teaching amid coronavirus pandemic was tough at the beginning but now both teachers and students have become used to online education.