by Félix Pérez
Today is National Teacher Day. It’s the one day a year when elected officials fall over each other to thank the teacher who inspired them, who helped them turn a corner, or who refused to give up on them when everyone else did.
Ask any teacher, and you’ll get a different take on the meaning of National Teacher Day. Official proclamations and tributes are all well and good, they’d say. More meaningful, they’d tell you, is having lawmakers who support them and respect their professional opinions year round.
What can you do to help teachers receive the political support they need to provide every student an opportunity for a bright future?
Here are three steps you can take beginning today:
From the presidential election to your local school board race, learn which candidates treat teachers as partners in education reform, and support them with your vote, your contribution and your time. EdVotes.org, NEA.org and NEA state affiliates web sites are a great place to start!
Encourage your elected officials — through emails, phone calls, letters to the editor, town hall meetings, or the like — to support and enact laws and policies that provide teachers the resources they need to help their students succeed. And when they do the right thing, thank them.
Speak out for teachers when a neighbor, a family member or coworker questions the motivation of teachers. Remind them that teachers don’t just teach — they are nurses, coaches, social workers, nutritionists, just to name a few. Teachers listen. They provide a shoulder to cry on and hand to hold. Teachers are highly qualified individuals who heal, nurture, love, mentor, comfort and motivate students 24/7.
- Act today and urge your U.S. senators and member of Congress to honor our nation’s teachers by supporting the bipartisan National Teacher Day resolution.
- For more information, giveaways and activities, including suggested tweets, related to National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-11), visit NEA’s National Teacher Day web page.
- Learn about NEA’s partnership with Parenting magazine for the groundbreaking “My Amazing Teacher” campaign, which invited members of the public to celebrate teachers who changed their lives by uploading video thank-you messages. NEA and Parenting magazine also conducted a survey of 1,000 public school parents and educators that explored roadblocks to effective parent-teacher communication. Learn more about the survey results.