Translating World Teacher’s Day into practice

By / 19 January 2015 / Professional translation

The Translation of World Teacher’s Day into practice: a borderless, United Nations’ event

World Teacher’s Day was officially approved by UNESCO in 1994 although it has actually existed since the 1960s. It celebrates the crucial role teachers play in communities around the world and endeavours to promote understanding about the importance of education generally [1].

The Translation of World Teacher’s Day: celebrating champions

Acknowledging teachers’ workload through the translation of World Teacher’s Day

The translation of World Teacher’s Day into practice is an opportunity, above and beyond any gestures made on other days, to acknowledge the huge amount of effort teachers put into their work. The last Teachers’ workload diary survey to be conducted by the UK government [2] showed that primary school teachers worked an average of 59.3 hours a week in 2013. In France and other European countries, this figure is roughly the same even if the amount of time spent in classrooms is variable.

As Rita Pierson reminds her audience in her inspiring TED video entitled Every kid needs a champion, “Everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult” and “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like” (closely echoing some of Plato’s words). The translation of World Teachers’ Day into practice is about showing teachers that they are champions readying tomorrow’s champions.

Translating World Teacher’s Day into practice

UNESCO frequently translates World Teachers’ Day into thematic days in order to highlight growing needs or trends. In 2011, the theme was gender equality and numerous conferences were held on the subject. Last year, UNESCO asked countries to “invest in teachers” as a way of “invest[ing] in the future” because many countries still do not have enough teachers for their younger generations.

Many countries hold World Teachers’ Day on other days than the 5th October to avoid celebrating it during school holidays. Mornings, afternoons or whole days are set aside to discuss matters such as everyday life in schools and improved pedagogy. In some countries, students and parents give their teachers cards, flowers and other little tokens of appreciation (have a look at these lovely cards in Australia!).

The Translation of World Teacher's Day - UNESCO poster for 2014

The Translation of World Teacher’s Day – UNESCO poster for 2014

The translation of World Teachers’ Day is often very future-orientated, putting current practices under the microscope to improve learning and working conditions generally. In Dortmund for example, large conferences are due to be held in November to discuss what good schooling actually means.

National translations of gratefulness

Many countries around the world do also translate World Teachers’ Day into their own national celebrations. In France one is due to be inaugurated in June of this year. Log-on to to have a look at the work already taking place in preparation for it!

Photo credits and sources

[1] – UNESCO’s webpage dedicated to World Teachers’ Day in 2014
[2] – Teacher’s Workload diary survey 2013
[3] – Rita Pierson, Every kid needs a champion, TED video
[4] – Deutscher Lehrertag Dortmund 2015 (webpage in German, a Mytranslation language)

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