World Teachers’ Day

As students, we always step into a classroom expecting everything to run smoothly, oblivious to all the preparations teachers go through. Entangled in our own worlds, we fail to appreciate the tireless efforts of teachers. However, as it is their nature of work, teachers are in a position to profoundly impact the students they teach.

Today, as we celebrate World Teachers’ Day, we profile three of the most influential teachers in history who altered the education landscape through their creativity and unwillingness to accept failure. Today, take the time to thank your teachers and remember not to take their hard work in and outside the classroom for granted.

  1. Booker T. Washington (1856 -1915)

Booker T. Washington photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston / Library of Congress

Best known teaching role: Established an African-American school for industrial education at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Born a slave in Virginia, Washington was eager for an education, and travelled hundreds of miles to Hampton University, a historically black college founded in 1868. Washington firmly believed that that education and industry were the avenues by which his people would achieve equality.

  1. Jaime Escalante (1930-2010)

Best known teaching role: Calculus and advanced math teacher at East Los Angeles-based Garfield High School.

 Escalante held the unprecedented belief that students who want to enroll in challenging courses should not have to meet prerequisite requirements. This mentality further inspired other educators in our country to drop the required testing and allow students to reach their full potential. Escalante’s unique teaching approach was eventually turned into a movie in 1988 entitled Stand and Deliver.

  1. Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan (a.k.a. Annie Sullivan) (1866-1936)
    [Helen Keller, seated, holding hand of her teacher, Mrs. Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Sullivan Macy (Anne Mansfield Sullivan)

    [Helen Keller, seated, holding hand of her teacher, Mrs. Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy (Anne Mansfield Sullivan)

Best known teaching role: Developed the blueprint for the education of children who are blind, deaf, visually impaired.

As a visually impaired individual herself, Anne was hired to teach a deaf and blind woman named Helen Keller. Through her creativity and resiliency, she managed to work with Keller for the next 49 years before her death in 1936. The best portrayal of this story is depicted in a movie entitled The Miracle Worker.

Today, as we celebrate World Teachers Day, let us not forget all the children across the world who are deprived of their basic human right to an education. As a part of our continued effort in providing an education to school age Syrian refugees, Concern Worldwide has established tented settlements where classes are held on a daily basis. Donate to the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.