the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexoct 09, 2011

The Three Truths Of Teaching: the Basic Truth, the Deeper Truth and the Noble Truth

Delivered by His Excellency Eugene B. Holiday 
at the celebration of international theachers Day 
at the Seventh Day Adventist Church

Good Morning Church and special greetings to all teachers present.

The United Nations' observes World Teachers' Day on October 5th each year. That day deservedly so, has been singled out to celebrate the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels and thus to recognize the contributions of teachers to society. Building on that idea the Philipsburg Seventh Day Adventist Church appropriately honors its teachers in a Teachers’ Appreciation Day Service”.

Education is close to my heart and as such I am particularly pleased to have been asked to address you this morning at this the fourth “Annual Teachers’ Appreciation Day Service” of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. As I deliberated on the day’s theme: “A higher standard. A Higher Calling” and on the beautiful theme text: “If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well”, taken from Romans Chapter 12 verse 7: I decided to give my remarks the title: “The Three Truths Of Teaching; The Basic Truth, The Deeper Truth And The Noble Truth. In the next few minutes I shall share my views on these three truths of teaching with you.

As a youngster growing up I recall that teachers were viewed as highly knowledgeable and intelligent people. Teachers commanded and enjoyed great respect in our society. As a result teaching as a profession was considered to be at the top of the social pyramid along with other professions such as doctors, lawyers and clerics. Hence, many of my peers and I wanted to become teachers.

Having said that, I do not know how many of my peers actually became teachers. As for me I did not take up teaching as my profession, but I have on occasion had the privilege to stand before the classroom as a guest lecturer. Instead of teaching I studied economics thanks to the education I received from dedicated and skilled teachers in kindergarten, teachers in primary school, teachers in secondary school and teachers in university. Yes, I received an education thanks to teachers like you. Like myself many other professionals, doctors, lawyers, clerics, accountants, engineers, have and are receiving an education which would not be possible without teachers. This means that every professional is the product of the labor of a chain of teachers.  In short, teaching is the mother of all professions. This in my view is the basic truth of teaching.

Whereas it is the basic truth that teaching is the mother of all professions, the inconvenient truth is that teachers no longer enjoy the related respect and standing of yester year in our society. This inconvenient truth however should not detract you from meeting the higher professional standard of your profession. It should not be allowed to detract you from the higher calling of the basic truth of the teaching profession.

As practitioners of the mother of all professions, you are standard-bearers of our society. Whatever happens in your classroom sets the standard for our society. That is because the classroom is the training ground where pupils and students acquire the skills and capacities to become effective contributing members of our society. It is at our schools where kids from differing social, ethnical and religious backgrounds come together under the care of teachers to be molded for their role in society.  It is at our schools where the seeds are planted for the standards of our society. Thus whatever happens in our schools affects all of us, yes all of us. This ladies and gentlemen, this teachers, is the deeper truth of the teaching profession.

These basic and deeper truths of teaching, places a great responsibility on teachers. The apostle Paul in Romans chapter 12 verse 7 refers to that responsibility as follows: If your gift is serving others, serve them well, If you are a teacher, teach well. As teachers it is your calling to be standard-bearers, and as such it is incumbent on you to excel in doing so. This responsibility of excellence is in my opinion the noble truth of teaching. For it is through excellence in education that we can be assured of a strong, sustainable and noble society. A society where not all of us have the same function, but one where we individually have the gifts, abilities and values necessary for the development of a free and just Sint Maarten.

Hence, on this fourth Annual Teachers Appreciation Day I advise that you reflect on these three truths of teaching. And as your profession seems undervalued and unappreciated within an increasingly complex and challenging social and work environment, I recommend you to do so even more. For after all is said and done, it is in these three truths, that you will find the true inspiration and reward of your noble profession.

In closing, I congratulate the church on the organization of this teachers appreciation day service and thank you the teachers for your invaluable contributions to our society. I wish you much strength in the continued execution of the all-important noble task of educating our children, towards the building of a stronger and better Sint Maarten.

Thank you and God bless you!