NEA, National PTA Encourage Americans to #ThankATeacher

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Teacher Appreciation Week happens May 2–6, National Teacher Day celebrated on May 3

Nearly everyone recalls that favorite teacher who made a difference in his or her life. --NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

From every neighborhood across the country to the halls of Congress and the White House, millions of Americans are taking to social media to remember their favorite teachers today in honor of National Teacher Day, which is part of Teacher Appreciation Week. Trending on twitter, #ThankATeacher is providing a vivid snapshot of the everlasting positive impact of teachers as Americans share heartfelt letters, cards and messages of appreciation.

“Nearly everyone recalls that favorite teacher who made a difference in his or her life,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “For me, that favorite teacher was Mr. Larson who taught basic grammar at Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah. Mr. Larson could make diagramming sentences into a fun event. He might never have told a joke, but I got his humor, and that made me feel special — which is what great teachers do.”

To thank, support and elevate teachers and the important contributions they make, the National Education Association and the National PTA are encouraging everyone to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2–6) and National Teacher Day (May 3). During the specially designated week, everyone is urged to thank these real-life superheroes by:

  •     Sharing a photo or story of a special teacher on social media with the hashtag #ThankATeacher
  •     Sending heartfelt letters, cards and messages of appreciation
  •     Creating artwork, poems and video messages
  •     Recognizing teachers with awards
  •     Decorating schools and teachers’ lounges
  •     Hosting surprise assemblies and other events
  •     Volunteering in classrooms and giving back to teachers

In Congress, members from both sides of the aisle are adopting bipartisan legislation to mark the special occasion. The White House issued a presidential proclamation and Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator, dedicated a song to her favorite teacher in a heartfelt twitter post. President Barack Obama also will honor the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, NEA member Jahana Hayes from Waterbury, Conn., during a special ceremony at the White House.

National Teacher Day came into being through the leadership and persistence of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1953, she persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim May 7 that year as National Teacher Day. With further lobbying by NEA in the 1980s, the annual celebration of National Teacher Day officially was designated as the Tuesday of the first full week in May. National PTA has designated the first week of May as Teacher Appreciation Week since 1984.

“Teachers are real-life superheroes. They make an immense difference in the well-being and long-term success of children nationwide,” said National PTA President Laura Bay. “As a parent, I know firsthand the profound impact that teachers have on the lives and futures of students. It is important that we honor and thank them for the countless hours they spend and steadfast efforts they make to ensure every child reaches his or her full potential — in school and beyond.”

For more information about Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day, visit or You can also view a special video message from Eskelsen García and Bay about why it’s important to #ThankATeacher as the everyday superheroes who have done so much to make a difference in the lives of their students.

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. Find out more at and follow on twitter at @NationalPTA.

About NEA
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than three million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at and follow on twitter at @NEAmedia.

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Staci Maiers
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