The first full week of the month ‘May’ is considered as the Teacher Appreciation Week in the USA and the first Tuesday of the same week is the National Teacher Day. Teacher Day is a wonderful occasion for all of us to show our reverence to the teacher, whether he/she is our current teacher, a former teacher, or our kids’ teachers. Hindus have been emphasizing the importance of Teacher, ie, ‘Guru’ from time immemorial and hence have been recognizing their contributions.
The Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) has launched the Teacher’s Appreciation program called ‘Guru Vandana’ throughout the USA to highlight the importance of Teachers in shaping future citizens of the country. Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing his/her gratitude. The Guru Vandana program provides a platform for students to honor their teachers for imparting knowledge and wisdom to them.
Guruvandana programs have been conducted at more than 15 cities including Houston, Chicago, Sunnyvale, Colorado Springs, Cleveland, Madison, Rochester, Raleigh and Columbus, covering all zones of the USA. A total of 250 teachers covering more than 20 school districts have been honored by their students in the presence of large audiences. While some teachers have been honored with memorable brass mementos, other teachers have witnessed various demonstrations of classical arts by their students. The event has been a memorable one for Teachers and students alike. In the words of Mrs. Diane Wilson, teacher from West Oak Middle School, “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn Hindu culture and for you to show us your culture. This has been a memorable experience for me.”
School Teachers, Superintendents, Executive Directors and Mayors of the towns have enthusiastically participated in the programs and appreciated the initiatives. They also appreciated how Hindu families are helping to shape the teacher and student relationship in fostering excellence in education. In the words of Dr. Roger Prosise, Superintendent of School District 76 in Mundelein, “Teachers and administrators help kids succeed in school and in life but parents are the key.” He added, “The size or income of a house is not important, it is what’s taking place inside the home that is important.”