Joao Barros-Pereira, Velsao
While anyone and everyone is eulogizing the virtues of teachers and the teaching profession, I who was a teacher for 30 years cannot help but think it is a once-in-a-year discriminatory activity, and unnecessary celebration. Now is a good time as ever to end it. In a famous English poem written two centuries and more ago, the profession of teaching was given pride of place as the school master looked after the minds of the younger generations. But this was relevant to an agrarian society. Today, every profession – and there are dozens – requires training, certifications and qualifications. A hundred years ago, a lot of these jobs would not be worthy of the label of profession, but then we are not living a hundred years ago. We need to accept the facts of life, welcome change, and move on. The great teacher today is undoubtedly the Internet. Even if we are not teachers there is no escaping the fact we continue to be lifelong learners, learning a lot through the Internet (and away from it) from input of people of all walks of life. We have to accept the fact that teachers are not the only people in society who contribute to development of learning. There are others from a variety of professions, most of whom are not professional teachers. Let›s not discriminate against them. We need to honor plumbers and toilet cleaners, and others too, as we do teachers once-a-year as a lot of teachers today are easily replaceable, in most cases, by the Internet. Will there be Humanities Departments in universities thirty years from now? Plumbers and others who take care of basic human waste, in my view, are more important as our cities, towns and villages without them and proper plumbing would become a hell in which to live our daily life. Don›t underestimate the importance of people who belong to the plumbing and toilet-cleaning profession. We owe them a lot. And, we need to keep a special day every year in their honor. We need to honor other professions, too, otherwise get rid of this discriminatory Teachers Day forever.