Today is Teachers’ Day in Singapore, a day set aside to appreciate the hard work of caring for young lives and minds.
As educators – both leaders and teachers alike – take the day to rest, recharge and reflect on the good that they do, this thought-provoking question should be contemplated too:
What if this were the last Teachers’ Day you’ll ever observe?
For some, I’m sure it’d be even more reason to celebrate. Yay! they’d cheer. No more pesky parents, needy teachers or annoying students to deal with!
Jokes aside, the feeling for most, especially for those in the prime of their career, would be midway between existential dread and impending doom.
Professional obsolescence is a very real threat in all industries, given accelerating technological developments and an increasingly changing social environment.
Naysayers often add to the anxiety by prophesying how the job of teachers will soon disappear, given advancements in technologies that do the work of imparting knowledge better than teachers can.
To avoid being replaced by robots, educators must not only lead and teach well; they must discharge a duty of care at a level that machines will never be able to match.
First, inspire staff and students to learn and challenge them to grow by connecting with them on a human level.
Let staff and students know and feel they are important, and that each is accountable to their own selves for their achievements.
Next, use imagination and creativity to build environments and craft experiences that foster thoughts, values and actions required for well-rounded learning and growth.
This engages staff and students in a holistic manner, and promotes a sense of belonging to their communities for deeper engagement.
Finally, care for your staff and students in the ways they want to be cared for, in order to forge a culture of excellence.
When staff and students know and feel they are heard, supported and trusted, it creates a virtuous circle of care in the educational ecosystem.
Ultimately, this empowers staff and students to strive to succeed and become the best versions of themselves.
A Happy Teachers’ Day to all educators out there, and here’s to many more to come!