Teacher’s day (วันครู Wan Kruu) is celebrated every year on January 16th in Thailand, it is also a school holiday. It is the day that teachers gather together to remember their first teachers.
Thai people believe that any field of work will have a teacher such as actors, dramatist, magician, astrologist and even boxers. Therefore, we need to have a Wai Kru ceremony to worship or respect the teacher.
The highlights of the day include religious activities, a ceremony of paying respect to teachers and activities to strengthen unity among teachers.
Every year on this day, the Prime Minister or an important poet will establish the motto for teachers. Here is what was chosen for this year by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha:
คำขวัญวันครูแห่งชาติ 2559: “อนาคตก้าวไกล ด้วยครูดี มีคุณภาพ”
Teacher’s Day 2016 Motto: “The future can be bright by good and quality teachers”
There is an appreciative short film telling a life a Thai teacher who has devoted her life to students. This inspirational video is from true story.
Another tear-jerking Thai advertisement that reminds you the true essence of teaching .The advertisement is called “The Everlasting Teacher”. It is based on the true story of a teacher who was a giver when he was alive and also when he was dead.
There is also วันไหว้ครู /Wan Wai Kru/ or Teachers’ Appreciation Day which is held shortly after the beginning of the term, on the first Thursday of June, as Thursday is traditionally the day of wisdom and teachers.
I still remember when I was a student, my classmate and I helped each other to arrange a flower tray for “Wai Kruu ceremony” (พีธีไหว้ครู) ; the children crawled up to the teachers on their knees, heads down, and presented them with flower tray with candles and incense (พานไหว้ครู).
The Students also recite the wai kru chant (บทไหว้ครู) , which expresses respect for, and gratitude to the teachers, and asks for the teachers’ blessing of their studies.
The flower trays given to the teachers have three specific flowers in them:
1. ดอกเข็ม (ixora) symbolizing wit (ความฉลาดหลักแหลม).
2. ดอกมะเขือ (eggplant flowers) symbolizing respect (ความเคารพ ความอ่อนน้อมถ่อมตน)
3. หญ้าแพรก [yâa prâek] (Burmuda Grass ; Wire Grass ; Dub Grass) symbolizing respect perseverance (ความอดทน)
Learning Thai Language Corner:
I got questions several times about the different between the words ครู/kruu/ and อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/ in Thai. They both means ‘teacher’.
The answer is “ครู /kruu/” is used to call all kinds of educators. However, in Thailand students call teachers who teach in higher education from high school, collage or University level “อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/”, but many of those teachers teaching in higher education level still refer themselves with the word “ครู /kruu/”.
The origin of the word ครู/kruu/ comes from Pali word “ครุ /krú/” or Sanskrit “ คุรุ /kú-rú/” which means heavy (in duty or responsibility).
There is a Thai saying ครูคือแม่พิมพ์ของชาติ /kruu kue mâe-pim kăwng châad/ which means ‘teachers are the mold of the nation’
Teacher Pear and I love to be called ‘kruu Pear’ and ‘Kru Mod’, it is warmed our heart. 🙂