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Ideas and Activities

Celebrating California Day of the Teacher and CTA’s 150th Anniversary

Recognizing and celebrating the important roles and contributions of educators and CTA can take many forms. Keep in mind our theme this year about California’s educators: “Honoring our past. Guiding the future.” Below are some ideas to get you started in your community:

Ideas for Local Chapter

Your local association affiliate may consider the following items for action among the many ways to celebrate May 8 California Day of the Teacher:

  • Honor your local school, district or county Teacher of the Year at a rally. Tell the media.
  • Hold a celebration at a restaurant honoring educators with 5, 10, 15 years of service, etc.
  • Sponsor an essay contest on "A Teacher to Remember," where students write about the special teacher who's made the biggest impact on their life. On May 8 Teacher Day, award savings bonds to the students and plaques to the teachers commemorated.
  • Give each teacher a small gift from the chapter (perhaps a mug or notepad, or a bumper sticker with an appropriate slogan).
  • For each school library, buy books portraying teachers in a positive light. Inside each, place a bookplate noting that the book was a California Day of the Teacher gift from the Association.
  • Use Day of the Teacher as the occasion to say thank you to those in the community who have made teachers' jobs a little easier by volunteering, donating equipment or otherwise helping schools work. Invite them to the classroom or school for recognition.
Ideas for Social Media

Consider the following ideas for your Facebook Page to celebrate California Day of the Teacher and CTA’s 150th  anniversary.

  • Post one “Did You Know?” fact about CTA’s history each day during the week.
  • Have your president make a simple, short video with a smartphone thanking a teacher who was particularly inspirational. Share that on your page and ask your fans to create their own and share it with their Facebook friends. Another idea would be to have a senior teacher and a new teacher make a video together thanking the teachers who inspired them.
  • Update your Cover Image using any of three images specially-designed for the week (available on cta.org/teacherappreciation).
  • Help your followers show their appreciation for their teachers by sharing a #thankateacher image from CTA’s Facebook Page, encouraging them to do so as well.
  • Share CTA’s TV ad.
Ideas for the Community
  • Urge companies to run congratulatory messages about teachers on electronic signs outside banks or other businesses, or on billboards, banners or storefront signs.
  • Offer teachers discounts on purchases made on May 8, California Day of the Teacher.
  • Invite teachers to a before-school "coffee, juice and pastries" salute at a local grocery store or other business—or even in a school parking lot (think tailgate party!).
Ideas for School Volunteer Groups

Consider the following actions that may be taken up by a school volunteer organization:

  • Hang a sign on each classroom door saluting, by name, the teacher within.
  • Have National Honor Society, Student Council or other student groups furnish punch and cookies for the teacher's lounge on Teacher Day.
  • Give teachers candy, apples or other food gifts with appropriate notes attached (e.g., fortune cookies with a note about how fortunate the school is to have a teacher of such high caliber).
  • Provide balloon bouquets and flowers for every teachers' lounge.
Media Outreach

Consider the following to bring May 8 to the attention of the local media:

  • Invite a local newspaper reporter or editorial writer, or a local TV news personality, to spend a day as a guest teacher or classroom observer, and then to publish or air his or her observations on what being a teacher is really like today.
  • Suggest that local media outlets either publish or broadcast quick interviews where local citizens answer one question: What teacher had the greatest influence on your life? (Samples by CTA Board of Directors) This can also make a great topic for a call-in radio show on Teacher Day.  
  • Remind the community that teachers make a difference—in the classroom and beyond—by running an ad in the local newspaper on May 8 California Day of the Teacher, listing all the local organizations where teachers do volunteer work.  
150th Anniversary Ideas

  • CTA was founded in 1863 by John Swett, California’s fourth superintendent of public instruction, who crusaded to elevate the teaching profession and make all public schools free. You can help celebrate our union history by:
    • reminding the public in op-eds or letters to the editor to your local paper
    • holding news conferences or putting out a news release about  how CTA and its members are fighting for our students and for a better society. Here are a few examples:

      • Years in the making, CTA has created a framework for fair teacher evaluation that puts the emphasis on constructive reform, not punishment. Our framework centers on the underlying principle that the goal of any evaluation system is to strengthen the knowledge, skills and practices of teachers to improve student learning.
      • To help at-risk students, the CTA-sponsored Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) of 2006 is providing nearly $3 billion over eight years to hundreds of schools with lower-income students. They’re succeeding thanks to proven reforms mandated by QEIA, including smaller class sizes, more counselors and better teacher training. Hold an event at a QEIA school.
      • Our students and colleagues are more than a test score, and CTA is at the forefront of raising issues about the dangers of obsessing over standardized testing.
      • Celebrate the vital role of education support professionals in your district, and how their work matters and connects to the mission of providing our students with the quality education they deserve. ESP Day is May 21.
      • And remind your community about the local academic successes, and that, despite more than $20 billion in education cuts in recent years, our public schools are making significant progress 

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association