Updated: September 9, 2019
As almost anyone can attest, teachers can be pretty incredible people. Most don’t just teach you reading, writing, and arithmetic. They can also be your personal cheerleader and mentor, helping to mold you into a compassionate citizen of the world. Needless to say, they are definitely deserving of a holiday celebrating all they do.
Although much of the planet celebrates World Teachers’ Day on October 5th, this is not the case for every country. In many Arab nations, educators are celebrated on February 28th. In the United States, celebrations are held during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. Here in China, we celebrate the teachers in our lives on September 10th.
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Respecting and honoring educators are longstanding traditions in China, the roots of which trace all the way back to the Han Dynasty when the emperor and court officials would pay tribute to the ancient philosopher Confucius on his birthday. Confucius still stands as one of the most influential, revered figures in Chinese history, commonly referred to as zhì shèng xiān shī, or ‘the great sage and the first teacher.’ His philosophy of morality and justice, known as Confucianism, stands as one of the most widely-held belief systems in the Middle Kingdom – and that’s saying something for a secular nation like China.
A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present.
wēn gù ér zhī xīn, kě yǐ wéi shī yǐ
Confucius, Analects 2.11
In ancient China, most teachers were given gifts of dried meat and a day off to celebrate their contributions, while some were invited to the imperial court for a banquet. Some students would even wash their teachers’ feet to show their respect and humility. Today, Teachers’ Day is still a festive affair, with educators often receiving gifts like flowers, cards, and handmade tokens of affection.
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At WildChina Education, we happily celebrate teachers whenever we’re given the opportunity. That’s because we understand how hard they work and the responsibility that’s placed on their shoulders. When we create our educational travel programs, we do so with the aim to take some of this burden off the teachers’ shoulders. It is our goal to not only make their jobs easy but fun too.
In short, through the hard work of our international team of academic managers and travel designers.
Thanks to our educational background, we can craft award-winning experiential learning programs that satisfy a range of curriculum standards and outcomes. By utilizing our collective knowledge and personal experiences, we craft a journey that not only meets each school’s learning objectives but also puts students in control of their own learning – encouraging them to think outside the box and work as a team. That means the teachers on our trips can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that we know exactly what they need from a trip and how to achieve it.
For Robin, one of our Academic Managers, that means putting himself in the shoes of a student to think about how a destination like the Forbidden City can connect to their life in an impactful, fun way while applying skills in a classroom-without-walls environment.
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On this day of celebration, we asked our educational travel team who they’re most thankful for in helping to shape the people they have become today.
Robin, Academic Manager: “Dear Mr. Shallal, my math teacher in the 9th grade! Thank you so much for spending your spare time finding different teaching methods to help me break through my mental block in math. You are an exemplary man.”
Cecilia, Program Manager: “My bartending teacher, Anton, is a lovely German man. Unlike other teachers, Anton doesn’t like to teach us the knowledge in the textbook. He uses a lot of examples to open up our horizons and lets us focus on practice. Anton passed away last month, but he will always live in my heart.”
Adam, Academic Manager: “My university geology professor, Dr. Benison, will always be one of the most influential people in my life. She saw potential in every one of her students regardless of their background, attitude, or grades. Dr. Benison herself was a perfect model of working towards what you love at all costs, as she was one of the very few, brave women that impacted geology as a science during a time when it was dominated by men. I am one of many who have been touched by her sincerity, wisdom, and unwavering spirit. Every day while planning and leading trips, I try my very best to be the type of educator she is.”
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Abraham, Program Manager: “My postgraduate tutor was very strict with me. He had very high expectations for my thesis. He hoped that I could combine the theory with my work experience when writing my thesis. Because of his constant encouragement, I finally made it with a grade A. Because of him, I understand well that nothing is impossible in your life as long as you work hard and work smart.”
Susan, Program Manager: “When I talk about my favorite teacher it takes me to the soft and warm part of my soul. She took care of me like I was her daughter. She inspired me to learn singing, drama, and leadership – to experience life as much as possible. She pushed me to the place where I am now.”
Yunya, Program Manager: “My Chinese teacher in middle school stays in my heart. He made me believe in myself. Before graduation, he presented me with a scroll with inspiring calligraphy written on it. I still have it. It reminds me to learn and study more every day.”
We’re thankful to every teacher for their role in shaping the future of tomorrow and are so proud to play our part in students’ education. Happy Teachers’ Day!