Parents, say thanks your way
AS we celebrate Teachers' Day 2014, I call on my colleague parents to show your appreciation for the tremendous work and worth of our nation's teachers. It is an opportunity to, in our own way, express our gratitude for the positive ways in which they have moulded the lives of our children over many decades.
Jamaican teachers are among the best in the world. The nature of teaching predisposes teachers to make many sacrifices in the interest of our children. Most teachers have a unique way of putting our children first, far above self and personal interests.
Educators are lifesavers, and on numerous occasions have saved our children from themselves. In so doing, they have averted tragedy and redirected children and young people from a path of non-productivity to one of efficacy and constructive engagement.
In spite of the instances of negative criticisms, teachers have focused on the bigger picture of advancing the welfare of our nation. The successes of our people have been achieved largely through the efforts of teachers and have created quality citizens of the world which have caused this small country, a dot on the map, to have such a significant impact on the world. There is an impressive list of our citizens who have received international acclaim in sports, music, industry, and other areas.
Teachers recognise that the children and youth will replace and exceed adults of today, thus enabling our country to reach greater heights of development in all spheres.
Teachers collectively provide the springboard for the least among us to distinguish him or herself as an outstanding citizen of the world. The teachers of this country have restored hope and served, through God's leading, to allow the students in their care to fulfil their full potential.
And so, when as a nation we become depressed and get to that place of near hopelessness, I encourage us all to draw inspiration from our people who have excelled on the local and international scenes in sports, music, the arts, academia and other areas of endeavour. The truth is, amidst the clear challenges of our nation, there is an abundance of successes from which we can draw encouragement.
Let us join hands and hearts and salute the nation's teachers, not just on Teachers' Day, May 7, 2014, but let us make it a year-long activity. Let us make a conscious effort to encourage love and respect for those who care for our little ones.
Indeed, we salute the nation's teachers on whose shoulders this nation stands and who continue to provide many avenues for our country to grow and flourish.
Jamaican teachers do not see class or race. What they see are promises and potential. Many of our teachers are role models and standard bearers of acceptable behaviours, values and norms of our society. The teachers are the guardians of the education system and the ones who have given and continue to give of themselves in the service of humankind.
Jamaican teachers hold a special place in the lives of every citizen as each has been touched by a teacher. Our teachers are like farmers, planting seeds of hope for the future in the hearts of children and young people in every town and village across this our country.
The big question is, what do you give? The answer is, give what you can. Find your own way to say thanks; a warm greeting, a hug, a bunch of bananas, a piece of yam. Give what you can, but, above all, ensure that you show your love, respect and high regard for the sacrifices made by our educators. Say thanks in the way you can. Say thanks in your own way.
Dr Mark Nicely is president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association.