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The importance of saying 'thank you'

Published: Oct 4, 2021 3 min read


It’s my fervent belief that teachers and technicians do not get enough credit for the many ways they inspire generations of young people – which is why awareness events like National Thank A Teacher Day and UNESCO World Teachers’ Day are so important.

National Thank A Teacher Day is run by The Teaching Awards Trust which was established in 1998. Their aim is to celebrate and recognise excellence in education, raise the profile of the teaching profession, highlight the positive impact teachers and school leaders have in our society and show teachers how much they are valued.

Some may argue that we shouldn’t need a special ‘day’ to remind people of the commitment, skill and dedication of STEM educators, particularly after a uniquely challenging 18 months - and they do have a point. However, these events are extremely useful tools to harness and publicise gratitude. They encourage and remind children, parents, colleagues, employers and people from outside the education sector to say a very public ‘thank you’ online, across social media – and now in person too.

On National Thank A Teacher Day, inspired by the ‘Thank You NHS’ messages which were so unforgettable in the spring and summer of 2020, colleagues from across STEM Learning came together to create personal, homemade messages of thanks which we posted across our social media channels. These became some of our most popular posts of the year, clearly demonstrating that this warm sentiment really captures people’s imagination – and leads them to engage with it and share it with their friends.

No matter how long ago your school days were, everyone can remember at least one teacher who made an enduring impact on their lives. My self-confidence was boosted by the faith shown in me by theatre studies teacher Mr Critchlow, who encouraged me to follow my early interest in this subject by writing and performing to small audiences. Mr Cooper deftly combined informal discussions about the fortunes of his football team with barely credible yet fascinating tales of horror and heroism from the Second World War during history lessons. Mrs Long used brief quotes from Shakespeare to inspire and engage us in English language, bringing these characters to life – and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I went on to study all three of these subjects at A level.

Normally, at this point in a blog focusing on awareness days, I’d suggest a timely link to the days themselves – and this does apply here, with UNESCO World Teachers’ Day coming up on 5 October. But surely there’s no reason not to ask children what they enjoy about you and your colleagues’ lessons throughout the year, and share these thoughts with colleagues in person and on STEM Community? After an enormously tough 18 months, a little ‘thank you’ goes a very long way.

Join the discussion on STEM Community here.