Over the past few years, educators of all kinds have risen to many challenges, both new and old, while teaching and supporting students. Trust us, we see all your hard work and know how much you mean to your community. Even during tough times, teachers everywhere are lighting up minds and spreading knowledge.

To show your appreciation to a teacher in your — or your child’s — life, listen and share from our selection of stories from teachers of all backgrounds. Then, #ThankAnEducator by recording a memory using our self-directed tools. These expressions of gratitude (and funny classroom anecdotes!) will be archived in the Library of Congress.

Get Inspired by Listening to Their Stories

Here are some animations on the theme of — you guessed it — the impact educators can have.

“It was like I was seeing Mrs. Doyle and I was seeing my mother at the same time.”
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Dear Mrs. Doyle

John Cruitt speaks first with his former teacher, Cecile Doyle–and then her daughter, Allison– about how Cecile’s small act of kindness decades ago brought the three of them together.
Read the full transcript here.

I saw her write down ‘insubordinate.’
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Remembering The Mother of the Disability Rights Movement

Disability rights icon Judith E. Heumann speaks with her friend, April Coughlin, about her fight against the Board of Education to become a school teacher, after she was denied a license due to her quadriplegia.
Read the full transcript here.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, Dr. William Lynn Weaver was targeted and harassed by the faculty of his previously all-white high school. Then a former teacher stepped in and saved his life.
Read the full transcript here.

Making It

Noe Rueda tells his high school teacher Alex Fernandez about how as a child, he used his entrepreneurial talents to help his family make ends meet.
Read the full transcript here.

“You have to dream for that child.”
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A Teacher’s Perseverance

Eunice Wiley, one of the first Black teachers at a predominantly white Florida elementary school, persevered through an uphill battle and retired as a principal in 2005, and in a StoryCorps session with her friend and fellow teacher, Martha Bireda, remembered defining teaching experiences with her students.
Read the full transcript here.

“When we take out big chunks of history, that diminishment diminishes us.”
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Four Decades in the Classroom

Nelva Williamson’s mother was a teacher for 52 years and her father was a career military man. She reflects on her 42-year career and the importance of teaching ‘the whole history.’
Read the full transcript here.

"You were just doing what you felt you needed to do for us to be better people."
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From Teacher to Friend

Raymond Blanks had very few Black teachers when he was growing up in Newark, NJ. But the ones he did have, made a big impact on how he saw himself and what he believed he could be.
Read the full transcript here.

"You have this unique ability to — even in the darkest times — just tell people it's going to be okay."
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Teachers Supporting Teachers

Alexia Dukes was a first-year high school English teacher in Gary, Indiana when she met her colleague, and mentor, Maria Rivera. Alexia leaned on Maria’s guidance and support. Maria was drawn to Alexia’s energy and enthusiasm for a great first year. Neither of them anticipated the obstacles that laid ahead.
Read the full transcript here.

Thank An Educator by Recording a Memory

StoryCorps wants to spark a moment of gratitude for the educators who have been working tirelessly to support and teach their students of all ages and needs. #ThankAnEducator using StoryCorps Connect, our remote interview platform. StoryCorps Connect interviews allow you to have meaningful conversations and preserve them at the Library of Congress through video conference technology. You can learn more and get the conversation started today at storycorps.org/thankaneducator.

Explore a Collection of Interviews from the 2021 State Teachers of the Year

Notes about CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program: The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)’s National Teacher of the Year Program is the most prestigious teacher recognition program in the country. These exemplary educators used StoryCorps Connect to reflect on the year, share wisdom, reconnect with the teachers who shaped them, and show a lot of gratitude for the work educators across the country do day in and day out.

Kim Stock and Chris Stock

Kim Stock, the 2021 Delaware Teacher of the Year, and her older brother talk about what it means to be a highly effective teacher… and learn about each other in the process

John Arthur and Kathy Anderson

John Arthur, the 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year and one of four National Teacher of the Year Finalists, talks with his 9th grade English teacher, Kathy Anderson, about her career in the classroom and how she inspired him to become a teacher.

Jennifer Wolfe and Audrey Miller

Jennifer Wolfe, the 2021 New York Teacher of the Year, interviews Audrey Miller, who teaches Digital Technology and Communications at Oceanside High School. Together they talk about teaching, why they love it, why kids need teachers especially now in the era of COVID sequester, and what it takes to be an effective teacher for kids today.

Alisa Cooper de Uribe and Mary Trinidad Uribe Tolar

Mary Trinidad Uribe Tolar talks with talks with her sister-in-law, Alisa Cooper de Uribe about her teaching career in New Mexico. Mary shares how her experience as a student in the Mexico City area inspired her to foster students’ love for learning in classrooms that ranged from kindergarten to the university level. Alisa shares how Mary’s encouragement and foresight laid the foundation for her own work in education, which includes being named the 2021 New Mexico Teacher of the Year.

Donnie Piercey and Jeff Heil

Donnie Piercey, the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, listens to his friend Jeff Heil reflect on his 25 year career teaching students in a homeless shelter in San Diego.

Analyn Palugod and Marites Del Castillo Garcia

Analyn Palugod, 2021 Guam Teacher of the Year, reconnects with her favorite and former third grade teacher Marites Garcia.

Lachanda Garrison and Joshua Garrison

2021 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year Lachanda Garrison interviews fellow educator and husband Dr. Joshua Garrison for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Kristi Borge and Linda Marsh

Kristi Borge, the 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year and a multi-grade teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in southwest Montana, visits with her supervisor and mentor Linda Marsh, who is the Beaverhead County Superintendent of schools.

Lori Miki Kwee and Jen Moku

2021 Hawaii Teacher of the Year Lori Miki Kwee has a conversation with Jennifer Moku, who she describes as a school librarian, colleague, and good friend. Their conversation spans many topics, including gratitude and inspiration.

Ashley Adamson and Victoria Travis

Ashley Adamson, the 2021 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, speaks with her co-teacher, Victoria Travis, about their shared co-teaching experience, their early teaching inspirations, and so much more.