Good teachers are the unsung heroes of all nations and grossly under appreciated by many. They are silent heroes and heroines; educators, mentors, character sculptors and substitute parents to all, and dear friends to many.

Similar to not being able to recognize diamonds in their natural state, many of us are at fault for not being able to recognize heroes and heroines in our midst.

They may not wear distinctive clothing or adorn themselves with badges and labels of any kind as they do in comics, yet many heroes and heroines are extremely close to us.

When we think of heroic people, we tend to think in Marvel Comic images of caped crusaders or people from far distant lands and ignore the likes of Musa Ibrahim, MA Muhith, Nishat Mazumdar and Wasfia Nazreen who conquered Mount Everest and brought great honour to Bangladesh.

Cricketers don't qualify. They're just people having kid's fun and getting well paid!

The REAL heroes and heroines are those whose names may not even get a mention in the media.

Most likely, the first heroes and heroines we encounter in our lives are our parents. Yeah, those people we tend to take for granted, perhaps even undermine the enormous contribution they make. Many parents, however, before, during, and after giving birth, struggle against all odds to feed and clothe their children in a constant Mount Everest-like uphill battle. They're heroes.

A husband/wife who work doing whatever's necessary to feed their family and pay the bills are heroes.

True heroes are not the rich influential politicians and businessmen who take the money from the poor with one hand and give them back a tiny percentage with the other. The American mafia and drug lords are notorious for being generous in building churches, youth centres, and supporting numerous 'good causes', but from where did they get the money?

Good teachers are heroes and heroines. They perform God's work, toil for the benefit of children in the classroom, and even take home assignments to review and correct. They're under-paid, and under-appreciated by their charges, bureaucrats, and parents. Yet they are the catalysts and architects of society, indeed the universe. They inspire, mould, shape, and influence all future professions, all in the course of a normal day's work.

They magically transform children's self-doubts into confidence; open their eyes, open their minds, and touch their hearts to embrace exciting new possibilities.

Superior kind of person

Good teaching demands a special kind of person with a special set of skills. It's impossible to measure the valuable contribution a good teacher makes to an individual or to society.

Every school is a Temple of Knowledge and serves as a beacon of hope in the choppy, desolate ocean of ignorance, while every good teacher is its guru and source of inspiration and optimism for children to learn, develop, and fulfill all of their social, emotional, academic aspirations and needs.

Every year on October 5, World Teachers' Day pays special homage to teachers.

I feel, however, that title short-changes them inexcusably, so I've taken the liberty to rename the occasion Teachers' APPRECIATION Day, for my own satisfaction and appeasement of conscious, if nothing else.

Good teachers richly deserve standing ovations, together with enthusiastic and prolonged applause. Their professional tool kit includes compassion, understanding, patience, empathy, love, encouragement, inspiration, sympathy, and other human qualities. They're First Responders, First Aiders, nurses, and mothers when schoolyard accidents occur and they mix-in copious sympathy to the disinfectant they apply to the cut. They have heart; they have soul and their hearts, seemingly, are larger than most.

They know instinctively that criticism and condemnation is poisonous to a child's learning and offer encouragement at every given opportunity. In return, they're loved, respected, and admired by all the doting little Bambi eyed-children who peer up at them daily in awe.

Sadly, there're some 'bad' apples in the profession, too, who deserve no appreciation whatsoever. They're destructive and evil. Their tools include corporal punishment, hurtful, discouraging, sniding remarks, aggression, belittlement of the children in front of their peers, making the child's experience an horrific experience and worst of all they destroy a child's joy of learning. They're ignorance personified.

Disliked and despised

Most in this category are disliked, disrespected, and despised by their pupils. They give the eminent profession a bad name and the children loathe and hate school.

To a committed professional, teaching isn't a 'job'; it is a vocation ­­- a calling (from God, if you like) to serve humanity. They love their work and it shows.

Every good teacher knows the enormous importance of establishing a relationship of mutual respect. It takes patience and time, but the dividends are enormous. Children will do ANYTHING for their favourite teacher... especially learn!

Substitute parent

Good teachers take on the role as a substitute parent, and become their friend, not their jailer. They show an interest in all that interests the child and some even sing Happy Birthday on their special day!

School ought to be a fun place to be, not a perceived mental and physical torture chamber. Happy children NEVER tire of school, never tire of learning, and never want to miss a day and their homework is home-play. It's their Disney World of thrills and exhilaration and every ride is FREE!

When children are happy, they learn faster. And isn't that what school should be all about: Fun, Games, Knowledge, Friendship, Love of one's fellowman, Love of one's nation, admiration, harmony, respect and goodwill for all?

Good teachers are the unsung heroes of all nations and grossly under appreciated by many. They are silent heroes and heroines; educators, mentors, character sculptors and substitute parents to all, and the dearest of dear friends to many.

A world without good teachers is unimaginable. Their fingerprints never fade from the lives they touch. We should not show our appreciation just one day each year, but every day to them.

Sir Frank Peters is an anti corporal punishment crusader, a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, staunch human rights activist, Honorary Member of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighter, and he successfully campaigned for a five-day school week in Bangladesh. E-mail:

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