“Teachers affect eternity, no one can tell where their influence stops” – Henry Brooks Adams, US Historian
Teachers mould lives; they dedicate their efforts to shaping the individual futures of their students. History is evidence of the ways in which teachers have dedicated their careers to change the world. In this article, we acknowledge the contribution of 15 such teachers who made a mark in the world. These people have gone beyond the call of their duty to create something bigger than themselves.
- Anne Sullivan
At the age of only 20 years, Sullivan worked as the governess of Helen Keller. She educated Keller by using sign language and helped her become the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, and thus changing the perception of the capabilities and capacity of the visually and hearing impaired.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt bought a finishing school called Todhunter School for Girls where she spread independent thought through her literature and history classes. As First Lady, she brought feminist ideas to the White House.
- Emma Willard
Emma Willard, an American women’s rights activist dedicated her life to education. She opened the first school for women’s higher education — the Troy Female Seminary in 1821 in Troy, New York. She travelled across the world to promote education for women.
- Booker T. Washington
A former slave, Washington devoted his life to educate children and adults in West Virginia. He is an educator, orator and author and has been an advisor to US presidents. He was a dominant leader of the African American community during his time.
- Joe Clark
Watch the movie Lean On Me to understand Clark’s experience at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. He used unconventional methods to keep drugs and gangs out of his school.
6. Golda Meir
Meir is Israel’s first female prime minister who taught reading, writing and history to children. She has won innumerable accolades and awards not only for her contribution to the education world but also for what she has done for humanity.
7. Maria Montessori
She is famous across the world for the path-breaking Montessori teaching philosophy. The depth of her contribution can be perceived while imagining someone coming up with a curriculum in 1897, which has stood the test of time and is the most practiced preschool curriculum across the world. Deserves applause for sure!
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wilder became a teacher at the age of 15 although she wasn’t a graduate herself. Her works have been immortalised in several books and television shows such as the Little House On The Prairie and On The Banks of Plum Creek.
9. Gabriela Mistral
A teacher and Nobel Laureate, Mistral dedicated her life to fighting for Chilean citizens and the right to education for all social classes.
10. Marva Collins
Collins opened a private school in the building where she lived and offered low-cost education to needy students. She also helped students overcome behavioural issues and other obstacles through her teaching methods. The school operated for over 30 years and finally shut down in 2008.
11. Hanan al-Hroub
A recipient of the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, al-Hroub is a Palestinian teacher who has dedicated her life to working with children with trauma.
12. Jaime Escalante
It is best to watch the movie Stand and Deliver to understand Escalante’s contribution to the world. Escalante was an award-winning teacher who helped his students pass the A.P. Calculus examination in 1982.
13. Kakenya Ntaiya
This Kenya born teacher founded a boarding school for girls called Kakenya Center for Excellence. Before enrolling their daughters, the parents have to consent to not subject their daughters to genital mutilation and forced marriage. Her work as a feminist, social activist and as an educator has won her several awards and recognition across the world.
14. Salman Khan
Khan effectively used the power of the internet to help students across the world. He founded Khan Academy, a free online education platform simplifying lessons for students of all ages. He has won several awards and accolades for his effort.
15. Toru Kumon
A Japanese Math teacher, Kumon started by creating worksheets to help his son get better in maths. These sheets later developed into the Kumon Method of Learning and thousands of students across the world have benefitted from this method. He also opened learning centres in Japan in the 1950s which are now spread all across the world.
If you are planning to be a teacher, we hope reading about these 15 teachers has inspired you to take up the noble profession. We wish you luck and encourage you to continue to make a difference.