Arithmetics For The Teachers Day

world teachers dayThis year on 5 October, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966.  This recommendation is morally binding for all countries. (UNESCO. World Teachers’ Day 2014: Invest in the future, invest in teachers!)

Very well then, perhaps most appropriate here would be a slide show about teaches everywhere, from slams of faraway and god-forsaken lands to less faraway places, blessed with airy towers of knowledge, wise-looking teachers and above average children, breathing in their every word. Not that pupils in the slams of faraway lands aren’t bright or don’t breath in their teachers’ every word, it’s just that they might breath in dust and a odors not ordinary found in towers of knowledge.  There is, however, a nice slideshow presentation on today’s UNESCO page with pupils and teaches from all over the world.

Another occasion-appropriate material would be a bunch of quotes about teachers, education and inspirations sparked by great teachers. Such as this one, for instance:  A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. (Brad Henry). Plenty more can be found on Brainy Quote, where this came from. Never mind that right next to it Swami Vivekananda insists, quite persuasively, “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.” I suppose our souls should be celebrated along with the rest of our favorite teachers.

I leave it at that and choose yet another “right thing to do” — a heartwarming story about a great teacher.  Not my own, however, although I had a few teachers who taught me a thing or two, and whom I remember warmly and wish them Happy Teachers Day.

Russian painter Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (1868–1945)  was lucky to get into the school of the famous Russian pedagogue Professor S. A Rachinskiy, who noticed the boy’s talent and helped him get his education in arts.

The artist dedicated this painting to his teacher.  Sergei Alexandrovich Rachinsky is depicted in his classroom with his pupils in a village school. Although he was an aristocrat and already famous botanist and mathematician and a professor at Moscow University, he dedicated lots of his time and effort to “educating unwashed masses.”

 Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (1868–1945) Mental arithmetic

Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky (1868–1945) Mental arithmetic. In the Folk School of S. A. Rachinskiy. (1895, Tretyakov Gallery)

On the blackboard, written in white chalk, there is an arithmetic problem. 11 pupils are trying hard to solve it. It seems that only one boy found the solution, and he quietly whispers into the teacher’s ear. 1266234111_ustnaja-zadacha-2-foto_2If you were taught square numbers up to 20, it is likely that the solution will come easy. This expression is equal to (100 + 121 + 144 + 169 + 196) divided by 365, with the result that equals 730 divided by 365, that is 2 .

Or else, one can use the knowledge of what in Russian is called Rachinskiy sequence (and must be known elsewhere under some other name):

  • 32+42 = 52 (both sides equal 25)
  • 102+112+122 = 132+14(both sides equal 365) —– the one in the painting
  • 212+222+232+242 = 252+262+272 (both sides equal 2030)
  • 362+372+382+392+402 = 412+422+432+442 (both sides equal 7230)

Happy World Teachers’ Day!



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