History: National Teachers Appreciation Week

May 3, 2023
Photo of apple sitting on books

The teachers are, of course, among the most important people in our nation.

Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in 1953; Roosevelt championed the work teachers do, and is said to have urged Congress to honor teachers with a “National Teachers Day” in the mid-1900s.

Did you know? National Teachers Day has roots dating back to the mid-1900s, with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is said that she persuaded Congress to recognize the day after she received letters from educational leaders who wanted to honor teachers. In 1953, Roosevelt wrote: "It is quite impossible to give teachers monetary compensation alone that will repay for their devotion to the job and the love that must go to each and every child. But I think we could compensate a little more adequately the teachers in our communities if we were conscious of their importance. … One way to encourage teachers is to do them honor on National Teachers Day."

National Teachers Day (and week) became official in the 1980s when the National Education Association voted to move the celebration to May.

Looking Ahead: In case you missed National Teachers Day this year (which was on Tuesday, May 2), Teachers Appreciation Week is next week, May 8 – 12!

by Jenna Lee,