There are some 3.2 million educators in the states and each and every one of them should take a bow, especially now during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Although first proposed in the 1940’s, it was Eleanor Roosevelt, who, in 1953, got Congress to create a teacher recognition day, thus making it official. However, it wasn't until the National Education Association (NEA) made it a national occasion starting on March 7, 1980.
Then, in 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association did all that one better by declaring the first full week of May as Teacher Appreciation Week. The very next year, the NEA named the first Tuesday in May National Teacher Day, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, it’s all well and good and very nice that teachers have a week all of their own, but, let’s face it, lots of folks won’t take much notice. And knowing that prompted me to informally survey a bunch of Philly area educators, asking them what would best help them tackle the challenges they face every day.
The results—in no particular order—are telling, indeed, and not all that surprising:
- A day off.
- Well-rested students ready to get to work and learn.
- Attentive students.
- Cell phones that remain out-of-sight unless specifically called for.
- Homework 100% carefully completed every day.
- Homework done solely by students—not their parents.
- Appropriate in-class behavior.
- Supportive parents who value education and the work of schools.
- Parents who follow-up on advice/suggestions.
- Parents who don’t defend their children’s indefensible behavior.
- A student dress code that’s followed by kids and enforced by administrators.
- More at-home reading.
- Less screen time for kids—for all of us.
- Mentors for new teachers.
- Collaboration time during the week.
- Meaningful professional development targeting such big ticket items as technology and implementation of the Common Core Standards.
- Less time spent on standardized testing—test prep, too.
- An end to teacher evaluations based on students’ standardized test scores.
- More teacher input when it comes to reforming education—and less from the government/politicians and the business community.
Most oft-said, though? Better pay and, above all, a simple thank you every once in a while.