Special Awareness Days

October 5th - World Teachers’ Day


“Education is not about teaching pupils what to think, but how to think.”

—Shayna Lewis, writing about World Teachers’ Day 2018 for The Canadian Teacher’s Federation

First celebrated on October 5th, 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing of the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Labour Organization. 

To produce global citizens, this day is celebrated in over 100 countries in the world.

Activity Bursts

Grades K-2 - The Arts 

Gather students and ask:

  • What do you think a teacher does?
  • How many teachers do you have at school? (Encourage students to think of the school team and any different teachers they have for art, music, gym, special needs, etc.)
  • Do you have any teachers outside of school who help you learn things? (e.g., coaches, activity leaders, family members)
  • Why do you need teachers? 

Explain that teachers help them to learn to read and sing and draw and figure out how to solve problems and so much more.

Tell them that today is a day to celebrate teachers and all they do to help them to learn more about themselves, their neighbourhood, and about the whole wide world!

Provide all the necessary art supplies (e.g., brushes, papers, paint) and invite students to paint a picture of a teacher. Post the paintings in the lobby of the school with the title “Thank you, Teachers.” Encourage inclusive representations in students' paintings (e.g., a variety of cultures, genders, ages and more).

Grades 3-5 - Language Arts, Critical Thinking 

Describe World Teachers’ Day. Ask students why they think that this day was created and is celebrated all over the world.

Print the word “Teacher” in the centre of a piece of chart paper. Brainstorm with students all the words and images that come to mind when they think of teachers. Remind students about brainstorming rules (e.g., appropriate answers are accepted, everyone participates). 

Remind students that teachers have decided to go to school for many years to learn how to teach kids important things that will help them to be the best they can be. They work very hard to keep students safe, appreciated, and excited about learning.

Display the following open-ended statement on a chart or whiteboard and ask students to think about how they would complete the sentence: “The thing I like most about teachers is…” Share answers.

Close by suggesting that when they see teachers in the halls today, they stop and say “thank you for being a teacher!”


Grades 6-8 - Language Arts, Critical Thinking 

Explain that today is World Teachers’ Day and share the information in the Introduction. Ask students why they think UNESCO has chosen to celebrate teachers. Share responses.

Explain that you are going to ask them to do a little thinking and participate in an exercise about teachers. Tell them that they do not have to share their answers if they don’t want to, but that you want them to really think about the questions and be honest with their responses. Provide each student with a piece of paper and ask them to fold it in fourths. Ask them to complete each square of the paper as follows: 

  • 1st square: write the name of a teacher that they have had who made a positive difference in their lives.
  • 2nd square:  summarize in one sentence what this teacher did that made a difference.
  • 3rd square: record the 3 or 4 most important qualities of a good teacher.
  • 4th square: list some of the challenges that you think teachers face as they try to do their job in schools today. 

Ask volunteers to share their responses.

Close by asking:

  • Do you think teaching is a simple job? Share.
  • If you decided to become a teacher, what would you like your students to say about your impact on them and their education? Share.

Invite students to say thank you to teachers today!


Special Days This Month