I recently joined the teacher fraternity after completing my post graduation. Being the youngest staff member, I was asked to be in charge of the Teachers’ Day celebration in school this year. In spite of all the planning, I ran into quite a few embarrassing situations during the course of the program I had organized with the help of the senior students. I would like to do a better job next year. Any suggestions?
For any program to be successful, detailed planning is mandatory. Given the fact that Teachers’ Day is celebrated year after year, it is not one of those surprise programs where one can complain about lack of time or being caught off guard! Since Teachers’ Day is celebrated to honour the selfless, untiring service offered by teachers day after day, and year after year, it must be a genuine tribute to the teachers not only by the students, but also by the Principal and the management of the school! The institution should also acknowledge the loyalty shown by the teachers towards them. It is not enough just to entertain the teachers and present them with bouquets, certificates, and gifts. The teachers should witness a program containing the very elements of the kind of education imparted by them such as discipline, right conduct and public speaking abilities and most importantly, punctuality!
Most schools either have an entertainment program for the teachers or else have the students act as substitute teachers. Sometimes the teachers sit in these classes and become the students. Then there is a speech in the school auditorium, followed by a cultural program by the students, a thank you speech by a teacher and then distribution of certificates or mementos to the teachers. Trying to do too much always results in a lot of glitches and stumbling blocks. Let the focus of the program be to honour the teachers. If your staff consists of 30 teachers, have 30 different students speak for one minute about that teacher… how and why that teacher is special. Make sure that all the teachers are talked about, including the art/music, and PT teacher. No one should be forgotten! Once the student finishes talking about the teacher, allow that student to give the certificate/memento to the teacher. It need not necessarily be the principal or the person from the management. Make sure that the name is spelt correctly! This clarification should be sought before putting down the name on the certificate.
Do not ask your teachers to stand in line to collect their certificates. Instead, ask them to come on stage as their names are called. Encourage the audience to clap for every teacher, and not single out the favourites. Teachers can be seated in alphabetical order so that it is easier to call out their names and there is no confusion. It is their day …allow them to relish every moment of it and not hurry them through a charade.
Make sure the audience maintains absolute silence throughout the program. Make the teachers proud to see a disciplined crowd… that is the tribute they crave for. Once the students have spoken about the teachers and given them the certificates, a single group of students can perform a song or a dance to entertain the teachers. The Principal can conclude the program by thanking the staff for their support. Elaborate speeches leave little or no impact on the audience. Make sure that the function starts on time and ends on time. That is the way to respect your teachers.
Once the program is over, have the students give a standing ovation to the teachers. Allow the teachers to leave the auditorium first and then have the students disperse with as little noise as possible. Good manners, good spelling, good behaviour and adulation from the students – what more can teachers ask for? Perhaps a hot cup of coffee and cakes in the staffroom with the banner, “Thank you Teachers! What would we do without you?”
So next year, make sure that your Teachers’ Day celebration is meant just for the teachers…rather than for others gathered on stage to air their own self-importance!
The author is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Chennai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.