The dignity and vocation of the teacher

MARCH 19, 2001 - HAVANA, CUBA: Elementary school students play before the start of classes at a school in the Vedado section of Havana, Cuba, March 19, 2001. Cuba's education system is widely considered to be one of the best in the developing world and Cuba's illiteracy rate is among the lowest in the world. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ WOMEN EDUCATION FAMILY CHILDREN

Elementary school students play before the start of classes at a school in the Vedado section of Havana, Cuba | JACK KURTZ

I saw an interesting interview in the context of Obama’s visit on CNN with a Cuban lady teacher, who caused me to think about those who teach. You have a noble profession. Of course, the American TV was trying to make her ashamed she was not paid so much, and her school did not have great technical resources like computers for the children. She replied, “yes, that is true, but for us teaching is more like a labour of love. And in what countries are teachers paid so much?!

“Here the teacher is esteemed. In your country is the teacher esteemed? And look who I am teaching. The future doctors must go through my hands. The engineers. The carpenters are formed in my humble classroom.”

She spoke very calmly, with a quiet conviction and dignity.

Teachers are esteemed wherever children and the youth are valued by society. The youth are the future of society and the apple of our eye. This is why the working class and all progressive forces look out for them. And I think too about something remarkable: through the pages of history how many outstanding patriots and revolutionaries have been teachers, who fought for a society fit for the youth and for human beings.

I have only seen in my limited travels such esteem for the dignity of teachers and educators in a very few countries: Sri Lanka, Syria, Palestine and the Gaelic area of Scotland come to mind.

Socialist Cuba is universally recognized as having the most advanced educational system in the developing countries. Cuba’s illiteracy rate is among the lowest in the world. I am sure it is lower than Canada’s. Human-centred Cuba can teach the “developed” countries with their capital-centric systems much.

(From my post on Facebook, March 29, 2016 – giving rise many “likes,” “shares,” and comments, one of the most poignant was “‘a labour of love’ is what gives this post dignity.”)

 

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