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Supreme Leaders Address to Teachers


The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 5, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a large group of teachers from across the country.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Dear brothers and sisters, welcome! I would like to congratulate all of you and all the teachers across the country as well as the Iranian nation on Teachers Day. There is a lesson in the fact that Teachers Day was chosen to coincide with the day a great teacher was martyred. That was a symbolic decision. That is to say, the greatness of teaching is so much that this praiseworthy and great job requires a combination of intellectual and scholarly work as well as presence in essential arenas of life - as was evident in Shahid Motahharis life.

One essential point is that the teaching community of our country should always keep the greatness of their job in mind. If you know what a great job you are doing, your motivation, efforts, and faith will be doubled - just like a courageous soldier who is doing his job and making selfless efforts in a sensitive part of the front, and the role of his selfless efforts is so great that it can affect and benefit the entire friendly front. If the soldier is aware of this, he will never get tired or bored, and nothing will undermine the hope in his heart. Teachers play a vital role in society, and their role is not comparable to other important roles in society. Our teachers should always keep this point in mind.

Students are like a blank slate. There are many factors that shape the slate and give it an identity. Parenting, social factors, advertisements, media, and other such factors all play a role in this regard. But the role of teachers stands out among other factors. Teachers can even liberate their students from their genetic tendencies. This has been scientifically proven. Just as the effect of genetic factors involved in some physical disorders can be offset through treatment and prevention, it is also possible to change inherited moral and spiritual factors. Teachers can teach their young students to be a thoughtful intellectual interested in research. Conversely, they can make their students superficial individuals with no interest in acquiring knowledge. They can teach their students to be honorable, noble, benevolent, good-natured, and truthful. Conversely, they can make them bad-natured and malevolent. They can train their students to be optimistic, self-confident, hopeful, and hardworking, or they can make them hopeless and isolated. They can help their students become pious and faithful. Conversely, they can make them unprincipled individuals who have no respect for moral values and religious education. Teachers can even overcome the effect of factors that are external to education, including the media and other such things. They can even overcome the effect of parenting through years of continued education. This shows the importance of teachers role.

Society needs faithful, motivated, patient, hopeful, optimistic, innovative, thoughtful, and scholarly individuals who are committed to pursuing public interests and reaching the peaks of individual and social perfection. Who can educate such individuals? That is where the role of teachers becomes clear. The education system has this important and sensitive role.

Of course many different things have been said about educational issues and the role of teachers. Today we do not have the luxury of limiting ourselves to words only. We need action. The education system can determine the future of this country. It is true that making fundamental changes in the education system is essential, and I have repeatedly advised the officials in charge of the education system. Thankfully, the honorable Minister said that good steps have been taken in this regard and that there must be a fundamental change in the education system on the basis of our needs, lofty goals, and great national and human capacities. These are all true, and I would like to emphasize the same points. Do not stop these efforts. Pursue these goals with enthusiasm, inexhaustible motivation, and intensified effort. I know that it is difficult to achieve these goals, but teachers cannot just put their motivation and sense of responsibility on hold until a favorable situation is created in the education system. I advise all dear teachers across the country to develop faith in the greatness of their role. You should know that you are playing a key role in the future of this country.

For several centuries, our country has suffered great losses and backwardness. Lack of care has caused irreparable damage. And today this situation is what we are left with. After the Islamic Revolution and this new movement, the country should tread the path that our nation deserves. The country should tread the path that is good enough for our historical legacy and religion. This requires great action.

The dear teachers should know what kind of people we need for the future of this country and what characteristics our men and women should have in order to reconstruct this country appropriately. This is all in your hands. You have control over the children and adolescents who sit in your classrooms. You can fill them with self-confidence through your words and behavior. You can fill them with hope. You can encourage them to take action. You can infuse them with the spirit of religious faith. You can teach them to be resourceful, hardworking, sociable, and interested in the common good. You can revive the spirit of innovation in your students. A wise teacher can do all of this within the confines of the classroom. This is the duty that should be fulfilled by all teachers from across the country.

Of course in order to fulfill this duty, teachers need guidance from visionary intellectuals and education experts. This need will bring about a response. When this need for guidance is felt by teachers, other parts of the country will be informed immediately, and they will try to address it. Our needs will not be fulfilled unless we first feel and express them. That is the role the education system should play.

I would also like to briefly talk about our esteemed martyr Ayatollah Motahhari. The behavior of that great man was indeed a manifestation of a perfect teacher with a sense of responsibility. He did not refuse to enter any arena where an Islamic intellectual was needed. He was not thwarted by any considerations or interests - both on political fronts and in intellectual matters. When answering different questions that preoccupied me and other youth at that time, Shahid Motahhari was not like certain so-called religious intellectuals who used to present non-religious concepts as religion. Rather, he used to provide genuine religious concepts to his audience on the basis of their needs and questions. He was not after attracting praise from a particular group or intellectual association. He fought reactionary attitudes, dogmatism, and wrong thoughts as vigorously as he fought heretic and misguided thoughts. This was the characteristic of that great man. He never got tired. He never stopped trying. He was not after fame or a position in the university or Islamic seminary. He stepped in as an intellectual soldier. He worked sincerely, and Allah the Exalted blessed his work. Today his ideas are still alive and novel even after the passage of 30 years since his martyrdom. His ideas look as if they have been formulated for todays world. At that time, his thoughts and ideas provided answers for different people at various intellectual levels. Today many intellectual advances have been made and many intellectual problems have been resolved, but Shahid Motahharis thoughts and ideas still provide answers to new questions. This is the characteristic of a profound thought that is accompanied by sincerity.

Sincerity works miracles. When someone sets out on a path for the sake of God, He blesses their efforts. That is why a few decades of work by that esteemed martyr continues to be an inexhaustible resource for our society.

Three decades have passed since the second greatest event in our country - that is to say, the establishment of the Islamic Republic which was the second most important event after the introduction of Islam. The Revolution awakened the world of Islam. It affected the political equations not just in the region, but in the entire world. Thankfully, our nation has made many advances on different fronts during the past 30 years. Today it behooves our intellectuals to consider future prospects of the country and see what they want and what they want to do.

The world of Islam is divided. In spite of the fact that Muslims have access to the Holy Quran and firm religious teachings, they are suffering from backwardness due to various reasons. What are these reasons? We need to identify them. The Iranian nation should try to achieve a position that all its actions, moves, and intellectual output are referred to by the world of Islam and its intellectuals as authoritative. This is the historical responsibility of the Iranian nation. And this is the path that lies ahead of us, and we should tread this path appropriately. We should move forward with self-confidence. We should make use of all our power, our human and intellectual capacities, and the talents that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on the Iranian nation. If this happens, the fate of the world of Islam will be changed, which will lead to changing the fate of the world.

The modern world is moving in an inappropriate direction. It is in a bad situation. Moral values have been trampled upon. People of the world are suffering from the consequences of this moral degeneration, and intellectuals living in different countries are aware of this great tragedy. They are troubled, and they express their concerns. We can tread a path that will be a source of salvation for humanity. It is possible to change the appalling fate that humanity is heading towards. The first step is to transform ourselves, which starts with education. Thankfully, the appropriate infrastructures have been created on different fronts during the past 30 years. We can move ahead relying on these infrastructures. The responsibility we have to shoulder is heavy. The path we have to tread is long. The work we have to do is difficult. But there are bright prospects that have been bestowed on us by Allah the Exalted. One can see those prospects. There are good future prospects. We can tread this path properly.

We will face enmity on our path. Each achievement that the Iranian nation makes will disappoint certain people in the world. Superpowers will naturally deploy their forces against the movements that are not in line with their interests. These things are not surprising and should be expected by any nation that enters great arenas of life. We expect to face enmity. Since the beginning of the Revolution, our nation has continued its path in the face of all these obstacles. Such problems are nothing. The experience of the Iranian nation has shown that their threats, statements, and opposition cannot at all slow down the speed of our nations progress. Our nation will continue its path. The important point is that everyone should know the role they have to play. Everyone should be able to appropriately identify and fulfill their role. Hopefully, Allah the Exalted will help us on this path.

I hope the officials in charge of the Ministry of Education will pay attention to these important realities and heavy responsibilities and will pursue this great goal through intensified work and serious efforts. And I hope you dear teachers will further this goal optimistically by relying on Allah the Exalted and expecting divine reward, grace, and guidance. I hope God will reward you all and make the holy souls of our dear martyrs happy with us, the esteemed martyrs who prepared the ground for our nation to deal with these important matters. May Allah the Exalted associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) - who opened up this path for our nation - with the holy souls of His saints. I hope all of you will benefit from the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake).

Greetings be upon you and Allahs mercy and blessings

http://english.khamenei.ir
05/05/2010


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