Join Secretary Duncan in Thanking a Teacher on National Teacher Appreciation Day

In the video below, Secretary Duncan explains that today, May 3, “is a special day to give teachers the appreciation that they deserve every day,” and he asks all of us to join him in thanking a teacher on our own Facebook page.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Posting a simple “thank you” and the name of a teacher who has inspired you is just one small way to appreciate such important individuals, but it isn’t limited to only Facebook.  If you are a regular on Twitter, give a shout-out to your favorite teacher by using the hashtag #thankateacher, or feel free to thank teachers wherever you frequent online.  Some of us may be more comfortable picking up the phone or writing a quick note to a truly influential teacher, yet no matter your method of communication, we can all reach out and provide a heartfelt “thank you.” After all, if you can read this blog post, you have a teacher to thank.

Publicly recognizing great teachers is an easy way to show appreciation, but there are, of course, more enduring ways to elevate the teaching profession to its rightful place in our society.  We at the Department of Education know that support for teachers should be continuous, which is why one of ED’s top priorities is to continue strengthening the teaching profession. In an open letter to teachers yesterday, Arne said that he considers teaching “an honorable and important profession, and it is my goal to see that you are treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society.” It’s about time we recognize teachers for what they truly are: the nation-builders of the 21st century.

Read more about Arne’s favorite teacher Mrs. McCampbell, and more about other ED events during Teacher Appreciation Week.


  1. Thanks for the kind words, but actions would mean so much more. As a teacher in a struggling school, I can assure you that my colleagues and I are working ten times harder than the teachers at a high achieving school nearby. We have a very different population that requires much more work to get them to achieve at grade level on tests. Other schools have students show up at the beginning of the year, meeting or exceeding the standards for their grade level. But Pres. Obama’s Race to the Top initiative encourages states to judge teachers on test scores. These measures suggest that I am not doing my job, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ask teachers in struggling schools what supports they believe are needed to help students achieve and you will find hear many innovative ideas. The problem is that no one is asking us! You can start by requiring that all federal funds be sent directly to schools to be used on additional resources and teachers for struggling students rather than creating new central office administrative positions that have to contact with students. I love that I’m appreciated, but now I would like to be heard! Ask a teacher!

  2. Mr. Duncan,

    We’re told to appreciate teachers, and in the next breath told that teachers are the cause of most of our educational woes. Which is it?

    Others have said it before, but education is like a three-legged stool. It depends upon the teachers, the students, and the parents to stand. Unfortunately, current policies are only focusing on 1/3 of the equation, and are thus at best an incomplete solution.

  3. Mr Duncan,

    Thank you for putting your children in Arlington public schools. Those of us who live in Arlington and pay taxes here are proud of our outstanding schools. South Arlington schools sometimes are disparaged when compared to north Arlington schools when using test scores as the sole basis of comparison. High test scores do not mean students ares smarter nor does it guarantee them success in the real world. The real world requires people skills, especially the ability to communicate effectively with persons from many different backgrounds. Our schools in south Arlington are more diverse in race, nationality and income. Some of our students come to school without knowing a word in English other than hello. Randolph Elementary is an example of this diversity, with 41 countries and 29 languages represented. We are a Title 1 school and our teachers work tirelessly to help our students succeed in school, and become citizens of the world. It is so gratifying to have you recognize south Arlington schools and what makes them so special. Many of our parents work two jobs to support their family and many of our students at Randolph do not have computers at home. Our teachers work long hours to provide opportunities that some of our children would not have otherwise. Visiting Wakefield High School was also a huge honor because of its diversity, which reflects the America we live in today. Our public schools are graduating successful students and our teachers and our administrators are a very big part of that success. Thank you for your thoughtful gesture in choosing Randolph and Wakefield. Welcome to Arlington!

  4. Mr. Secretary:

    Please continue your efforts to appreciate, to respect, and to listen to us teachers.

    But please do not limit your efforts to leaders of our professional organizations. Rather, visit and talk with us in small groups.

    And publicize your efforts.

    Please remember that substantial, lasting reform of our educational system cannot occur without the active support of those who work hard in our classrooms everyday.

  5. I would like to thank my sister, Miss Bartges, at Oley Valley Middle School for all of her hard work as a first-year teacher. The high expectations she sets for her students, and her passion for sharing History make her a truly outstanding teacher!

  6. My mother was my first teacher. Thanks to her I knew how to read and write before I entered First Grade. Professional teachers taught me to hate school.
    Fortunately, thanks to my mom, I had an on-going love affair with libraries.

    • I have a really hard time believing that in your entire school experience you never once had a good or event decent teacher. I cannot imagine any community in which every teacher approaches the classroom in such a way that it causes you to hate school.

  7. In this occasion I would like to thank all my instructors from Lansdale School of Business, no matter I say or do, I will never be ble o express my gratitude enough for the support, love and knowledge they provide us!!

    Love you all

  8. Mr Duncan,
    First off, let me state that I find it abhorrent in your previous articles that the first comments made are attacks on you for your stance on education/experience/ability.

    That being said, though, I do find it interesting that you pay lip service to teachers, while the national stance remains the same. Reformatting a broken system still leads to a broken system. The status quo is failing; to use your own proof against you, look at a majority of the test scores on the state report cards. Look closely though, at the long-term trends.

    If you wish to find a great school, you have to look at an experimental school, a highly affluent school, or a for-profit institution. This is embarrassing. We were the greatest nation in the world, but now we cannot even teach our first graders addition (according to your measures).

    I understand that you, Mr. Duncan, will probably never read this comment, or even grace this page with your presence. But still, sir, I challenge you. We know what children need. We are just too politically correct to say it:

    Our students need community support – they have to be proud of where they come from, and they have to feel safe and secure there. The major benefit of a rural education is that your parents know that no matter who you are talking to, you will be safe. Communities in highly urban/high poverty areas are failing our students. Fixing this problem requires the cooperation of political leaders, justice administration as well as social services. Don’t ask me how to do it, I don’t know (but then again, I’m not the secretary of education).

    Our parents need to be involved. Maybe, just maybe, parents need to take some responsibility for their kids’ actions. Say that a student is being disruptive, and is removed from the classroom, or otherwise punished (within reason). Why would the parent take the word of a child over the word of trained professionals? And this is the case only for parents that are —involved— in their students’ academic careers. What do we do with the parents who have children, and are too busy, too ignorant, or just flat out too lazy to deal with the kids? When do we say, enough is enough? Parents, take responsibility for your own actions, as well as the actions of your children.

    Students need to be actively involved in their own education. Parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders can make all of the decisions they want, based on “what is best for the students”, but receive no support if the students flat out don’t care. Why are we, as a country, willing to spend so much money and time, if the students just don’t care? When did the culture of entitlement become the status quo?

    Teachers need to be more willing to work with outside agencies. The teachers that I see are very willing to work with each other, but if an agency comes in that is, dare I say, for profit, they shut down. They need to be willing to embrace what our students do, and where our students are. So we may have to “dumb down” the curriculum to incorporate current media and popular society trends. So what? If the students learn a math lesson using Ke$ha or Justin Bieber, who is harmed?

    Administrators need to be willing to hear the teachers, students and parents on an equal playing field. Being terrified of a lawsuit is no way to go through life. If we actively avoid any lawsuit, we might as well shut down all schools now. If we, instead, take chances and step on a few toes, maybe our kids can benefit. If we decide, as a whole, to throw away big box reform, and allow teachers autonomy, maybe the kids will benefit.

    Mr. Duncan – In other words, what are you doing? What are you really doing to help education in this country, and where is the proof of that effort? Why are you touting the merits of the teaching profession, without taking REAL steps to ensure that it is a respected and honored profession? I understand that this cannot be done overnight, but the first step is still the first step.

    So what are you doing?

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