History Lessons: Teacher Appreciation Week

Teachers are some of the earliest mentors in kids’ lives – whether it’s a homeschooling educator or a school teacher.

Some of the most formative moments in kids’ lives take place in the presence of these mentors – and they are the first adults outside of family members that children get to interact with.

So Teacher’s Day celebrations are a big deal across the globe! Did you know most countries have their own stories behind their very own Teacher’s Days – countries as far and wide as Bhutan, New Zealand, and China?


Did you know?

  • In 1994 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) established World Teacher’s Day – October 5th
  • Brunei’s Teacher’s Day celebration celebrates the birthday of the 28th Sultan of Brunei, an early advocate for free education in the country.
  • In Taiwan, teacher’s day is celebrated on 28th September, the birth date of Chinese teacher, philosopher, politician Confucius!
  • Colombia’s Teacher’s Day celebration honors Pope Pius XII’s appointment of San Juan Bautista de la Salle, who championed free and universal education, as the patron of teachers.
  • On 22nd December 1961, Cuba was declared free of illiteracy! This day is now celebrated as Teacher’s Day.
  • A wonderful tradition in several countries allows the school’s “senior students” to teach classes on Teacher’s Day to show appreciation to teachers.
  • Philippines honors over 500,000 of its teachers in a month-long celebration that begins on September 5th and ends with World Teacher’s Day on October 5th!
  • In South Korea, ex-students often visit their teachers on Teacher’s Day (May 15th) and give them a carnation.
  • The United States celebrates a full week to show appreciation for teachers! Read on below.


So what’s the story behind Teacher Appreciation Week in America?

Our Design Process (2)

Beginning in 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt – America’s First Lady at the time lobbied the 81st U.S. Congress to proclaim a National Teacher’s Day at the urging of Wisconsin teacher Mattie Whyte Woodridge.

Soon, the NEA (National Education Association) joined in the calls for a day that commemorated the vast contributions of teachers to American society.

Finally, in 1980, Congress designated March 7th as National Teacher’s Day.

The NEA and other teachers around the U.S. continued to celebrate that day as Teacher’s Day for many years to come.

Eventually the National Parent Teacher Association declared the first full week of May as Teacher Appreciation Week in 1984.

Across the country, beloved teachers find cards, flowers, cookies on their desks throughout this week.


Did you know that education experts here at Educents include several former teachers?