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Teacher Appreciation Week

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This week, May 4-10, 2003, is Teacher Appreciation Week in America. May 6 is National Teacher Day. Organizations across the country are urging students and their parents to give teachers a pat on the back.

The idea for a national recognition of teachers goes back to 1944, when a woman named Mattye Whyte Woodridge was writing to political and education leaders. One of the people she wrote to was Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady. Through the efforts of these two women, Congress declared a National Teacher Day in 1953.

This was just one day, however. It took until 1970 for others to convince to again recognize teachers. March 8 of that year was declared National Teacher Day.

Again, it was for one day only. The National Education Association, however, continued to celebrate the first Tuesday in March as National Teacher Day. In 1985, the NEA and the National PTA announced the creation of Teacher Appreciation Week, for the first full week in May, with the Tuesday of that week being National Teacher Day.

This year, Wal-Mart will give away $3.4 million in one day, to hundreds of recipients of the Teacher of the Year award. Teachers at schools across the country will be given the award, which also includes a $1,000 grant to the school. State winners also get a $5,000 grant for their school. And, one teacher will be named National Teacher of Year, which will bring that teacher's school an extra $10,000.

Other organizations have similar plans to recognize teachers and educators.

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