Appreciating Teachers During The Most Difficult School Year


Alexandra Risi

In our lives, everyone has had at least one teacher who has made a positive impact on them. It’s almost inevitable that we will run into an educator who does more than educate us. Teachers are people who can have a huge impact on our character, but sometimes their efforts can go unnoticed. They have a huge responsibility that includes educating their students and preparing them for the rest of their lives. This is one of the reasons why “Teacher Appreciation Week” has become a national holiday, and takes place during the week of May 3 – May 7 each year. Fortunately, students can use this week as a way to let their teachers know how much they mean to them, and remind them how valuable their job truly is! 

Teacher appreciation week was created to surround National Teacher Day, which is on the first Tuesday of May every year. The idea of this day was introduced in 1953 after first lady Elanor Roosevelt informed Congress that she believed there should be a day where teachers can be celebrated for all of the sacrifices they make. There are theories that she was prompted to do this after a teacher from Arkansas named Mattye Whyte Woolridge wrote letters to her pleading for her to honor teachers, although this theory is only an urban legend. The first National Teacher Day took a while to be put into place, and was not official until March 7, 1980. A few years later, Congress decided that teachers would get an entire week in order to honor them and all of the work that they did for the youth of America. 

Now I’m sure there’s no question as to why teachers deserve a full week to be appreciated, but I wanted to introduce some interesting statistics to help Mrs. Roosevelt’s case. A study by the National Center of Education Statistics found that 94% of teachers spend money out of pocket on their classroom. Most jobs do not require this, which shows just one of the ways that teachers go above and beyond for their students, and do it all with a smile on their face. 

For Teacher’s Appreciation Week, I decided to ask some teachers about their favorite aspects of teaching. Multiple teachers said that one of their favorite moments is when their students finally understand a concept, since they love to see that their efforts have made a real difference on a student. A common answer among teachers was also that they love forming personal bonds with their students, and creating lasting, fun memories. They love being able to see their students accomplish things they never thought possible, and understand their true potential. 

I also interviewed some students, to try to figure out the positive impact that their teachers have had on them. One said that their teachers helped them create study habits that worked best for them which has set them up for success for years to come. Others say that they just had a great time getting to know their teachers, and harvesting those special relationships. Another student explains that teachers have impacted them by “always being there for me and teaching me about crucial parts of life”. Teachers aren’t always there to teach you about Mesopotamia, or how to find the area of a circle, but instead crucial life skills that you will use for the rest of your life. Speaking from experience, teachers have helped me learn to look deeper in assignments, and figure out the true meaning behind the information given to me. Teachers have also shown me that I have a passion for writing, so without some of my most influential teachers, you may not be reading this article right now!

So what can you do to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Well, for this year, it has already passed, but teachers deserve to be appreciated every day of the year! You can give a teacher a small gift, or write them a nice email telling them how much they have impacted you. In the time of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can arrange virtual celebrations, including launching a virtual thank you campaign, or writing them a thank you note. If you’re a writer, write a poem or song! If you’re an artist, paint them a picture! It doesn’t matter how you show your appreciation, just make sure that they know that their efforts aren’t for nothing! And to teachers, thank you for pushing us students to be the best we can be. You have shown us a whole world of possibilities, and showed us how to live life in your footsteps!