Pupils and parents from the Cramim School in Modi'in surprise the educational staff with posters, decorations and snacks in honor of National Teacher's Day..
(photo credit: COURTESY EDUCATION MINISTRY)
“Being a teacher is a mission, perhaps the most important mission of all,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett conveyed to educators ahead of National Teacher’s Day.
Municipalities, schools, parents and students throughout the country on Thursday paid tribute to some of the most influential people in their lives – their teachers.
“A good teacher influences and shapes the identity of the child for life and there is nothing in the world, not progress and not technology, that can replace a teacher that succeeds in igniting curiosity in the eyes of his students,” said Bennett.
This is the fourth year that the day has been observed with the aim of showing appreciation to educators from preschool through higher education and strengthening their standing in Israeli society.
The day was organized by a number of partners, including the Education Ministry, student and parent organizations, municipalities, schools, NGOs and local businesses.
As part of the celebrations, students were given the opportunity to thank their favorite teachers by decorating their schools with balloons and giant banners, organizing breakfasts for their teachers and sending personalized thank you cards, flowers and gift baskets.
The AMIT Zionist-religious school network announced that it was sending some 250 of its excellent teachers along with their families on a fourday vacation to Eilat during Hanukka.
“We believe that excellence deserves a proper reward and that a good teacher should gain appreciation and encouragement,” said Dr. Amnon Eldar, CEO of the AMIT school network.
“An appreciated teacher is a better teacher who will continue to invest more in the students, and the school and the education system will benefit from proper appreciation,” he said.
In a letter to education institutions penned ahead of the day, Michal Cohen, director-general of the Education Ministry, also thanked teachers for their contributions to society.
“‘Teacher’s Day’ is no longer another day on the calendar of the State of Israel, it has turned into a symbol and a day when Israeli society can express its trust in its teachers,” she wrote.
“You have strengthened values, brought up academic achievements and improved the school climate. There is no doubt that you are worthy of the trust that the public gives to you,” she said.
The day came on the heels of what has been an ongoing battle between teachers and the Education Ministry over low salaries and poor working conditions.
According to the latest OECD report, Education at a Glance 2016, starting teacher salaries in Israel are significantly lower than the OECD average. For example, the starting salary of a primary school teacher in 2014 stood at $18,498 per year, compared to the OECD average of $31,028.
Similarly, lower secondary school teachers and upper secondary school teachers had salaries of $18,602 and $18,910 per year, respectively, compared to the OECD average of $32,485 and $34,186, respectively.
Last week, the Committee for the Payment of Salaries for Educators, which was established by Bennett some two months ago in the wake of continued teacher protests and complaints, issued recommendations to improve services and enhance transparency with regard to teacher salaries.
“Good teachers make the country and society into a better place, more moral, smarter and with a promising future.
It’s time that Israeli society recognizes the genuine gratitude [owed] to teachers, and [for] teachers to gain their proper status,” said Bennett.