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The History of National Teacher Day

May 5, 2015

Today marks the 35th annual National Teacher Day! Conceptualized in 1953, thanks to the efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt, National Teacher Day has become a wonderful day set aside to honor teachers and show gratitude for the lasting effects that they have on both our minds and our hearts.

School supplies and flowers on blackboard background with inscription Thank you teacher

But how did National Teacher Day begin? The origins of this great day of gratitude are a bit uncertain, but it is said to have been the product of one or two 1940s teachers, one from Arkansas and the other from Wisconsin. One of the two reportedly turned to Eleanor Roosevelt for her assistance in backing their cause. The National Education Association named this early advocate to be Mattye Whyte Woodridge.

As a result of Woodridge’s supposed efforts, Roosevelt took an interest in the cause and persuaded the 81st Congress to recognize a Teacher Appreciation Day. However, the first official National Teacher Day was not held until March 7, 1980, after the National Education Association (NEA), its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates, and the Dodge City, Kan., local chapter lobbied Congress to recognize teacher appreciation as an occasion worthy of a nationally designated day.

We know what you’re thinking! – But we celebrate National Teacher Day in May, don’t we? Yes, now we do! The day was originally observed in March for four short years, until the National Parent Teacher Association deemed the first full week of May Teacher Appreciation Week in 1984. The following year, the NEA put it to a vote, and decided to change the official national day to be celebrated on the Tuesday of each Teacher Appreciation Week every year going forward.

And there you have it! Thirty-five years later, we are still setting aside time to celebrate the teachers that helped to shape us into the people we are today. With 3.7 million people working as professional educators in public schools nationwide, it’s no wonder that this day is so special!

Let Nickerson Corporation help you pay tribute to the hardworking teachers in your district this National Teacher Day with new and improved classroom furniture. Give us a call at 631-666-0200 today to learn about our many furniture options. We’re committed to making sure that we are not just selling classroom furniture throughout New York and New Jersey, but also furnishing a child’s education, as our wonderful educators do day-in and day-out.