National Teacher Appreciation Day

Everyone has had a teacher at one point in their life. Teachers dedicate their lives to sharing knowledge and guidance with people of all ages and backgrounds. Unfortunately, the recognition they get for the work they do is just not enough. So, how do teachers have an entire day dedicated to them, but still not receive the credit they deserve? 


According to National Teacher Appreciation Day is believed to be first proposed by Mattye Whyte, who was a teacher in Arkansas. She sent many letters to Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the first lady from 1933-1945. Roosevelt read these letters and proposed the idea of a National Teacher Appreciation Day to Congress. Congress accepted the idea, but it took 27 years for the holiday to officially become a national holiday. Eventually, this single day of appreciation was changed to an entire week, which is always celebrated the first week of May. 


Teachers deserve to be appreciated for many reasons, one of those reasons being their ability to communicate effectively with their students. Per, the national student-to-teacher ratio is 15:1. Some people struggle to get in front of their class to present a presentation they’ve been working on. Now imagine that it’s your job to get in front of a class every single day and speak to students for hours on end. For more reserved people this might sound like a nightmare, but teachers take pride in being able to educate their students. Teaching really is a dedication; according to the National Education Association, teachers in US public schools averaged 14 years of teaching experience. A majority of teachers stay in their profession longer than some of their students have been alive, showing that teaching truly is a lifetime commitment—or was a lifetime commitment until recently. 


CNBC states that between February 2020 and May 2022, at least 300,000 teachers quit their jobs or retired. Why? There are a number of reasons that many teachers left the profession during this timeframe. The first reason teachers cite is burnout. Burnout is defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” According to The World Health Organization, during 2020, this workplace stress was amplified by COVID-19. Teachers had to switch to teaching virtually; many of them had no lessons prepared and had no idea how to structure their classes anymore. states that 66% of teachers were burnt out during the 2020 school year. This amplified stress led many teachers to change professions or retire prematurely. 


The national teacher shortage has been an issue for a long time now but was only made worse by COVID. However, COVID is not the only reason teachers are quitting. Per, the average starting salary for a teacher is anywhere from $32,000-$46,000, which is not enough money. Teachers who work for 10+ years will see an increased salary, but even that is enough to support themselves and any family members they may have. claims that 26% of educators quit their jobs due to low pay and lack of benefits. 

On top of the low pay, a new law in New Jersey requires substitute teachers to have a degree in education or currently be working towards one in college. America is running out of teachers, and if we’re able to pay athletes hundreds of millions of dollars, why not increase the pay of those who build the future of our country? Increasing teacher pay would make teachers more likely to stay at their jobs, which benefits everyone involved. It’s not rocket science; teachers are what makes the world go around, and without them, society would not be what it is now. 


Teaching is not all doom and gloom, but there are some underlying issues that are taking away educators’ job security, and forcing them to stop doing what they love. So, next time National Teacher Appreciation week rolls around, let your teacher know you appreciate them. It could be something as simple as saying thank you or even just paying attention during their class.