#ThankATeacher: Celebrating Educator Appreciation Week

Jamie Downey

Vice President, Marketing • National Geographic Learning | Cengage

PSA: My birthday is this week. (Yes, I am very big on birthdays- even as an old lady.) Do you know what else is this week? Teacher Appreciation Week. And in this day and age, I believe it’s critical that we focus on EDUCATOR Appreciation Week. Why, you ask? Well, how many people influence your child every single day? And, we are not only facing a teacher shortage in our schools today, but we are also facing a shortage of every single person who could make a difference for your child during his or her day at school. Don’t you think it’s worth a few minutes of your time to say thank you?

My mom is the reason I became a teacher- despite my best efforts! Education is a passion, a calling- it is a desire to make a difference. And they do- each and every day.

My kindergarten teacher’s name was Miss Balser. First grade was Miss Baker. In third grade, I went to Miss Baker’s wedding, and after that, she was Mrs. Stephenson. When I saw her at one of my high school football games, I couldn’t help but call her Miss Baker- and she was fine with it. Mrs. Arnold is the reason I studied Spanish in college, Ms. Homb is the reason I also studied psychology. Mr. Mahood is the reason I use flashcards to this day if I need to remember anything, and Ms. Figueroa gave me the confidence to speak my voice.

Of what other profession could one draw so many takeaways that influence the rest of his/her life? In many cases, students spend more time with their teachers during the week than they do with their parents.

Teacher Helping Students Working At Computers In ClassroomYet, we continue to view teaching as a role that people compromise for. A role that people use to bide their time until they can stop working or find another job. Don’t you think that is what is at the heart of the challenges that face our educational system today?

Did you know that in Finland, teachers are as highly regarded as doctors- and paid as such? It is not surprising, as a result, that Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world.¹ So, this Teacher Appreciation Week – or more accurately Educator Appreciation Week- please take the time out of your busy schedule to thank an educator. Whether you have kids or not, whether you have been in an educational building in the last 20 years or not, thank an educator. If you can read, thank a teacher. If you can write a frustrated email to a work colleague and strike just the right tone, thank an educator. If you can calculate the tip on a restaurant bill and add that for the total, thank an educator.

And the next time that you think that those who can’t do, teach- I encourage you to think about what you knew the first time you entered a school building and what you knew when you left. AND, the next time you want a reminder about what it really takes to be a teacher, go spend eight hours with 25 six-year-olds and then remind yourself that you have to get up the next day and do it all over again.


  1. Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). What We Can Learn from Finland’s Successful School Reform. NEA Today. Retrieved May 2, 2022, from https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/library/publications/543

There are many ways to thank educators for all they do for students. Enter an educator who is special to you into our Teacher Appreciation Week giveaway for the chance to win a National Geographic Learning | Cengage tumbler and a $100 Amazon gift card!

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