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Teacher Appreciation Day-How to Thank an Educator

Updated on December 28, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Quote #1

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child." Carl Jung.

What does the 'Merry Month of May' bring?

May is a month of significant ‘thank you’s’ according to the greeting card shop: Hallmark. Most importantly, of course, is Mother’s Day. In the United States, Mother's Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday of May. In other countries around the world, Mom’s Day is honored in March, April and even as late as June.

Additionally, the greeting card leader promotes two service oriented professions this month: nursing and teachers. Nursing Week is always the first week in May with May 6th designated as Nurses Day.

Here is a question that people often ask: What day is 'Teacher Appreciation Day'?

In the United States, Teacher Appreciation Week begins on the first full week of May, with the first Tuesday of the week set aside as Teacher Appreciation Day . If you did not realize this you still have time to send a thank you note to a teacher, (or a gift), because this year the 'Day of the Teacher' will fall on May 8th, 2012-mark your calendars. Teachers in America, and throughout the world, are often the unsung heroes in your child’s life and no one understands the importance of the role of teachers until many years later.

Teacher Appreciation Quote #2

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” Jacques Brazun

The History of National Teacher Appreciation Day

The origins of National Teacher Appreciation Day, while inconclusive, may have had its early beginning in 1944 when Arkansas teacher Mattye Maye Whyte Woodridge began the campaign to acknowledge teachers annually by writing to political and education leaders prompting them to take action.

In 1953, following Woodbridge’s letter to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady persuaded the 81st Congress to initiate a National Teachers Day to recognize and celebrate teachers nationwide.

In 1980, Congress recognized March 7th as National Teachers Day for only that year. However, the National Education Association, (NEA), continued to observe the March date through 1985. After 1985, both the NEA and the National Parent Teacher Association, (PTA), established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week in May, making the Tuesday of that week National Teachers Appreciation Day. It is the one day a year that you can sincerely express your gratitude for your teachers.

UNESCO: The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

Teacher recognition is not reserved for the United States alone. Over 100 countries honor teachers on October 5th, the date commemorating the signing of the ‘Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers’ in 1966 by the UNESCO/ILO, (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization/ International Labor Organization).

The purpose of UNESCO is to promote international collaboration through education, science and culture, in accordance to the United Nation’s overall goals of universal justice, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Covered in the 1966 conference recommendations were thirteen areas that were highlighted, including definitions; scope and guiding principles; teacher’s rights and responsibilities; and addressing the teacher shortage.

Global appreciation for educators acknowledged on World Teacher Day, October 5th, helps draw public attention to the importance of education and the role of teachers in our society. Without well trained principals and teachers our future citizens and leaders of the world would not be possible.

Every opportunity-an opportunity to learn

'Papa' Handlon teaching young CJ about rain.
'Papa' Handlon teaching young CJ about rain. | Source

What do teachers do?

There are many ways that teachers are important to the world. Not only do they teach fundamental basics such as math, reading, and science, they also shape and influence future generations through role modeling values and citizenship. They advocate for the student; encourage and inspire. Their energy and creativity provides opportunities for growth. Many teachers put in extra hours to help with activities, after school tutoring, and exam preparation.

Teacher Appreciation quote #3

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams

I come from a multi-generational line of teachers, including my father, my oldest brother, my sister, and my oldest daughter. Teaching was always my first line of career choice, desiring first to be a Montessori teacher, and later becoming a dance instructor. Teaching is in my blood.

Generations of Teachers

Teachers: past, ('Papa', center), present, (Cara, second upper left), and future, (Sam,upper left).
Teachers: past, ('Papa', center), present, (Cara, second upper left), and future, (Sam,upper left). | Source

Additional 'Teacher' Quotes

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”  Lily Tomlin

“A true disciple shows his appreciation by reaching further than his own teacher.”  Aristotle

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”  Andy McIntyre

 “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”  Malcolm Forbes

“The highest result of education is tolerance.”  Helen Keller

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”  Khalil Gibran.

“The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.”  William A. Ward


If you would like to give a special teacher a token of appreciation, either during Teacher Appreciation Day, or at the end of your child’s school year, here are a few teacher items that may be a big hit:

1. Gift Cards-an easy gift to purchase-buy one for a bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble, or for a popular coffee shop, like Starbuck’s.

2. Totes-Brookstone or make a durable, roomy canvas bag just right for all of that neat 'teacher stuff'. Personalize your buy or make it even more special by finishing it off yourself: buy a canvas tote from a sewing or craft store and decorate it with stenciled paintwork or embroidery.

3. Gift baskets-they don’t have to be huge: a small ‘fragrance’ gift basket or one filled with sweet treats are always favorites. Find out what your teacher's favorite interests are and customize it.

4. For the male teacher: Pen and pencil gift sets are always appreciated.

5. Stationary: Memo pads and other ‘to do’ stationary can be purchased at dollar stores making this gift thoughtful, but inexpensive. Great idea if you have more than one teacher to remember.

6. A photo frame-is always a useful gift. Again, this can be a simple 3x5 size for a desk, or something larger.

7. Books-No one can own too many books is my philosophy and any teacher would appreciate a copy of Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Other ‘book’ type gifts are: scrapbooks, photo albums, and journals.

Please Take a Poll About Your Favorite Teacher

Do you have a favorite teacher from your past or now?

See results


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello Randi, mbuggieh, and ChitrangadaSharan. First, God bless each and every one of you who have spent time in the classroom attempting to teach students when they are unwilling to learn and show their disinterest. Second, yes, I agree that the most important gift a student can give a teacher is letting him/her know they learned something, as well as staying attentive in class. Third, Happy Teacher Appreciation to all of you.

      Thank you for your comments. :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice thoughts expressed in this hub!

      This topic is very close to my heart, as I belong to a family of teachers, including myself.

      Thank you for writing this hub! Voted up!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      After 37 years in the classroom I think the best way that any student can show appreciation for me as a teacher is to actually express interest in learning and information; to tell me that you've learned something that matters and that you can and will take it with you past my classroom.

      As sappy as this may sound, this is truly the absolute best gift that I can receive.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great hub, Denise! I learned new things, here! I also come from a family of teachers and social workers. I still have an embroidered book mark from a student in 1985! Voted up+

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Audrey-thanks for your feedback. Teachers run heavily in my extended family, as you've read. :)

      Hi Theater Girl-I'm glad you enjoyed this hub, and I salute the hard work you do-no matter what the age group. Thanks.

    • Theater girl profile image


      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Well done! As a teacher I applaud and salute you for writing this!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      7 years ago from California

      We are a teacher family and counting down days to the end of the year as summer approaches--it was a pleasure to read your hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      A big smile to you, ARUN...I look forward to your hub. Thank you for commenting.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      7 years ago from KOLKATA

      Campus violence, students brandishing weapons are now the order of the day. Gone are those days when there was excellent relationship among the teachers, the taught and their parents. But still we find dedicated teachers and the students remembering and appreciating their good works later in life. Even in my master degree course my Chemistry teacher would say ” You will gradually forget the subject later but that you keep good discipline should pave the way for your success in life.” Thanks for the well researched useful hub provoking me into writing a story on the said relationship half a century back.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi JayDeck-I can appreciate your response completely. My daughter teaches at an urban school district just outside of Detroit, MI and many of the students are transported from there. The lack of parental involvement and reinforcement of lessons is quite the opposite of what we experienced growing up. I'm glad you enjoyed the quotes. :)

    • JayDeck profile image


      7 years ago

      Where I teach, a phone call, email or note from a parent would be present enough. I need parents that pay attention and care. Parents who value education have successful kids.

      I enjoyed your collection of education quotes! Thanks.


    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      What a great idea. Thanks for the read. I'm glad you found this one because I should remember with all the teachers in our family. :) Thanks for the fan mail BTW. :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I was rooting through your collection here and happened upon this and it is coming up really soon again, isn't it?

      Thank you so much for the reminder - I want to send Starbucks and Donuts in for the office staff at my girl's school:)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      You've been busy this morning MD, LOL Thank you.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Nice again dear Denise!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello vinodkpillai-thank you. How have you been? I just finished posting my 100th hub. Going to bed now, good night. :)

    • Vinodkpillai profile image


      9 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Inspiring tribute to reachers -three cheers, Denise!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      You are so welcome, Ms. Cara-I placed that quote there intentionally, keeping in mind you, Uncle Chuck, and all the teachers who are experiencing very stressful, and unappreciative, times.

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Great job on this hub. I love the first quote about teaching not being a lost art but the regard is a lost tradition. We all like to feel appreicated and in this time of blaming teachers for all of the problems in society (or so it feels life), lost is the appreciation for what we really do. Thanks.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Thelma. It actually was quite interesting. :) Welcome to hubpages.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      9 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Good job Denise. You put a lot of research in this hub and it shows!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi KoffeeKlatch-I appreciate your comments. Thanks for the visit.

      Sholand-I can only imagine that as a H.S. teacher all of the 'warm fuzzy' thank you's drop off. I try to acknowledge J's teachers at the end of the year just because of the work they do. When he comes home c/o of them I listen and then point out the other side. Thanks for your comments about the school nurse. Both service oriented professions often go without acknowledgement for all of the stress that the job heaps on.

      Shogun-Likewise, as in my comments to Sholand. And, it is a true recognition when the student returns, isn't it? Blessings for the work you put in.

      Hi PrairiePrincess-than you for your comments. I was happy to add your link. The two go hand in hand, don't they. :)

      Hi Gail-Wow, you are like my family: got both service areas covered! Yes, my brother, who is a teacher, is still in contact with the man who was his teacher when he did student teaching. We had a family reunion last summer and Max, now in his 80's, joined us. It is a wonderful feeling knowing one has a positive influence on other lives. Thanks for the comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos--was unsure about adding them in and then...well, I just left them. :)

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Loved the personal photos of the many teachers in your family, and the quotes in this hub. Hope readers are inspired to take action and let their favorite teachers know how much they appreciate them.

      My hubby is a retired teacher and he still likes it when former students let him know he made a difference in their lives.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Denise, this is very beautiful! I love your use of quotes, and personal anecdotes, with the wonderful recognition of the hard work that teachers do. Thanks for including my hub, within yours, too. I am honoured that you would. Take care!

    • shogan profile image


      9 years ago from New England

      I agree with sholland10. I don't get a whole lot of recognition from current students. It's the ones who come back with gratitude for what I did that makes it so worthwhile. Nice hub, Denise.

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 

      9 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      As a high school teacher, there are few parents or students who recognize us while students are in school. My greatest reward is when a student comes back to visit me and tells me that they "get" what I was trying to teach in class.

      Our school nurse is the JEWEL of the school. Most compassionate, caring person. Even through her breast cancer, she came as much as possible. She does not get enough recognition and is not paid enough.

      This is a great hub, Denise!! :-)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great hub. I appreciate the thought and research behind it. A good teacher can positively affect so many children.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Mark, I appreciate your comments. :) Have a good one. I have to finish six more hubs before the 8th!!!

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      9 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Well done Denise! i sure learned a few things I never knew. Thanks for bringing me up to date on these days and BTW if I don't see you tomorrow, Have a wonderful Nurses Day! Voted Up and Useful. Thanks for sharing :)


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