Less than 25 per cent of people in European countries tended to think that pupils respected teachers – compared to 75 per cent in China.
And when we asked whether people would encourage their children to become teachers, just 20 per cent of Germans and 25 per cent of British people said that they definitely would.
We thought it would be telling to ask people to name another profession which they felt had a comparable status to teaching.
In the West, teachers were overwhelmingly thought of in the same bracket as librarians or social workers. Compare that to China, where teachers were considered to have an equal status to that of doctors.
This lack of respect for teachers in the West is clear when you consider how doctors are viewed. You only have to look at the mainstream media to see how celebrated the medical profession rightly is.
When teachers do get a mention in the media they are often blamed for a vast array of society’s ills: from the loss of good manners to the decline in competitive sport to the shortage of entrepreneurs.
This attitude towards teachers is not just morally wrong, it’s sabotaging the education system. If we constantly attack teachers, we will miss out on generations of talented graduates who will not want to join a profession that is constantly derided.
That’s why it’s time to really recognise the role teachers play in developing young people’s minds and bettering society. It’s why we have created the first ever global teacher prize – open to those who teach children that are in compulsory schooling or are below the age of eighteen – to find an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
If our culture so richly rewards celebrities, actors and sports stars, heaping praise and riches on them, why should not an outstanding teacher be equally celebrated? Why shouldn’t teachers have their own equivalent of the Nobel Prize or the Oscars?
Due to the huge number of high quality nominations we have extended the deadline, so there is still a week left to nominate a worthy teacher.
Ten candidates will then be shortlisted in early December and the winner announced next March at the Global Education & Skills Forum. The winning teacher will receive $1m – awarded over a period of ten years.
The winning candidate will be a teacher who has achieved exceptional results in student learning, and won the respect of the community through activities beyond the classroom.
They will have been a role model to other teachers through charity, community work or other cultural achievements, will have encouraged other teachers to join the profession and contributed to discussions and debates about how to raise teaching standards.
But the prize is not just about one teacher – it’s about unearthing thousands of stories of inspiration; examples of quietly heroic teachers who, against great odds, enthuse their classes, bring out the best in their pupils, and help them overcome the things that are holding them back.
There was a teacher behind every great inventor, every great philosopher and every great idea in history. Fierce independent minds – from Nelson Mandela to Steve Jobs – have paid tribute to the influence of a teacher during their early years.
The fiendishly complex challenges of the modern age – from climate change to frenetic technological change to global conflict – will require better ideas, and better teachers, than ever.
Sunny Varkey is founder and trustee of the Varkey GEMS Foundation
Lately, I have been hearing a lot of stories about students being rude to their teachers. And then the other day in class I witnessed it happen: halfway through class the WiFi stopped working, and there was nothing my professor could do. However, instead of just sending us home, he wanted to use our time wisely, so he had us work on other things that did not require using the WiFi. Some students began making loud comments trying to get his attention about wanting to go home, and one even tried to yell across the room.
Throughout all of it, all I could think was why? I mean, yeah, it would have been nice to get out early, but he clearly was not going to, so what was the point? Teachers or professors, whatever you want to call them, are there to help us, and they deserve our respect. So here is a list of reasons you should respect your teacher.
1. They respect you.
“Treat others how you want to be treated," if you think your teacher is being rude maybe look at how you are treating him or her.
2. They are there to help you learn.
We would not make it very far without an education, and they are the people who provide us with one.
3. They care about you.
They want the best for you, and if something is going wrong they want to help you.
4. They can help you in the future.
Teachers want you to succeed and are more than willing to help.
5. They cannot control everything.
Some things are just out of our hands, and it is not fair to hold teachers responsible for things that go wrong.
6. They have to deal with a lot of shit.
Why make it more difficult? It is not cool, and most of the time the other students think you are annoying, not funny.
7. They decide your grade.
Okay, so this one is more of a joke, but it is true. Your teacher will be more willing to help you out or work with you if you respect them.
8. They are people too.
How would you feel if you were trying to help someone and got attitude in return?
9. They have been in your shoes.
At one point in their lives your teachers were students too, so they understand more than you think.
10. They are not out to get you.
Teachers are trying to to help you do better, they do not want to see you fail.
11. They give up A LOT for us.
Teachers are the hardest workers I know. They worked hard for their title and it is no secret that they do not make the big bucks.
This is just the beginning; there are so many more reasons why you should respect your teachers. It really is not a hard thing to show your teachers the respect they deserve. If you do have a problem or disagree with your teacher, just talk to him or her after class. Being respectful can make life easier for you and your teacher.