September 5 – The day on which Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of India’s greatest teachers was born 128 years ago. It is the day when India celebrates the achievements of its teaching community. It is the day when the grateful nation thanks the teaching fraternity for its yeoman service in spreading the light of knowledge and building the nation.
As a member of the technology-enabled learning community, I would like to pay tribute to four eminent teachers who have dedicated their lives to transform the learning landscape and make the world a better place.
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those art of living well.
These golden words uttered by the renowned teacher Aristotle nearly 2400 years ago are still valid in our days. This ancient Greek was arguably the first to realize the important role played by teachers in molding future citizens. His tutelage produced many eminent Hellenic personalities, the most notable being Alexander the Great. Indeed, Aristotle had a remarkable influence on his pupils.
2. Anne Sullivan
Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.
Anne Sullivan put these words into practice. The legendary American teacher helped the blind and deaf Helen Keller see the light of knowledge and hear the voice of learning. As Mark Twain had rightly pointed out, this educator at Perkins School for the blind was a miracle worker. Sullivan had a beautiful heart, and this heart yearned to help her differently abled students lead happy and productive lives. This is what makes her special and an inspiration to teachers of this day.
3. Maria Montessori
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ’The children are now working as if I did not exist.’
Maria Montessori earnestly believed children essentially teach themselves. She was a vocal critic of rote learning and advocated teachers provide a good learning environment that ignited the fire of learning. She was one of the earliest proponents of “discovery learning”, which calls for enabling children to explore and gain knowledge. Montessori was much more than a teacher; she was a founder of a new teaching philosophy. Her dedication to reforming the teaching system is exemplary and inspires educators to this day.
4. Emma Willard
Would we rear the human plant to its perfection, we must fertilize the soil which produces it.
Emma Willard was a crusader for women’s education. Her efforts ensured girls, who had little opportunity to study beyond home economics and deportment, had the opportunity to higher education. Willard strongly believed gender inequality in education is detrimental to the society, and thanks to her relentless efforts, the Troy Female Seminary, the first higher education institution for women in the USA, was established. Willard’s perseverance to reform the educational system will stand forever in the annals of teaching history and continues to inspire those fighting gender inequalities to this day.
The pioneering and dedicated efforts of these educators revolutionized the world of learning, paving the way for a better world. Hope you enjoyed the post. Wishing you all a very happy Teachers’ Day.