Imagine what it must have been like to find out your old schoolteacher became Canada’s prime minister.
Justin Trudeau reminded everyone of his history as a teacher in a throwback photo on Thursday in commemoration of World Teachers’ Day. Yes, the world leader actually spent a lot of time in classrooms. For years he taught math, French, drama and humanities at Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy.
World Teachers’ Day is a United Nations-designated holiday to underscore the critical role teachers play across the globe.
“Being an empowered teacher means having access to high-quality training, fair wages, and continuous opportunities for professional development,” the heads of key U.N. agencies and programs said Thursday in a joint message.
As if educating young children wasn’t enough of a reason to appreciate teachers, they also have the power to shape children’s worldviews and influence their choices for years after their time in the classroom.
Being able to have that type of impact was what led Trudeau to teach after university.
“I would become a schoolteacher,” Trudeau said on his political party’s website. “This would be my way of having a positive influence in the world.”
Former students described Trudeau as a normal teacher, energetic and goofy, back in 2015 on a Reddit thread. One student recounted a memory from the prime minister's French class on 9/11, when he stopped teaching to "talk about the global ramifications from that event" and discuss the students' feelings.
Trudeau took the opportunity Thursday to launch this year’s nominations for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank all teachers and educators in Canada and around the world for helping us succeed as individuals and prosper as societies,” Trudeau said in a statement. “You give the very best of yourselves, and change lives, every day, for the better.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.