In 1994, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared Oct. 5 as “World Teacher’s Day.”
On the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website, Teacher’s Day is explained as “celebrating the great step made for teachers on Oct. 5, 1996, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/International Labor Organization Recommendations concerning the Status of Teachers.”
Prior to the declaration by UNESCO, nations had celebrated Teacher’s Day on different days, which varied from country to country. After this international declaration, many countries around the world followed UNESCO’s declaration and switched the date to Oct. 5. In this blog, I will talk about Teacher’s Day in Jordan during my school days in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Like many Arab countries, Jordan used to celebrate Teacher’s Day on March 21st, a day that marked several other annual celebrations including Mother’s Day in the Arab World. As far as I recall, all schools around Jordan — while not taking the day off — would hold in-class celebrations throughout the day, varying from one school to another and one class to another.
Some of us loved to celebrate Teacher’s Day because it meant a day without official classes — no homework to be turned in, no punishment for poor performance and no punishment for bad deeds in class. Just celebrating.
On Teacher’s Day, the school day would start with the students lining up in the school’s major yard as they do daily to perform the school’s ritual, but the line-up was prolonged by speeches given by the principal and some teachers and students. The school’s radio station would air national songs all day.
Each class would close the door and celebrate the dedicated class teacher in various ways — presents, songs, music, poems, etc. In 9th grade, I wrote a poem titled “Teacher’s Day,” and said it during our class celebration. Our teacher, who was a math teacher and a poet himself, liked the poem very much.
In 10th grade, I did something much bigger on Teacher’s Day. My Arabic teacher asked me to write the student’s speech for Teacher’s Day, not to be given during the school’s Teacher’s Day celebration but at the National Teacher’s Day celebration. How could I win this honor, and more importantly, how would I deliver the speech?