History of celebration

Kaitlin Clark, Print Editor-in-Cheif

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Usually teachers are the ones presenting historical information, but with today being National Teacher Appreciation Day, it’s time to give them a break and discuss the historical past of their special day ourselves.

According to the National Education Association’s website, National Teacher Appreciation Day was created in 1953, but its origins go back roughly nine years before that. An Arkansas teacher named Mattye Whyte Woodridge pushed for the creation of a day in recognition of the hard work that teachers do. Woodridge began writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the one to persuade Congress to create such a day.

National Teacher Appreciation Day was not always on May 7. The date change has actually occurred rather recently. The NEA lobbied Congress for a specific national day for Teacher Appreciation Day, which lead to Congress declaring March 7 as National Teacher Day. Unfortunately, this was only for 1980, but the NEA kept celebrating National Teacher Day on March 7 for the next five years. In 1985, the NEA Representative Assembly changed the event to “the first full week of May,” according to the NEA website.

Over time, the way people celebrate has also changed. Nowadays, big companies like Crayola and Chipotle are capitalizing on National Teacher Appreciation Day as an opportunity to provide discounts to teachers while potentially increasing sales. This kind of marketing has helped cement National Teacher Appreciation Day’s status as a national day of celebration for all of the teachers that have helped individuals growing up.

Teaching is a career that often receives little praise, but thanks to Mattye Whyte Woodridge all those decades ago and the NEA more recently, teachers are able to have at least one day where they are celebrated for the hard work they do and the dedication they have to their classes and students. National Teacher Appreciation Day is a time to celebrate all teachers, including classroom teachers, gifted facilitators, ESL, or English as a second language, teachers, life skills teachers and paraprofessionals. Their dedication has helped shape generations of citizens, and now is the time to celebrate them.

 

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