Honoring Those who Educate Us: National Teachers’ Day
The United States of America celebrates their National Teachers’ Day on Tuesday of the Teacher Appreciation Week. This celebration honors the educators and recognizes their contributions not only in the classrooms but to our lives as well.
As we all know, it is quite impossible to separate teachers’ contributions from the successes we’ve achieved as members of the society, workers, children, parents, and so on. Their role in our lives is definitely something of value.
The History of National Teachers’ Day
How National Teachers’ Day started is not really clear. However, according to the National Education Association, “The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day. NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.”
Until 1985, National Teachers’ Day was observed in March. It was then moved to the first full week of May when the NEA’s Representative Assembly voted for it to be moved.
The National Teacher of the Year 2016
Every year, one teacher is given the National Teacher of the Year Award. Just before Teachers’ Day, Jahana Hayes, a social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury Connecticut, was awarded the 2016 National Teacher of The Year award.
“Jahana is a shining example of an educator who cares about her students and has mastered her craft,” Vince Schaff, a parent at Kennedy High, wrote in support of Hayes’s application.
Hayes, 43 years old, was honored at the White House and she will then be spending a year traveling throughout the nation as an ambassador for the teaching profession. According to her, she wants to remind Americans that teachers can be powerful, positive forces in the lives of their students.
“I really think that we need to change the narrative, change the dialogue about what teaching is as a profession. We’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years talking about the things that are not working,” Hayes said in an interview. “We really need to shift our attention to all the things that are working.”