PiXL reflect on Thank a Teacher Day 2021! 5 Jul 2021

PiXL is an organisation that believes in the power of teachers and school leaders to bring about a better future and brighter hope for young people.  We work with thousands of schools across the UK and we see first-hand the difference educators make to young people.  Up and down the land, there are school staff who are dedicated to the highest good of their community and their students and that has never been more needed than in a global pandemic where schools have found themselves at the heart of managing a global crisis.

In my experience, teachers don’t do this job for the thanks or praise or recognition but perhaps that is why it is so important to say thank you. Each of us will have been influenced by a teacher at some point in our lives; that person who believed in us when we didn’t, who celebrated what we achieved when our confidence was low and that person who saw potential in us, sometimes before we ever saw it in ourselves.  Teachers and school staff are part of each of our stories, significant figures in our formative years. So often young people leave school and it is only years later that they return and express their thanks to the teacher who made a difference in their lives. These stories are important and the ‘thank you’ is a necessary boost to a profession who are not thanked often enough.

That is why Thank A Teacher Day is so important; time is carved out deliberately to say thank you, to show gratitude, to encourage and to remind our teachers, past and present, the difference they have made to our lives then and the impact it still has now. When you are in the middle of a job that is for ever changing, these moments of encouragement matter. I saw it myself last week when I visited Hudson Road Primary School to announce they had won a Silver Pearson National Teaching Award for Making a Difference – Primary School of the Year. As sponsors of both Thank a Teacher Day and the two Making a Difference -School of the Year Awards, it was an honour to be involved in the celebrations. They are a school that has had to deal with so many challenges but has consistently fought for the higher good of the children they serve. Through reaching out into the community and offering help, support, understanding, empathy and genuine care, they have not only transformed the school and the community, they have changed the lives of their students forever. At the awards ceremony I met two such people, former students who now serve as governors and send their own children to the same school. They are proud of their story and of the teachers who helped shaped it.

On this Thank a Teacher Day, so far 35,000 cards have been sent to say thank you. That is 35,000 teachers who have had a much needed boost and 35,000 people who have cared enough to send one. What a wonderful thing for our society right now – to know that there is kindness, gratitude and encouragement, despite a global pandemic and the uncertainty it brings.

If you’d like to get involved in the Thank a Teacher campaign you can send a card here. You can also register your interest for the 2022 Pearson National Teaching Awards and you’ll be told as soon as entries reopen.

Written by Rachel Johnson, CEO at PiXL.