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Appreciating teachers and nurses
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We are coming to the end of Teacher Appreciation Week and we’re in the middle of National Nurses Week, which runs May 6-12 instead of following a Monday through Friday schedule. It concludes on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Wednesday was also National Nurses Day and National School Nurse Day.

National “day” “week” and “month” observances are often intended to celebrate and sometimes to educate and raise awareness. In the case of teachers, the Parent Teacher Association notes that teachers change the lives of millions of children every day. “It’s in these challenging times that we truly recognize and appreciate how our nation’s educators play such a pivotal role in our children’s lives — inspiring a lifelong love of learning and discovery and making a difference in their well-being and long-term success.”

Famous teachers in history go back at least as far as Aristotle. In this country, William McGuffey’s “readers” have sold more than 120 copies. In the 20th Century, California public school teacher Jaime Escalante became the subject of the book “Best Teacher in America” and the motion picture “Stand and Deliver.” Among other things, he concentrated on challenging his students with more rigorous coursework rather than “passing them through.”

Nurses can be teachers, too.

Florence Nightingale is an apt choice for recognizing the nursing profession, which was considered work for the lowest classes but became a profession that required training and coursework. She did extensive studies, using statistics to prove that her theories of patient care worked. One of her most important contributions was to stress better hygiene at hospitals in the 1800s.

This year, the American Nurses Association expanded the National Nurses Week to a month-long celebration to further recognize the critical work that nurses do.

There is no end to the individuals in our lives who deserve appreciation, but teachers and nurses are singled out this week and both groups are certainly worthy of praise.