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Press Release

National Teacher Day honors America's educators

As part of this year’s celebration of National Teacher Day, the National Education Association conducted an online poll, asking teachers, “What do you want for National Teacher Day?”
Published: 05/07/2018

WASHINGTON - It’s National Teacher Day and around the country thousands of communities are taking time out to honor local educators and acknowledge the crucial role our nation’s teachers play in making sure every student receives a quality education. As part of this year’s celebration, the National Education Association conducted an online poll, asking teachers, “What do you want for National Teacher Day?”

Nearly 1,000 educators participated in the poll. Poll responses indicate that teachers still appreciate thank you cards, flowers and drawings from their students, but teachers also expressed growing concern and frustration with high stakes testing and the lack of classroom autonomy. According to those participating in the online poll, the best “thank you” would be to: 

“Trust my education and experience. Give me control over my students’ instruction and assessment” (29.1%)

“Stop the standardized testing mania (28.06%)

“Pay me the salary I deserve” (19.98%)

“Smaller classes so I can give more individualized attention” (11.66%)

“A classroom with adequate school supplies” (5.66%)

“More time for class preparation and grading” (5.54%)

“National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week provide a wonderful opportunity to thank teachers for their hard work throughout the year to help ensure the success of each and every student,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We’re asking everyone to take the time to recognize and thank a favorite teacher,” said Van Roekel.  “We know that appreciation alone will not reduce the challenges teachers face, but it will let them know their efforts are not going unnoticed.”

NEA kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week by recognizing on Friday the 2013 inductees to the National Teachers Hall of Fame, which honors exceptional career teachers, encourages excellence in teaching, and preserves the rich heritage of America’s teaching profession. This year’s five inductees were honored during a reception at NEA with NEA President Van Roekel and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Spread the word! On Tuesday, May 7 join our celebration of amazing teachers by:

  • Updating your Facebook status to thank a teacher who made a difference in your life.  You can use “Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! Thank you [INSERT TEACHER NAME] for making a difference in my life” or something more personal.
  • Using our Teacher Day cover image on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Sharing/Posting our Teacher Appreciation HARLEM SHAKE andI am a Teacher” 30-second videos.
  • Signing our “Thank an Educator” pledge to show your support and appreciation.
  • Sharing the “What Educators Really Want for Teacher’s Day” poll results.
  • Checking out our Pinterest boards and repinning/sharing our pins!


NEA celebrates National Teacher Day each year on Tuesday of the first full week of May. The day celebrates the outstanding work and lifelong dedication of teachers nationwide. National Teacher Day came into being through the leadership and persistence of Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1953, she persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim May 7 that year as National Teacher Day.

PTA took Roosevelt's idea and dedicated a whole week to celebrate the accomplishments of educators. PTA's annual Teacher Appreciation Week honors the dedicated men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating children.  


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.