Celebrating World Teachers’ Day
Following the Guidance of Our Conscience:
Creating a Future of Hope with Love
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Oct. 5, 2021
I’d like to welcome you all to today’s celebration commemorating UNESCO’s adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers on October 5, 1966, which defines and highlights the rights and responsibilities of teachers. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO is particularly concerned about the impact that teachers can have in society, as they are key players in the recovery efforts. UNESCO has set the theme of World Teachers' Day 2021 as "Teachers at the heart of education recovery” to support and encourage teachers to make meaningful contributions to the recovery of the greater environment.
In fact, in terms of the greater environment, not just professional teachers are teachers; people living on the planet are teachers to each other and to themselves. On our life journeys, we learn, rectify our mistakes, and gain revelations every day, and we all need to work together to help the environment recover. William Heard Kilpatrick, an American educator, stated that education is for life and dependent on life. True whole person education is derived from each individual's life experience, from which he or she gains life wisdom, learns to handle people and things peacefully and successfully, as well as resolves difficult problems with wisdom. It is stated in The Book of Rites, one of the classics of Confucian literature, “Even if there is a delicious dish, you will not know how amazing it is until you try it. Even if there is the best philosophy, you will not know its benefits until you learn it. Therefore, only by learning can we understand our own shortcomings. By teaching others, we can learn where we are perplexed. When you recognize your own weaknesses, you can reflect on them and learn from other people's strengths. When faced with adversity, you know how to encourage yourself and learn from others’ experiences so that you can teach yourself and grow.” Many philosophies and life wisdom are treasures that people have gleaned after experiencing many trials and tribulations. This is the ultimate goal and core value of education. It is also the positive energy to enrich and purify our souls.
Love and conscience are important elements in the process of teaching and learning. Education is not only about imparting knowledge and cultivating skilled professionals, but also about inspiring and fostering conscience in students, guiding them to learn how to behave, distinguish between right and wrong, and practice decency, justice, and integrity. Conscience is our natural endowment and the origin and destination of life. It is the guiding principle that governs our actions. A culture of conscience nurtures conscience-driven education, which unlocks our wisdom and purifies our souls. Purified hearts activate true love and conscience, enable good cultures and education to be passed down from generation to generation, and keep the energy of kindness flowing. The fourth goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is quality education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education as well as foster lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. Conscience education is the most crucial aspect of lifelong learning. Everyone can be a powerful conscience educator, and a good thought or deed can have a great impact at a critical moment. When conscience educators teach their students with love and conscience, the students will become conscientious and skillful professionals, benefiting global citizens and the planet. This is the significance of the theme of this year's World Teachers' Day, "Teachers at the heart of education recovery.”
We all begin learning as soon as we are born. We learn from our surroundings and the people we meet. The various interpersonal interactions teach us lessons that are vital for our development. Our bodies, minds, and souls are shaped by important learning that takes place in our homes, schools, workplaces, and society. We were like a piece of blank paper when we were born into the world. As a person's life progresses, this paper is painted with numerous images and becomes a unique work of art. The conscience, thoughts, and morality of each individual have an impact on the larger environment. Whether the leaders of a business or organization are ethical has an impact on the organization. The same is true for a nation's leaders, and whether they implement policies with conscience has an impact on the well-being and security of their citizens.
At a time when the world is caught in multiple crises, we should be united, use our conscience and courage, and become "teachers" of the world and ourselves, continually checking to see if our words and actions are consistent with our conscience. We should also apply our conscience to lead and encourage ourselves in the face of the changing environment and not to be swayed by the forces of evil. Each of us is like a book, and we should strive to become excellent living books that others can read and learn from, and then we can help others become good books to expand the influence of goodness. This way, the good energy will continue to flow in the world and nourish all things.
Today, I'd like to pay special tribute to teachers around the world for their commitment to society's stabilization, exemplary leadership, protecting children's right to education, leading with conscience, and lovingly supporting their students during this crisis. I'd also like to thank each and every one of you for your kindness, since with your conscience and love, you shine a beacon of hope for those who are in the dark to keep the world going and ensure the continued existence of all living things. Let us all work together to emulate the spirit of teachers, exert positive influences, lead with conscience, and create a future of hope and love!
May you all be blessed with peace and health.
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UNESCO World Teachers’ Day