World Teacher's Day

At a clinic in Kolkata where a teacher got her first Covid-19 shot, there were cards that one could fill out. It read, "I got myself vaccinated because ________." The teacher wrote "I love my job."

It's been more than a year since millions of teachers in India last stepped inside a classroom. The pandemic tested the depths of their resilience and ingenuity as they went above and beyond in service to the others.

Traditionally, teachers are known to be heroes and role models because they put the needs of the communities they engage in before their own. They recognise the importance of opening minds and planting the seeds of curiosity in a garden whose fruits they may never see. Today, they are no lesser warriors than the millions of nurses and doctors who have been widely recognised for their efforts.

This World Teachers’ Day (5 October), British Council pays tribute to the sacrifices of teachers who’ve conveyed an uninterrupted wealth of knowledge despite the rigour of the times. We acknowledge the inspiring work they do.

And we’re taking a step further by dedicating five of our favourite biographies to teachers who’ve shown natural zest and undaunting spirit in the face of adversity. These brilliant biographies are available in our Digital Library collection at They celebrate the inspiring stories of legends who stood as the finest examples of resilience, unflinching spirit, values, hope and motivation.

  • Mandela - My Prisoner, My Friend by Christo Brand

The opposing worlds of Christo Brand and Nelson Mandela collided when Christo, a raw recruit from the country's prison service, was sent to Robben Island to guard the notoriously dangerous terrorists; Mandela was their undisputed leader. The two of them, a boy of 19 and a long-suffering freedom fighter then aged 60, should have become bitter enemies. Instead, they formed an extraordinary friendship through small human kindnesses; Christo, a gentle young man who valued ordinary decency and courtesy, struck a chord with the wise and resilient freedom fighter - a man who was prepared to die if necessary, to liberate his people.

  • Prince Philip Revealed - A Man of His Century by Ingrid Seward

For more than 70 years until his death on 9 April 2021, Prince Philip was the Queen's constant companion and support, but his vital role in the monarchy too often went largely unnoticed. Now, in Ingrid's superb biography of the Duke of Edinburgh, we get the chance to read the full story of his remarkable life and achievements. We see how such a man of action coped with having to spend his life walking two steps behind his wife. This first major biography of Prince Philip for almost 30 years examines the major influences on his life and is packed with revealing behind-the-scenes details and insights.

  • John Lennon Story by Guy Cavill 

John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of the Beatles, and together with Paul McCartney formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. As the group began to disintegrate, Lennon launched a solo career punctuated by critically acclaimed albums and iconic songs such as ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Imagine’. Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writings, on film, and in interviews, and became controversial through his work as a peace activist.

  • Muhammad Ali, A Biography by Anita Tsuchiya 

Ali is arguably the most reviled and beloved spokesman in history. He energized a dying sport, reached the pinnacle of his athletic potential, and stayed there while being surrounded by distractions of every size, shape, and volume. The same sportswriters who hated his politics and religion, grudgingly had to acknowledge that no 200-pound fighter ever before had delivered such a lethal combination of speed and grace. In a career spanning 21 years, Ali was a brilliant strategist, inside and outside the ropes. He understood how psychology could wear an opponent down as effectively as any of his body blows.

  • Limitless - The Bestselling Story of Britain's Inspirational Astronaut by Tim Peake

Astronaut Tim Peake takes readers closer than ever before to experience what life in space is really like: the sights, the smells, the fear, the sacrifice, the exhilaration and the deep wonder of the view. Warm, inspiring and often funny, Tim also traverses his surprising road to becoming an astronaut, from a shy and unassuming boy who had a passion for flying, to a young British Army officer, helicopter pilot and flight instructor who served around the world. Full of life lessons for readers of all ages, Limitless is the story of how ordinary can become extraordinary.

Read these and thousands of other books, penned by bestselling authors, in British Council’s Digital Library. You can also watch thousands of award-winning films and popular musical concerts at only Rs1800 for one year (comes to Rs150 per month!) 

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