National Teacher Day is observed on the first Tuesday of the first full week of May (May 5) and we’re more than ready to show our appreciation to those who have taught us. Everyone has had that favorite teacher that has helped inspire them. This day meant to honor them was actually made by a teacher. None other than First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself. Eleanor Roosevelt 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 “Barnie” Roosevelt. No matter how high she rose on the social ladder, she never forgot where she came from.
History of National Teacher Day
In 1953, Eleanor 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 wasn’t clear. It’s believed that some schools in certain states were already observing the day, but there wasn’t a clear consensus and she wanted to make it official.
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. Despite her best efforts, the first National Teacher Day didn’t become an official national day until 1980.
At its inception, National Teacher Day was celebrated on March 7 until 1984 when it was moved to May. Thanks to the assistance of the National PTA, it evolved into Teacher Appreciation Week, giving teachers more time to bask in appreciation. A year later, the NEA established that the first Tuesday of the week would be National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Today, 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.