National Teachers’ Day (Wan Kru) is a Thai school holiday celebrated on January 16th of every year. Since this day is dedicated to teachers, students show their gratitude and appreciation for teachers.
Thai Teachers’ Day is not to be confused with Thai Teachers’ Appreciation Day (Wan Wai Kru) which is observed on the second Thursday of June. Thai Teacher’s Day tends to be seen as a more secular, policy-based occasion, whereas Thai Teacher’s Appreciation Day sees more elaborate, cathartic ceremonies.
Teachers’ Day in Thailand
The Secretariat Office of the Teachers’ Council of Thailand (🇹🇭) first established the holiday in 1957, when it was held at the National Stadium of Thailand. Thai Teacher’s Day is celebrated on January 16th because on this day in 1945, the Teachers Act was published by the Royal Thai Government Gazette. The Ministry of Education had decided to give teachers and students the day off in recognition of teachers’ sacrifice and dedication to the people and nation. According to the Ministry, The purpose of Teacher’s Day is to express gratitude towards teachers and others who contribute to Thai education.
Teachers are often referred to as mae phim khong chart (แม่พิมพ์ของชาติ), literally the “mold” or “role models” of the nation, in a nod to their role in molding young minds.
The Teacher’s Day flower
In 1996, the national organizing committee for Teacher’s Day declared the orchid to be the symbolic flower of Teacher’s Day, inspired by the poetry of M.L. Pin Malakul, Thailand’s Minister of Culture from 1957–1958 and Minister of Education from 1957–1969.
How slow, orchids are to bloom.
So too, is the classroom.
Yet once in bloom, how striking!
So too, are the minds molded by learning.
Unofficial translation of the poetry of M.L. Pin Malakul
Teachers’ Day motto
This year, the Teacher’s Day motto roughly translates to “Good teachers teach well, and good students learn well, together in happiness.”