“What really makes a teacher is love … for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission.”
Almost everyone has a story about a teacher who inspired them. The one who made learning fun, ignited a passion, or pushed them to soar beyond expectations.
Those are the teachers we remember. Their legacies live on. See them reflected professional and personal achievements of everyone passing through their classrooms. And they can still inspire, long after the last class.
We honor Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 3-7, with some fun and interesting things.
Here is what we’ve learned about teachers and their dedication. After all, any good teacher will tell you, learning is a lifelong journey.
- There are more than 3 million teachers in the US.
Per federal stats, public schools have about 3.2 million full-time equal teachers. That sounds like a lot until you consider that there are about 51 million K-12 students to teach!
- The vast majority of teachers are women.
The fact that many teachers are women isn’t a surprise. The percentage might be larger than you think: It’s almost 77%. More than 54% of principals are women, too.
- They work more than you realize—and not only in the classroom.
We’re all envious of the summer vacations most teachers get. Did you know that according to surveys, teachers work an average of 50 hours a week? They might not have a summer vacation at all: About 30% of them have second jobs.
- When they’re not teaching, many teachers are taking classes of their own.
Almost 60% of teachers have a postgraduate degree. To advance their careers, extra education usually is required. And unlike training in the corporate world, teachers do this on their own time (and often on their own dime).
- They spend their own money in the classroom.
When teachers find supplies short, many of them (94%) dig into their own pockets. The average cost for teacher-funded supplies? About $500 every year. That’s not pocket change when considering teacher salaries average about $55,000.
- Often that support goes way beyond school supplies.
More than 65% of teachers in one survey said they had paid for food or covered field trip costs for students in need. And 33% have purchased coats, gloves, or other winter clothing for kids in their classes. It is clear they’re dedicated to more than education. They want to ensure the well-being of their students.
- The best gift isn’t a red apple.
Yes, appreciation brings to mind classic images of an apple on teacher desks. There are better ways to show your appreciation. Try a gift card for a coffee shop, or to an office supply store to help with their classroom expenses. Are you one of the 88% of people who say a teacher has had a significant positive impact on your life? Show your appreciation. The most meaningful thing of all might be a heartfelt note saying, “Thank you for doing what you do.”