Chris Stanley teaching art class

Monday, October 5, is a great day to show some love and say “thank you” to teachers. Every October 5th, since 1994, World Teacher’s Day has recognized teachers for their hard work, dedication, and vital contributions to society. This year’s theme, “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future,” is especially relevant in a time of immense change and challenge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teaching is a profession chosen out of passion and commitment, and a desire to help young people prepare for their future—and our future.

All of us, especially parents, are teachers in many ways, but those who choose teaching as a profession have an especially impactful role, and they deserve our utmost appreciation and thanks. Education is one of the most important foundations of a free society, and teachers are the heart of that foundation. As Dan Rather said, “The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” A great teacher can impact a life, inside and outside the classroom.

Teachers teach because they care. Teaching is a profession chosen out of passion and commitment, and a desire to help young people prepare for their future—and our future. Teachers must have empathy, flexibility, curiosity, compassion, patience, dedication, and resilience. Teachers believe each kid has something special within them, or in the words of poet Robert Frost, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

Much like farmers, teachers are optimists, having faith that the seeds they plant now will produce an abundant crop in the future. Few, if any, continue in teaching because of financial rewards. They continue, year after year, for a love of young people and for the reward of seeing them grow. They do it because it is their calling.

In these challenging times, teachers—many of whom are parents of school-age children themselves—are striving to meet the academic needs of their students, while also keeping their students and themselves safe and healthy. Teachers are navigating remote learning, re-opening schools, hybrid learning, mitigating learning gaps, supporting vulnerable populations, and so much more. Teachers are innovating and problem-solving perhaps more than ever before, to manage complex unforeseen situations, and to try to prepare for whatever gets thrown their way next.

hurst,-roy.jpgAlbert Einstein once said, “I never teach my pupils. I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Each and every day, teachers in the Permian Basin rise early and do their best to provide the conditions in which their students can learn. They deserve our thanks and praise. Make it a point today, to tell a teacher, or two teachers, or many teachers, “Thanks!” Go ahead. Make their day. They will definitely appreciate it.

Dr. Roy Hurst is a Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas Permian Basin. He supports students as they pursue their Masters of Arts in Education and teacher certification programs. You can learn more about education programs at UTPB at