Teacher’s Lounge Blog

Learn more about teacher preparation, test tips, online learning, professional development, and a variety of other valuable teacher topics.

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 6th, 2019 | Comments Off on Teacher Appreciation Week | Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Teacher with student

Have you ever thought about Teacher Appreciation Week? When did it start? Who initiated it? What does it mean? Your school district likely follows countrywide norms and honors its teachers during the first full week of May, with National Teacher Day on Tuesday of that week.

History of the Event

Discussions about recognizing the important work that teachers do began in 1944. The 81st Congress proclaimed National Teacher’s Day in 1953 at the behest of Eleanor Roosevelt. Officially, the first National Teacher Day was established on March 7, 1980, and the first Tuesday in March was set aside to acknowledge educators for their efforts. In 1985, the National PTA initiated Teacher Appreciation Week in May, with the NEA voting to make Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day.

What happens during Teacher Appreciation Week?

Many retailers, restaurants, and other establishments offer discounts and free goodies to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. Generally, you must show your ID to qualify. Local PTA organizations often spearhead specific activities in their schools for teachers that may include gift-giving, a celebratory luncheon, or another special event to recognize the staff.

Many local groups within individual schools create their own “Thank a Teacher” GoFundMe operations where donations match campaigns that directly benefit teachers.

Is it a good or a bad thing?

There is surprisingly quite a bit of controversy regarding Teacher Appreciation Week. While a time set aside to honor educators for our often challenging and time-consuming work with children and young adults should be cherished – and is, by numerous teachers – others disagree.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a free meal, a discount at a favorite store, or a heartfelt surprise from a student during Teacher Appreciation Week, but many teachers aren’t interested in being “buttered-up” once a year. Instead, they want to be respected for what they do, have enough funding to educate students with the most up-to-date technology and other educational materials, have fair evaluation standards and job protection, compensation worthy of the profession, and a voice to help make policies that support teachers and the families of the children they teach.

Teacher shortages are more common than ever, and teacher morale has continued to drop. Although teachers appreciate what parents do for us during this week, what we really want is to be trusted and respected as professionals in the educational field. Allowing us to have autonomy in the classroom and letting us influence policies that affect us directly would go a long way in bringing more teachers into the profession and boosting spirits. The students will be the real beneficiaries.

Of course, we love hearing “thank you for what you do,” and receiving tokens of gratitude during Teacher Appreciation Week. Hopefully, these positive feelings can be extended throughout the entire year. 

Have a Great Summer!

May 29th, 2018 | Comments Off on Have a Great Summer! | Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Summer Break

“Have a great summer!” I love those words. They hold the promise of quiet, travel, and a break from the daily monotony of scheduled everything. But, can I tell you a secret? I also love teaching.

Despite feared transitions in the U.S. Department of Education, the staggering emphasis on testing, and teacher walkouts in multiple states, university students still flock to education majors. Why? Because surreptitiously behind closed doors, so many of us know that teaching is the profession where we belong—the profession where we find happiness.

Since teaching is in my heart and soul, here’s what I’ll find myself doing this summer….

I’ll pin classroom ideas. When I’m on Pinterest, looking for travel journal ideas, I’ll inevitably stray to education boards and start pinning ideas for my classroom in the fall. I’ll remember Dee Dee and how she struggled. I’ll come across another teacher’s strategy for empowering young readers, and I’ll pin her ideas.

I’ll shop for supplies. I’ll remember May when only my red dry erase marker still worked, when not one student had a pencil longer than his finger, and when coloring a world map was a group activity because each student had only 2-3 broken crayons. I’ll have a little stash of supplies so that when next May rolls around I can awe my students with a new box of crayons.

I’ll talk shop with my teacher friends. Some of my closest friends are my colleagues. We understand each other. We have the same interests that drove us to the same career. Now, we’re bound together as survivors; so, when we get together, we’ll share our passion.

I’ll rejuvenate. I won’t deny that teaching is exhausting—physically, but more so, emotionally. I’m so very responsible for the students. It takes a toll on my family, as I work long hours and short change family dinner. This summer, we’ll grill and picnic, and I’ll look long into their eyes, and I’ll find new energy.

Don’t get me wrong, I laugh at and connect with all the teacher summer vacation memes. I’m guilty of everything that is mocked. But, let’s own it. We have a great life. To my teacher friends everywhere, “Have a great summer!”

“Yes! You will use this!”

January 8th, 2018 | Comments Off on “Yes! You will use this!” | Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Teacher Inspiration

Any student of history can recognize the connection between productivity and reward in the establishment of the American way of life. And what about today? Is the tight connection between work and reward lived out in your classroom?

Far too many of our students question the benefit of school. They make Google their best friend and preface every assignment with, “Am I ever going to use this?” Quite honestly, if they’re not going to have to find the volume of a sphere and if they can Google the majority of the content on your test, where does hard work fit in?

I recall that my sixth-grade teacher always had challenges around the classroom. Periodically, one of her challenges came with an enviable “five minutes free time” certificate. The first of her hundred plus students to solve the problem earned the reward. On occasion, it took weeks for anyone to find a solution, but we did it—every one of them. She not only held us to the highest of standards every day, she gave us opportunities that made us want to work even harder.

This year, have a classroom where productivity is prized. It starts with you.

  • Prepare. Teachers know which students did their homework, and the opposite is also true. Students know which teachers did their homework.
  • Create. Don’t be that teacher that downloads too many lessons from the internet.
  • Inspire. Find a way to make obscure, seemingly useless lessons relevant.
  • Require. Everyone gets an equal opportunity to excel.
  • Personalize. No teaching over the top of the head; every student deserves eye contact and a smile.

I would challenge you to go beyond an elementary-style behavioral system where the average student who humdrums through the day with minimal effort, all the while avoiding disturbance to his classmates, can achieve top rewards. While not to be discredited for its infinite value in maintaining a healthy learning environment, I’m not sure this system instills the benefits of academic achievement. Be the teacher who day after day after day shows students the connection between working today and living the life they want in the future.