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The power of a thank you

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Inspiring teachers

Like all key workers, this year teachers deserve a special thank you. Today, on national Thank a Teacher Day, Natasha Taylor, science teacher at Bolder Academy and David Lowbridge-Ellis, Deputy Head at Barr Beacon School, share what it feels like to be thanked as a teacher.


The best part of being a teacher is being in the classroom. I've always said this and it sounds obvious but it's become even more apparent since we’ve not been spending much time in the physical classroom.

Even if you're the deputy head with only three or four classes on their timetable, like me, those times are the highlights of the week. But teachers don’t just have an impact in their classrooms. I was reminded of this a few days after school closed to most of our children in March when I received a surprise thank you card through the Thank a Teacher campaign from a student who I hadn’t even had the pleasure of teaching!

They wanted to thank me for encouraging their year group in assemblies, keeping them motivated and encouraging them to be themselves, whatever other people might think.

I know we’re fond of saying that ‘every lesson shapes a life’ but the same is true of every assembly, every conversation at the end of a lesson or in a corridor. Sometimes a smile in the playground changes a child’s mood for the rest of the day. The smallest things can make a huge difference to the lives of children we work with.

Even though we see ourselves as teachers of subjects, we teach children a lot more than just English, maths or any other subject. We shape their outlooks with everything we say and do. That’s why Thank A Teacher cards are so important – they let people recognise those small moments that have helped shape someone’s life.

So on Thank a Teacher Day, I want to say thank you to that particular student (they know who they are!) for this special reminder and for making me proud to be a teacher. And thank you to all the teachers and people working in education. Even if you aren’t aware of the differences you make – big or small – you do make them, every single day.

Watch David's thank you message on YouTube.


Teaching is like no other job. Every day you have a new opportunity to make a positive impact on a young person’s life. The best part of my job is interacting with my students. I feel privileged to watch a young person develop as they grow more confident, more knowledgeable and create a bolder future for themselves.

Towards the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, I received a thank you card from a student in my tutor group which was sent to me through the Thank a Teacher campaign. The message was a complete surprise! It was a totally unexpected, personal and beautifully written thank you, which made me smile during these challenging times:

“I would like to thank you for encouraging and motivating me. Your smile comforts everyone and positive vibes can be seen as you assist everyone. I have become more confident in life and all the credit goes to you as you are determined to make everyone successful and make everyone believe that they can accomplish their goals.”

In the spirit of Thank a Teacher Day, I would also like to thank these three people for inspiring my career so far:

  • Thank you Gemma Edgcombe for providing valuable guidance and support during my training year on the Teach First programme. Your optimism and direction during that crazy time allowed me to build confidence, learn quickly and become a research led, reflective practitioner.
  • Thank you Jane McCluskey for being the most incredible lab technician and confidant during my formative years of teaching. Your top tips on original practical ideas will never be forgotten and I miss your guidance every day!
  • Thank you Jonny Hurn for being such a fantastic colleague and science lead. Your efficiency, infectious enthusiasm for teaching and invaluable support when needed is second to none. I am so proud of what we have achieved this year and I am really excited for the future to see how our science department will grow.
  • Every thank you is a powerful reminder of the hard work teachers put in to make sure children achieve their best, especially during these times. So join me today as we say “thank you teachers”.


How will you say thank you?  

Send a free thank you card to a teacher, like Natasha or David, to show your appreciation. Or share your messages of thanks, as creatively as you want, using #ThankaTeacher and #HowWillYouSayThankYou.

Thank a Teacher Day

Today, 20th May 2020, is national Thank a Teacher Day.

The Department for Education is working in partnership with the Teaching Awards Trust who lead the Thank a Teacher campaign.

We’re celebrating the teachers, senior leaders, support staff and all those working in education settings who are making a difference to their schools and communities during these unprecedented times.

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