Teachers are very important in school systems all over the world. They make a difference in the lives of the students they teach. They are very passionate about what they do. They show it by teaching more than information found on the pages of a book. Teachers also encourage and inspire students to become better people.

The day

National Teacher Appreciation Day comes within National Teacher Appreciation Week. It is celebrated on Tuesday, May 8. It all began in 1944 when the Arkansas native Mattye Whyte Woodridge thought it would be a great idea to have a special day to honor teachers.

She campaigned for that to happen by writing to politicians and school officials.

Things began to happen after Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt who was the First Lady of the United States at the time. Roosevelt was the one to convince Congress to agree with Woodridge that a day should be designated for teachers. Congress proclaimed the first National Teacher Day in 1953.

The week

Because of the efforts of Mattye Whyte Woodridge and Eleanor Roosevelt, the day was extended to be celebrated the first full week in May.

This year, it is from May 7 through May 11 and is sponsored by the National Education Association. During that entire week, teachers nationwide are celebrated, honored and shown appreciation from students, parents, and education officials.

Ways to honor teachers

Teachers love what they do, but they do need to know they are appreciated.

Usually, the principal takes them out to lunch. They receive gifts from the staff, parents, and students. They also get a lot of cards with encouraging words.

Hosts of some daytime talk shows fill their television audience with teachers on their special day and give them valuable presents. Restaurants offer freebies for teachers during the week.

Check your favorite restaurant in your area. More than likely, it will be on the list to give free lunches or dinners to teachers with their proper identification. Examples include well-known restaurants such as Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Cici's Pizza, and Applebee's. Most of the offers are for Tuesday, May 8, but some of them are available all week.

Those of you who plan to recognize a teacher, you can do it on Teacher Appreciation Day or any other day during the week. Let your teachers or your child's teachers know that you appreciate the contribution they are making in the lives of their students.