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Teacher Appreciation Week

The 2nd week of May has been a week to show gratitude to our teachers since 1984!

Teaching is one of the oldest professions – in 561BC, the first private teacher in history was one of the most learned men of all time, Confucius. In Ancient Greece, there was huge value placed on educating children, and in the 1600s the Pilgrims also placed a similar emphasis on the practice. 

By the 19th century, politicians began to believe that education was needed for political order, and elementary through college education was widespread and public, and the need for teachers has been growing ever since!

Though the origins of Teacher Appreciation Week are somewhat murky, it’s clear that it was in 1944 that an Arkansas school teacher, Mattye White Woodridge, wrote to politicians and educational professionals about the demand for a day to appreciate teachers. However, it wasn’t for nearly a decade until the idea was introduced to Congress by none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1953, she was successful in convincing lawmakers to adopt the day.

After the National Education Association (NEA) and Kansas and Indiana state affiliates lobbied Congress again to create National Teacher Day on March 7, 1980, they continued to observe it yearly even though Congress did not. They did this until 1985 when the Assembly transformed the single day into the first full week of May. 

Teacher Appreciation Day is described by the NEA, which spearheads the weeklong event, as “a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.” Each year they provide social media kits, printable teacher achievement certificates, contests, and gift suggestions to help teachers feel all the appreciation we have for them.

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