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Here's how you can support teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week

Teachers have dealt with a lot through the pandemic. This week, companies are looking to give back to them.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — May 2-6 is National Teacher Appreciation Week, with Teacher Appreciation Day falling on May 3. First lady, Eleanor Roosevelt pushed the 81st Congress to proclaim the first National Teacher Appreciation Day back in 1953. In the 1980s, the National Education Association (NEA) successfully pushed to designate the first Tuesday of the first full week in May to this day every year. 

While the day has been around for decades, the last two years have seen the need for teacher appreciation grow. The past couple of years have presented many challenges for teachers, but they have continued to show up every day and support children's learning and development.

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Larry Sprinkle stopped by River Oaks Academy on the westside of Charlotte Thursday to help celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. While there, he was able to drop off some gifts and chat with students and staff. 

The whole purpose was to show teachers how appreciated they are.  

Clayton Carter, a 10-year-old at the school, said that his teachers are “nice, kind and funny because they help you when you need help.” 

Clayton also knows that every day may not be a good day, but said his teachers “show you a lot of love and affection even though they’re not your parents.”

Credit: WCNC

Now more than ever, it's critical to support the nation's teachers and thank them for everything they do.  

"We want to make sure that every state is investing in our educators because we know that every student deserves a quality educator and support staff to support their learning and growth and development," Becky Pringle, the President of the National Education Association, said. 

RELATED: North Carolina education leaders consider switch to merit-based pay for teachers

This year, NEA, which is the country's largest professional union representing three-million educators, set up a hotline and asked teachers to tell them what appreciation looks like to them. 

"They talked to us about respecting them, treating them as a professional as they are respecting their professional authority and collective autonomy, paying them a professional salary, making sure we're investing in schools, so we can give our students what they need, and creating time to make that culture of learning instead of focusing on a culture of performing on tests," Pringle said. Adding "they need our help in making sure that we are fighting for all of those things, and so much more. So we need to listen to our educators and provide them with the support and the love and the appreciation they so need and deserve."

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During National Teacher Appreciation Week, students, parents and communities are asked to celebrate educators and share posts on social media using the hashtag #thankateacher.

On May 3, NEA, in partnership with the National PTA, is inviting all educators, parents, and supporters to a live Facebook panel, featuring Pringle, National PTA President Anna King, and actress Lisa Ann Walter. Check out nea.org/TAW for details on how you can join.

RELATED: SC high schoolers face reading challenges after underperforming on state tests

You can also text CELEBRATE to 48744 to leave a message of gratitude to educators. They will then get periodic texts throughout the week that remind them how special both they and the profession are. 

DEALS FOR TEACHERS

  • On May 3, Barnes & Noble Cafés has a free cup of tall freshly-brewed coffee or tea.
  • On May 3, participating Chick-Fil-A locations are offering a free chicken sandwich for lunch or dinner.
  • On May 3 at Sonic, teachers, faculty, and staff at K-12 schools can get a free cheeseburger with a purchase when they enroll in the Sonic Teachers' Circle program.
  • On May 3, Zaxby's has a buy one, get one boneless wings meal. 
  • From now through Friday, May 6, Buffalo Wild Wings has a 20% discount for teachers and school staff.
  • From now through Saturday, May 7, Staples has deals including a free school supply gift box and 20% back in classroom rewards.
  • At Office Depot and OfficeMax, teachers get 20% off qualifying purchases through June 25th.

WCNC Charlotte's Pierre Simmons contributed to this report. 

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