Photo courtesy of UNESCO
“The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher”
World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 International Labour Organization (ILO)/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. Since 1994, World Teachers Day has been celebrated every October 5. This year World Teachers’ Day falls on Friday, October 5, 2018. UNESCO sets a theme for WTD in order to raise awareness of education issues teachers, children, and communities face across the globe. This Friday marks the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).This declaration beautifully enlists inclusive rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948. The Declaration recognizes education as a fundamental right to all, establishing an entitlement to free, equitable education for all children. Most people would agree that this is a wonderful thing and that all people should have access to a proper education. Nevertheless, an estimated 264 million children and adolescents are not in school. The problem is a shortage of trained practitioners who can effectively deliver this education to these young people. That is why this year’s theme of World Teachers’ Day is “the right to education means the right to a qualified teacher;” to remind the global community that for us to reach our goal of education for all people, we must first have the right to qualified educators everywhere. I encourage you to continue reading about the issues many face on the UNESCO website.
According to UNESCO, despite widespread recognition that educators are key players in the success of communities, teaching is not regarded as a valued profession, and many countries face issues concerning recruitment and retention of teachers. It is clear that a poorly valued teaching profession creates a negative impact on the community, and so the global community is adopting the Education 2030 Agenda. In doing so, the international community has committed to “ensuring that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient, and effectively governed systems” (UNESCO, 2018). In order to contribute to this commitment, and to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, celebrate teachers and their key role in the right to a quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.
Melissa Bordelon is the high school art teacher in Wells Independent School District, located 22 miles southwest of Nacogdoches, Texas. Since January 2013, “Mrs. B”, as her students lovingly call her, has been a mentor, coach and “like family” to many fortunate students. Her passionate love of art and teaching, flexible teaching style and kind yet “real” attitude with students has made her a beloved member of the Wells ISD community. She is a former cheer coach for Wells ISD and has even founded an art club to provide more opportunities for her high school students. Their favorite field trip destination is SFA Art Day, which is held annually to educate youth from all over Texas on their college opportunities as well as to provide studio lessons to give them a taste of life as an art major at SFA.
Wells Art Club (2017-2018)
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bordelon
It was evident to me that she had touched the lives of many students and colleagues at the beginning of the fall semester. Melissa Bordelon is my mother whom I love. She had been experiencing serious health issues over a four year span, but when her symptoms became more severe, she was told she needed a pacemaker. Some of her students had been messaging her while she was in the hospital just to check on her and ask if she needs anything, and it was really touching how their loyalties to her were expressed. They told her they would keep her classrooms in line while she was out, and as they were some of her favorite art club kiddos, she knew they would do as they said. It was touching to see her pull up an app where she can control her lesson plans and keep track of her classroom from the hospital.
Back at school now, she is still healing from her procedure and doing well. I am thankful for her dedication to her students and her family, and I am thankful for teachers like her who have touched my life and shaped me into the successful, college graduate I am today. We all probably know at least one teacher who touched our life in a profound way, just like “Mrs. B.” I truly hope that conditions for our beloved teachers and children improve on a local, national and global scale. Celebrate your teachers and professors this week by lending some kind words of encouragement or showing your appreciation another way.