A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops, Henry B. Adams, historian and author, once said. Jade, you should be a journalist. You have the potential to be a great one if you keep up, my secondary two teacher once told me in one of her afternoon sessions. I remember the sunny weather that day, I remember being lazy because we had just come from lunch, I remember the pale orange blouse she was wearing, I remember that my seatmate was absent that day, but most importantly, the day remained etched in my mind, only because of those words she literally implanted in me. She wouldn’t have known, but they meant a lot to me. My childhood dream was to become a journalist, and almost everyone in my entourage knew it. My parents didn't approve of my ambitions and had made it clear that if I ever ventured away from science, it would be an echeque. My teacher wouldn’t have known, but her words kept me dreaming. Her comment felt almost like a stamp of approval, validating my crazy ideas. It was the ‘go ahead, I believe you can do it,’ I needed. Even when the rest of the world, or at least my parents, didn’t agree. Research notes that nearly 70 per cent of students' opinions about themselves, influencing their confidence and self-esteem, are influenced by how their teachers treat them. Teachers' direct effect is second to that of parents. It has also been observed that children who are unhappy at home often seek solace with their teachers at school. The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery, said Mark Van Doren, poet, critic and writer. Teachers truly play an important role in shaping who we become. We've all had teachers who either made us believe or doubt ourselves. Who compelled us to dream big or lose faith in ourselves. As in any other profession, there are good teachers and those who try but fail, viewing this vocation as merely a source of income. Unfortunately, our breeders are not the highest paid of all, even if they could rightfully be. Nonetheless, those who have done a remarkable job, as most do, of igniting the fire in us, guiding us, and equipping us with the necessary knowledge and character, it surely comes back to them in some way. Speaking of reaping the benefits of their good deeds, how do teachers feel when they run into their former students in the marketplace, the bank, the hospital, and a variety of other places? Do they get teacher privileges in customer service when one of their students serves them? No? If they could, it wouldn't be too bad. Everyone applauded the recent government's decision to give primary and secondary school teachers an 88 percent and 40 percent raise respectively. You deserve all of that and more, dear teacher. You are a citizen, a parent, a family member, and you wear many other hats in your daily life. But you still give us a piece of it, nurturing us to grow and sometimes outgrow you. Even so, you extend your hand without resentment. Thank you, teachers, for inspiring, caring, listening, guiding, and shaping our future. We salute you on this day when we celebrate your contribution to who we become as individuals, what the community stands for, and the development of the country.