It is always interesting whenever one hears another ask “Why should teachers have a national recognition day?” This blog author could write quite an answer to that question. She would rather focus on the good news…that National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week are the examples of people declaring their faith, support, and thanks to teachers everywhere.
National Teacher Day is a result of a letter that was written by an Arkansas teacher to Eleanor Roosevelt. Mattye Whyte Woodridge wrote her letter and stated the reasons why she thought teachers should be honored. In 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt first proposed that Congress set aside a day to acknowledge the work of educators. Since 1985, NEA (National Education Association) has celebrated National Teacher Day on the Tuesday of the first full week of May.
One might say “Oh…that explains it…the NEA is the one responsible for promoting such a celebration”. What is most interesting…the PTA, an organization for parents, declared in 1984 that the first full week in May be designated as Teacher Appreciation Week. This week, according to the PTA, was to be “a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children.”
There are various organizations that are planning Teacher Appreciation Week. Here are just a few suggestions and links that offer ideas and document what has been done in the past:
-Jennie McClelland, PTO president at St. Mary Catholic Academy in Port Huron, Mich., recommends setting a budget for teacher appreciation at the beginning of the year. Knowing the budget in advance lets your group decide whether to have several smaller activities or, as St. Mary did, plan ahead for a larger event. “We’ve had success holding an off-site luncheon during teacher appreciation week,” McClelland says, “with parents supervising kids during a schoolwide movie.”
-The PTA website publishes suggested Teacher Appreciation Ideas that are referred to as Public Tributes.
-The California State PTA publishes a sample proclamation to be posted in schools and in the community.
-National PTA suggests “expressions of gratitude” and ways to say thanks to teachers.
These websites are just a few of the many different sites that support the idea of appreciating teachers in May. Let education majors and educators celebrate that there are many parents, community members, and students who appreciate what teachers have done and will continue to do for many years to come!
As a side note, Donna Hupe remembers the annual celebration for Teacher Appreciation Week at her school in the Seneca Valley School District. She has memories of breakfasts that were prepared and hosted by the school’s PTA, gifts that were given by parents and students, not to mention by a few principals (one principal bought every teacher a leather bound legal notepad with the name of the school engraved on it), and moments when colleagues recognized colleagues. Her wish…that everyone takes time to thank some teacher he/she had during the past years of life!
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.