Wear #REDforED Today


May 6, 2020

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4—May 8, with National Teacher Day being observed on Tuesday, May 5. Given their recent efforts at stepping into a teacher’s role, many parents are more than ready to show their appreciation to teachers.

On their website, the National PTA encourages the celebration of teachers by saying, “Teachers change the lives of millions of children every day—their immense work and impact move us beyond words. . . . And with the abrupt end to the physical school year, our teachers have done even more to continue education with virtual classrooms and learning at home lessons—all to ensure that all students have the tools they need to reach their full potential. It's in these challenging times that we truly recognize and appreciate how our nation’s educators play such a pivotal role in our children’s lives—inspiring a lifelong love of learning and discovery and making a difference in their well-being and long-term success.”

All individuals have likely had a favorite teacher that helped to inspire them. This day meant to honor teachers was actually created by a teacher—former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor was more than Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife; she has a history of civic duty and was an advocate for fellow teachers. Her love for education began at a young age when she was privately tutored and encouraged by her aunt Anna Roosevelt.

In 1953, Roosevelt stood up to Congress in hopes of convincing them that teachers needed a day to be recognized for all that they do. Until that point, the celebration of the day had no clear consensus. Although some schools in certain states were already observing such a day, she wanted to make it official.

Despite Roosevelt’s best efforts, the first National Teacher Day didn’t become an official national day until 1980. The National Education Association (NEA), in partnership with the Kansas State and Indiana State Boards of Education, lobbied Congress in order for the day to be recognized.

At its inception, National Teacher Day was celebrated on March 7 until 1984 when it was moved to May. With the assistance of the National PTA, the celebration evolved into Teacher Appreciation Week, giving teachers more time to be showered with appreciation. A year later, the NEA established that the first Tuesday of the first week of May would be National Teacher Appreciation Day.

Currently, the official national day celebrates teachers by gift-giving and the showering of accolades from students and parents alike. The hashtags #TeacherAppreciationDay and #NationalTeachersDay are used on social media to show teachers making a difference to the world at large.

This year, the NEA is conducting a campaign: Wear #REDforED on Wednesday, May 6. They encourage people to join NEA members in a show of solidarity by wearing red today and sharing a picture of yourself on social media explaining why you’re wearing #REDforED. NEA members are fighting for school funding, professional pay, and better learning conditions for their students.


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