Happy World Teachers’ Day!

No matter where you live in this great big world of ours, chances are good that you were inspired, guided, mentored, encouraged, comforted, or nurtured by a teacher.

On World Teachers’ Day, October 5, we thank teachers on every continent for dedicating themselves to our growth and development.

UNESCO created World Teachers’ Day in 1994. This year, it falls on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That declaration recognized education as a key fundamental right. It also established that all children are entitled to a free compulsory education.

As vice president, North America and Caribbean, of Education International (EI), I’ve had the opportunity to talk with teachers and faculty members in many different places and circumstances who embrace those values. They also embrace John Dewey’s notion that “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”

Education International is providing a reminder of that ideal with “25 Lessons on Education and Democracy,” a book it will publish in December. However, you don’t have to wait until then to see the 25 lessons.

In honor of World Teachers Day, EI has designed a poster to accompany the book, and it’s gorgeous. Read these lessons, and see how a powerful visual reminds everyone why public education and getting it right for every student is such important work.

The theme of World Teachers’ Day this year is, “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” UNESCO estimates that 264 million and youth are not in school. This shortage is especially pronounced among vulnerable populations, including girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, and poor children living in rural or remote areas.

We might be tempted to say that those statistics don’t apply to us in America. But like other countries, we face a severe teacher shortageAll children don’t have access to the appropriate tools and resources for learning, and all teachers are not getting the support they need, or the pay and benefits they deserve.

To reach UNESCO’s 2030 Education Goals for universal primary and secondary education, we must recruit nearly 69 million new teachers worldwide. And once recruited, these new educators must have the training and mentoring that every professional needs.

On World Teachers’ Day, we should thank a teacher who has meant something in our lives. And wherever we are, we must advocate for the work teachers do.

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