Teachers devote their lives to raising other people’s children.
Yes, you do expect children to arrive at school with a certain amount of discipline and manners already ingrained in them, but because they are in an environment free from parental scrutiny, they feel freer to be themselves. And it is that “themselves” that a teacher will see, acknowledge, and shape into something that will be the perfect balance of beneficiality between the individual and society.
We all think we know what a teacher’s job entails, having all gone to school ourselves. We remember the person standing in front of the class, imparting new knowledge, cleverly illustrated on the whiteboard (or blackboard, depending on your age) behind them. But what we didn’t see was what they really do for a living. The late nights marking seemingly endless papers, the “afternoons off” that they spent at a departmental meeting, a drama club, coaching sports or setting up for an awards ceremony. The weekends doing lesson plans or setting tests. The late nights lying awake, worrying about that student who has no food at home, or the one being abused by a parent. The meetings in which they tirelessly fought for a student they knew could do better, whom everyone else has given up on.
We do not give teachers nearly enough credit. It took myself working in the profession for four years, and eventually acknowledging that I was not cut out for the job, to realise how much a teacher really does.
Socially they will never receive the esteem that other professions enjoy. They will never earn what they deserve to, but in this tribute at least, I would like to acknowledge teachers for what they really mean to society, and hope that one day we could all see them this way: as the heroes hat make modern life what it is.