“California Educators: At the Heart of Communities, Powering Our Future,” is the Theme of 40th Annual California Day of the Teacher

BURLINGAME – Tomorrow, May 11 marks the 40th annual celebration of the California Day of the Teacher, a day in which Californians pay tribute to the daily contributions and excellence of educators.

In conjunction with the day, the California Teachers Association has produced a series of television, radio and Internet ads that highlight the role teachers play inspiring students, strengthening communities and creating a brighter future for students. The ads, in English and Spanish, will run statewide throughout the month and include appearances from parents like Terrence who say, “When I think of my daughter’s teachers, that’s about as close to a superhero as you can be.” A parent named Rosy says, “My son’s first grade teacher really made a difference. He went above and beyond.”

“Today in California, we pay tribute to educators in our public schools and community colleges who have nurtured, empowered and inspired our students through challenges we once never could have imagined,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd, a kindergarten educator. “They pour their hearts and souls into their work. Two years into this pandemic, we have renewed appreciation for the crucial role that educators play in our society and in the lives of our students. Let’s recognize them not just this day, not just this month, but every day, in ways that show we truly honor and value their essential contributions to our state and society.”

California Day of the Teacher is modelled after the “El Dia del Maestro,” which is observed in Mexico and Latin American countries. California Day of the Teacher arose out of legislation co-sponsored by CTA and the Association of Mexican American Educators in 1982. Since then, a day in May is set aside every year to honor instructional excellence in public schools, community colleges and universities. See this year’s California Day of the Teacher poster, social media, and other resources here.

California Day of the Teacher continues the monthlong celebration that began with National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Appreciation Day earlier this month. May also includes days to honor school nurses and Education Support Professionals (ESPs). In May and beyond, these educators are being recognized for being at the heart of communities, powering our future.

On May 11, California also celebrates National School Nurse Day. Nurses like Stephanie Yellin-Mednick at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in Tarzana help keep students healthy and safe, and their presence has been especially essential as the impacts of COVID continue.

On May 18, we also celebrate CTA ESP Day. ESPs make up one-third of the entire education workforce, and California’s schools could not run without them. ESPs like Mary Ambriz of Mariposa Elementary School in Redlands are deeply committed to their students and essential to the day-to-day work in schools. This is part of ESP Week, May 15-21, which is recognized by the state as Classified School Employee Week.

“May is an opportunity to recognize the powerful contributions of all educators in the lives of our students and in our broader community,” said Boyd. “To our educators, school nurses and ESPs, we say, thank you for everything that you do and thank you for believing in our students so they can believe in themselves.”


The 310,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.