Ask any adult to think back to their youth and remember who made a difference in their lives. Chances are strong that many people will list a teacher among their most influential adults. I still recall important teachers in my own life. My first grade teacher, Ms. Iva Forgie, and my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Maria Anderson, made a huge difference for me.
Across North Carolina, nearly 100,000 public school and public charter school teachers work with students from kindergarten through high school. These individuals have taken many steps to be qualified to be public school teachers. They have completed a bachelor’s degree, and nearly one-third of them have earned master’s degrees or higher. On top of their academic credentials, teachers pass specific professional standardized tests in order to qualify to receive a teaching license in North Carolina. Once in the classroom, teachers are evaluated regularly and have access to professional development to keep improving their practice in the classroom. Today’s successful teachers are knowledgeable, nimble, and always considering new approaches to meet student learning needs.
North Carolina recruits approximately 14,000 new teachers every year to keep our classrooms and schools fully staffed.
Why mention all of this now? May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week across the United States, which gives you about two weeks to prepare your appreciation efforts for the teachers who matter to you or to your children. Your appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to be meaningful and memorable. A handwritten note or card or flowers from your own yard are great ways to say thank you. Another way to say thank you is to support North Carolina’s teachers by letting your lawmakers know that you support improvements to North Carolina teacher pay to make our state competitive with our neighbor states. This is a small and meaningful way to show how much of a difference teachers made in your life and in the lives of today’s young people.