Category Archives: Children

Wish You All a Merry Christmas!


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Myself  .By T.V. Antony Raj

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IMG_0197 (Small)

 

These cute Tiny Tot Santas are Standard I students of Vidya Matric. Hr. Sec. School, Jalladianppet, Chennai, India where my elder daughter Sujata now teaches.

These little Santas danced to Christmas Jingles during the Chrismas Day celebrations at their school on December 19, 2014.

They captivated the hearts of everyone with their hilarious performance!

To All Sleep-deprived Parents… O You Terror!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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O You Terror! (Source: gettyimages)
O You Terror! (Source: gettyimages)

Carmina Burana means “Songs from Beuern” in Latin. It is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts from 11th to 13th century. “Beuern” is short for Benediktbeuern. The collection found in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern, is now housed in the Bavarian State Library in Munich.

These pieces are in most cases bawdy, irreverent, and satirical. Written by students and clergy, in Medieval Latin, a few are in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French or Provençal.

Twenty-four poems in Carmina Burana were set to music by Carl Orff in 1936 and his composition quickly became popular and a staple piece of the classical music repertoire. Scores of film soundtracks including Lord of the Rings have used the opening and closing movement, “O Fortuna”.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra launched its “Say it with Carmina” contest inviting Australians to come up with new lyrics.

Matthew Hodge, is a father of three living in Sydney, Australia. He sent his entry an “An Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents and Terrorizing Toddlers” to the contest. Among the many entries submitted, including odes to the Pope, it was Hodge’s entry with its hilarious phrases such as, “Oh you terror, get down from there. Mummy’s getting cranky,” that received the most votes. He won the first prize.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The 200 members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra somberly chanted phrases like “Where are your pants? What have you done with my purse?” with a straight face making Hodge’s words more funny.

Even if this musical offering from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra won’t make your chores and stress go away, it is sure to bring a smile on your face.

THE ODE TO SLEEP DEPRIVED PARENTS AND TERRORISING TODDLERS

O’ you terror!
Get down from there!
Mummy’s getting cranky…

Put my phone down.
Where are your pants?
What have you done with my purse?
Don’t throw those blocks.
What is that smell?
Why do you look so happy?
What’s in your mouth?
Who ripped that book?
Why won’t you just stop moving?

He’s on the chair!
Just standing there!
Wobbling like a drunk man.
Where is my mug?
What was that crash?
Who let you in the kitchen?
You’ve got a knife!
Put it down now!
Don’t wave it near your sister!

Put my phone down.
Where are my apps?
Who dialled triple zero?

Why won’t you sleep?
Is it your teeth?
I need another coffee!
My head’s so sore!
Look at the floor!
Cleaning will take forever.

What’s wrong with you?
What did I do?
Why do you do this to me?
I hope when you…
Have some kids too…
They drive you crazy!

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India celebrates Children’s Day 2014


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Doodle4Google - "Natural and Cultural Paradise - Assam" by Vaidehi Reddy.
Doodle4Google – “Natural and Cultural Paradise – Assam” by Vaidehi Reddy.

 

Today, November 14th, India celebrates Children’s Day. I wish all children in India “A Happy Children’s Day!”

In 2009, Google India launched the Doodle4Google competition. It is an invitation for students from grades 1to 10 to design the Google Doodle to celebrate Children’s Day in India. The theme for this year’s competition was “A place in India I wish to visit”. Google received over one million entries from more than 1700 schools across 50 cities in India.

Google India announced Vaidehi Reddy as the winner of this year’s Doodle4Google design contest. She was honoured at an event in New Delhi on November 12, 2014.

The above winning Doodle titled “Natural and Cultural Paradise – Assam” went live on the Google (India) home page today, November 14, Children’s Day.

Nehru and Children's Day

On this Children’s day, India remembers and honours the country’s first Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru born in 1889. The children of India fondly called him “Chacha Nehru” (Hindi: चाचा नेहरू)) or Uncle Nehru.

Jawaharlal Nehru always emphasized the importance of showering love and affection on children. He saw in them the future of India.

On December 3, 1949, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a lovely letter to the children of India. Here are some excerpts from it:

“I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.”

“Can you recognise the flowers by their names and the birds by their singing? How easy it is to make friends with them and with everything in nature, if you go to them affectionately and with friendship. You must have read many fairy tales and stories of long ago. But the world itself is the greatest fairy tale and story of adventure that was ever written.”

“Grown-ups have a strange way of putting themselves in compartments and groups. They build barriers… of religion, caste, colour, party, nation, province, language, customs and of rich and poor. Fortunately, children do not know much about these barriers, which separate. They play and work with each other and it is only when they grow up that they begin to learn about these barriers from their elders.”

“Some months ago, the children of Japan wrote to me and asked me to send them an elephant. I sent them a beautiful elephant on behalf of the children of India… This noble animal became a symbol of India to them and a link between them and the children of India.”

“You know we had a very great man amongst us. He was called Mahatma Gandhi. But we used to call him affectionately Bapuji. He was wise, but he did not show off his wisdom. He was simple and childlike in many ways and he loved children… he taught us to face the world cheerfully and with laughter.”

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Word Cognitive Development in Infants


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Flashcards (Source: Jenni Bowlin Studio / store.scrapbook.com)
Flashcards (Source: store.scrapbook.com)

Typically, the term ‘infant’ applies to young children between the ages of one month and 12 months. Yet, definitions may vary including children even between birth and two years of age.

In recent years, researchers have collected about 5000 assessments of cognitive development in infants between the age of 10 and 24 months.

I am presenting here just a sample of three videos of infants recognizing words.

In the following video uploaded on September 19, 2009, baby Torin alias TNT was 10 1/2 months. He skilfully recognizes words from flashcards. Every day, his dad makes new cards to continue his language development.

The following video was uploaded two months later on November 20, 2009 when infant Torin was one year and 20 days old. It shows TNT’s progress in his reading ability.

The 19 month old girl in the following video started to recognize words when she was six months old. Now she can recognize hundreds of words in two languages and knows what every word means. She can also identify colours and shapes. She recognizes images of the planets in our Solar System.

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Hoodwinking the Innocent in the Name of Jesus and The Holy Spirit


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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An innocent Congo boy

In the New Testament in Mark 10:13-16 we read:

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo

If your heart is physically weak please do not view these videos.

The images you see in these videos are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where self-styled pastors hoodwink ignorant rural folk using the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These criminals who call themselves “pastors” resort to so-called “exorcism” of infants and children to fatten themselves by levying a high fee equal to US$50 or more to drive out the evil spirits in the innocent children. The government officials in Congo do not bother to intervene and arrest these extortionists because they receive their kickbacks under the table.

In India too, there are in every nook and corner, many crooked Christian pastors such as these, who inveigle ignorant people to their churches and fleece them in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

These felons should be stripped bare and molten lead should be poured into their blasphemous mouths for Exodus 20:7 says:

You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

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Imagine Finding Me: Photographer Chino Otsuka Meets Herself as a Child


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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“The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” – Chino Otsuka 

In today’s globalized world, each one of us yearn for a personal identity. Self-portrait in photography is one of the means to meet that goal.

Memoriography

A photographic exhibition titled “Memoriography” was run throughout the British Library from October 2 to December 30, 2008. It displayed works of Chino Otsuka, a London-based Japanese photographer. The exhibition was a sensory experience that encouraged visitors to relate their own memories with hers.

In 1982, at age 10, Chino Otsuka moved from Japan to the United Kingdom. She left the strict traditional Japanese school system for Summerhill School in Suffolk, England. There, for the first two years, she attended no lessons at all. When she left the school she had certificates in English, Chemistry and Photography. She studied photography at the University of Westminster. She received a post-graduate degree in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art.

She has exhibited her work in the UK, Europe and Asia. She had a major solo show at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam.

Chino Otsuka’s adolescent experience in the new country – its people, language and customs – shaped her writing. She has published four books in Japan. Her first autobiography published at the age of 15 was much acclaimed.

Imagine Finding Me

Chino Otsuka uses photography and video, to explore the seamless relationship between time and lingering memory.

Chino Otsuka wondered what it might be like to meet herself as a child. Her series “Imagine Finding Me” consists of twelve digitally manipulated composite double self-portraits of her present and past selves. She visits her younger self by digitally amalgamating recent photographs of herself, taken in 2005 and 2009, with photographs of her journeys with her parents when she was a child. This evokes a subtle and wistful realization of transience of time.

Her choice of transitional objects such as parks, bridges, vacation spots, hotels, trains, etc., was deliberate. She says:

“things are not quite past or present, or somewhere in between… that has reflected from my upbringing, where I’m neither here nor there, and I’m not really Japanese or English.”

The series “Imagine Finding Me” has become her most exhibited work shown over 14 countries.

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India Celebrates Children’s Day 2013


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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I wish all children in India “A Happy Children’s Day!”

In 1925, The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1 as International Children’s Day and then established universally in 1954. Now, many countries around the world, celebrate Children’s Day, but on different days each year.

Universal Children’s Day

A major global variant of Children’s Day is the Universal Children’s Day celebrated on November 20 every year.

The United Nations General Assembly recommended this day in 1954 to urge all its member countries to institute a day, with the aim to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children, and to initiate action to help and promote the welfare of children globally as outlined in the Charter.

On November 20, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and on November 20, 1989 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

India celebrates Children’s Day on November 14

Children’s Day (ISource: ndianEagle.com)
Children’s Day (Source: IndianEagle.com)

Today, November 14, India celebrates Children’s Day. On this day, India remembers and honours the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The children of India fondly called him “Chacha Nehru” (Hindi: चाचा नेहरू)) or Uncle Nehru.

Nehru consistently emphasized the importance of showering love and affection on children. He saw in them the future of India.

On Children’s Day, the Kids in India engage themselves in the fun and frolic. Various educational, cultural, social, institutions organize functions and conduct competitions for children all over the country. The State and the Central governments organize film festivals in many parts of the country to showcase Children’s films.

In many schools, the children themselves arrange the cultural activities on this day. Teachers also get involved; in many schools, they sing and dance for their students.

First Day Covers for commemorating Children's Day 2012 in India
First Day Cover for commemorating Children’s Day 2012 in India

Every year, India Post issues special stamps of paintings  by children and First Day Covers for commemorating Children’s Day in India. Here are the commemorative stamps issued from year 2006 to 2012. Please note that these images of the postage stamps are not to scale.

Children's Day November 14, 2012- Rs 5
Children’s Day 2012

Children's Day November 14, 2011 - Rs 5
Children’s Day 2011

Children's Day November 14, 2011 - Rs 20
Children’s Day 2011

Children's Day November 14, 2010 - Rs 5
Children’s Day 2010

Children's Day November 14, 2010 - Rs 5
Children’s Day 2010

Children's Day November 14, 2010 - Rs 5
Children’s Day 2010

Children's Day Nov 14, 2010
Children’s Day 2010

Children's Day 2009
Children’s Day 2009

Children's Day 2009
Children’s Day 2009

Children's Day 2008
Children’s Day 2008

Children's Day 2008
Children’s Day 2008

Children's Day 2008
Children’s Day 2008

Children's Day 2007
Children’s Day 2007

Children's Day 2007
Children’s Day 2007

Children's Day 2006
Children’s Day 2006

Children's Day 2007
Children’s Day 2007.

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All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and The Celtic Festival of Samhain


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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All Saints

All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun. You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17)

Even though the word Halloween has its origin from Christianity, according to some scholars it owes its origin to the pagan harvest festivals such as the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or to Parentalia, the festival of the dead or to the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Old Irish word for “summer’s end”.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

In some Gaelic languages, Samhain is the word for November.

All Saints Day, introduced in the year 609 AD, was originally celebrated on May 13. In 1835 AD, at the behest of Pope Gregory IV, it was changed to November 1, the same date as Samhain. Some suggest the change was due to Celtic influence in Christianity, while others suggest it as a Germanic idea.

Some early Irish literatures mention that many important events in their mythology happened on Samhain. The festival of Samhain observed in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Asturias and Galicia. Samhain, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh make up the four Gaelic seasonal festivals. The Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) also held kindred festivals at the same time of the year such as Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany).

Samhain Ritual
Samhain Ritual

During Samhain, the Gaelic took stock, readied for the cold winter ahead, brought the cattle back down from the summer pastures, slaughtered livestock, lit bonfires, enacted rituals along with divination games. As a cleansing ritual, they would walk with their livestock between two bonfires, cast the bones of slaughtered livestock into its flames.

All Souls' Day  night vigil
All Souls’ Day night vigil

The Gaelic believed, that during Samhain, the door to the nether worlds or realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world. They beckoned souls of the dead kin to attend the feast by setting a place at the table for them. It has thus been likened to a festival of the dead. Lewis Spence in his book “The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain” described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies.”

Divination also took place during Samhain. The tradition says that in places like Asturias, “Güestia,” a group of spirits from the world of the dead, go out that night, walking in the forests and on roads. People drew circles on the floor and remained within those circles until the spirits passed them.

 

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The Traditions of Halloween


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On October 31, the Eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ (or All Saints’) Day, most people in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and a few in Asia and Africa celebrate “All Hallows’ Evening.” This celebration is also known as Halloween or Hallowe’en or Hallowmas.

All Saints’ Day, to honour the saints, falls on November 1, and the All Souls’ Day, the day to pray for the recently departed kith and kin, falls on November 2.

The word “Halloween” was first used by the Scottish around 1556 AD, as a variant of “All Hallows’ Even,” to mean the night before All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

The Tradition of Guising

The Gaels or Goidels speak one of the Gaelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and later spread to neighbouring regions. Celtic languages are most commonly spoken on the north-western edge of Europe, notably in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Cape Breton Island.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset of October 31 to sunset of November 1.

The ancient Gaelic believed that during Samhain, the door to the nether worlds and realms of supernatural beings and the dead, opened just enough for the souls of the dead and other weird entities, to enter our world; so, they protected themselves from harmful spirits and fairies active in Samhain by taking various steps to allay or ward-off the harmful entities. One such act was the custom of Guising that influenced today’s Halloween costumes.

Were wolves and a skeleton
Were wolves and a skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Little Red Devil (Photo: Subas Raj)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Red Devil in 2011 (Photo: V.A. Subas Raj)
My grandson Rohan dressed as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
My grandson Rohan ‘guising‘ as Peter Pan in 2012 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
My grandson Rohan, the Little Pirate in 2013 (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

In Scotland and Ireland, during Halloween, children go from a house to house, dressed up in various costumes. They receive gifts in the form of food, coins or apples or nuts and recently chocolates.

A Witch, Maid, Imps, and a Skeleton
A Witch, a Maid, Astronauts, and a Skeleton (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The earliest record of Guising at Halloween comes from Scotland. In 1895, masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made by scooping out turnips, visited homes and were rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. It predates trick or treat.

The Tradition of Trick-or-Treating

In Scotland and Ireland, the people in the households expect the children who come to their houses to perform before they receive treats. The children sing or recite a joke or a funny poem which they had memorized before setting out. Some talented children may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or do something impressive. Often the children get a treat, even if they did not perform.

IMG_4338
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

While going from door-to-door in disguise, it has now become common for the children to pose the question: “Trick or treat?” The “trick” in this question happens to be an idle threat to perpetrate mischief on the homeowners or their property if they do not get the treat.

Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)
Trick or Treating (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, in the article “‘Trick or Treat’ Is Demand,” Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.

Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at the back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.

The Tradition of Souling

Soul cakes
Soul cakes

The tradition of going from door to door to receive food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland in the form of “souling”. The soulers, mainly consisting of children and the poor, would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead in return for small round soul cakes, simply called souls, traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. Each cake eaten represented a soul freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes perhaps might be the origin of modern trick-or-treating.

The Tradition of Making Jack-o’-lanterns

The tradition of making lanterns during Halloween may have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. In the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands people made turnip lanterns sometimes with faces carved into them during Samhain. The lanterns may serve three ways: to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings and entities, to protect oneself and one’s home from them.

Traditional Irish Jack-o’-Lantern Modern carving of a Cornish Jack-o’-Lantern made from a turnip. Jack-o’-lantern lit from within by a candle.

Jack-o’-lanterns derived their names from the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern.

A modern jack-o’-lantern is typically a carved pumpkin. After cutting the top of the pumpkin, the flesh inside is scooped out. An image, usually a monstrous face, is carved out, and the lid replaced.

And as a passing thought I give you this Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor. Thanks to Ms. Sheila Ribeiro, a mutual friend who posted this on Facebook.

A Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)
Pumpkin Bowl: A cool, creative Halloween idea to hold your liquor (Source: http://www.freshomedecor.com)

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Teacher’s Day 2013 in India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Teachers like being appreciated, but they usually don’t expect recognition from students. When they get it, it does feel good,
– Suma Padmanaban, Principal of Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School.

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Happy Teacher's Day

During the 20th century, the concept of celebrating Teachers’ Day took root independently in many countries. Unlike many other international days, people in many countries celebrate Teachers’ Day as a unique day to appreciate the contributions made by teachers within the field of teaching or for their service to their community. They celebrate a local educator who is or was an important milestone in education in their country or region. This is the primary reason countries are celebrating this day on different dates though the World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5th every year.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Since 1962, India celebrates Teachers’ Day on September 5, the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a philosopher, statesman and the second president of India from 1962 to 1967.

According to UNESCO, the teaching profession is currently losing its status in many parts of the world.

The Voice of the Teacher Survey 2013, conducted by education service provider Pearson and market intelligence firm Spire Research and Consulting represents the views of 3,262 teachers from 223 cities across 25 states, collected between July and August.

This nationwide survey reveals that three out of four teachers rated gratitude from students as a form of recognition more valuable than the salary or praise from their employers.

Happy Teachers Day

While the study found that a majority (72%) of teachers in the south feel students adequately acknowledge them for success, 61% teachers in northern India feel there has been a decline in gratitude over the past decade.

Among cities, Jaipur has the highest percentage (85%) of teachers who feel that students thank them enough for their success. Next comes Bangalore (82%) and Chennai (78%) is listed third.

The job satisfaction levels of teachers in TN (82%) and Chennai (80%) is higher than the national average at 66%.

Happy Teacher's Day

Teachers can trim, shape and mould or maul the minds of their students the way they want. Ha Ha …  I know this because I was a teacher too…

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