National Teacher Day is a time for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. National Teacher Day is always the Tuesday of the first full week of May, so the actual date varies from year to year. For 2016, National Teacher Day will be celebrated May 3. (By the way, that entire week, May 2-6, is designated Teacher Appreciation Week by the National PTA.)
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Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodbridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.
NEA along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) local lobbied Congress to create a national day celebrating teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day for that year only.
NEA and its affiliates continued to observe Teacher Day on the first Tuesday in March until 1985, when NEA and the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May. The NEA Representative Assembly then voted to make the Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day.