It’s Teacher Appreciation Week—time to #ThankATeacher

African American woman working on laptop

If there’s ever been a year when teachers deserve admiration and gratefulness, it’s this one! That’s what the theme of Teacher Appreciation Week this year (May 3-7, 2021) is #ThankATeacher.

The past year has probably changed the worklife of every single teacher in the United States. As the Washington Post recently noted, the pandemic and the closing of schools, or shifting to online or hybrid schedules has changed everything about instruction, attendance, testing, funding, the role of technology and the human connections that hold it all together.

So how have teachers’ roles changed this past year?

Let’s take a look at the top workplace skills of teachers, according the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET taxonomy:

  • Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Learning Strategies: electing and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

While most teachers used to go through years of training to put those skills to work in one environment or another (think classroom, or online), the sudden closing of schools last spring meant that overnight teacher’s had to adapt their current teaching methods and styles to suit their new virtual reality. Teachers of all grades had to re-do their entire curriculum. Most had to learn new online technologies—and, much harder, had to get their students up to speed with hardware and software and skills needed to participate in virtual classes.

How can you or your organization #ThankATeacher?

Visit the National PTA’s Teacher Appreciation Week Toolkit to download and print thank-you cards, stickers, certificates, and flyers.

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