Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to you!




To All Our Amazing Teachers, Instructors, and Educators Across the Globe, Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to You! 

Every year, Instructure dedicates a week to thanking you for the dedication, passion, and energy you extol in physical and virtual classrooms around the world. I believe we should celebrate and support you every day as you are shaping the hearts and minds of many current and future generations. I hope we can make this a bit more special for you this week.

Our wonderful Learning Services Team created two new home page templates teachers can use in their Canvas courses. These free resources are a colorful and welcoming way of celebrating the impact you have on students.

Over my years at Instructure, I have shared many personal and professional moments where the teachers around me have impacted my ability to successfully contribute to my communities. I also love hearing the stories you share with similar impactful experiences. 

I thought this year, perhaps I would share a collection of highlights from the podcast I host with Ryan Lufkin during which we ask our guests to share their favorite “learning moments.” These quotes encapsulate how much you are valued and loved for your work as educators.

“I had a wonderful AP psychology teacher. Her name was Miss Faye Johnson. I think she is now retired from Montgomery County Public Schools, but she was incredible. Her passion just really shined through every day. And I think it made us all very curious and very interested in psychology. She helped make concepts that would be otherwise inaccessible accessible. She talked a lot about biological psychology and broke some of those concepts down into ways that we as high schoolers could easily understand and kind of apply and think about in our local settings. I was particularly excited by her work and excited by the way that she kind of presented things to us and made things accessible. And that's ultimately why I pursued psychology.”

“When I was in graduate school, I had the pleasure of working as a teacher assistant for Dr. Jason Osborne in educational psychology. And really, he introduced me to the concept of mastery learning. Which I hadn't really experienced firsthand as a learner myself until then. I was really impressed with his ability to kind of flip the script and education and treat tests actually as an opportunity for mastery, which I thought was incredible. Students could take a test multiple times. I think that was up to four times to really show that they had mastered the content. I had another graduate school instructor, Dr. Rupert Nick Cost. He was a social psychology instructor at NC State. He also challenged me in ways that I had never encountered before, even through all of my K -12 and undergraduate career, but he gave me repeated opportunities to show mastery. And when I fell short, quite honestly, and up until that time working with them, the way I'd experienced education was really through this fixed mindset lens.”

“Yes, so I love instructional design and pedagogy just as a nerd, and I've done it at the corporate level and I read. And one of my favorite examples came in eighth grade algebra, right? That's the year all the smarty pants kids have to take it. And West Duluth, Minnesota. And our teacher was Mr. Milroy, who also happened to own a bar in Superior. He let us know repeatedly. And on the first day of class, he said, Welcome to algebra, young men and women. You are going to go on the beginning of what I hope is a long and fascinating journey with the beauty of mathematics. However, since I know half of you are boys, I'm going to give you two ways to get an A in my class. Do the work and get the A, or I will let you cheat by writing, Mr. Milroy, I deserve an A in this class one million times. And he said, so how many, this is the first day of algebra. Maybe we haven't had algebra yet. And he says, how many of you would like to do the work? And of course, two nerds and all the girls' hands go up for like, we'll do the work. And all the kids already playing D&D in the back of the room on graph paper in their football jerseys say, I'll do the cheat. And he says, okay, well, here's what we're gonna do. Get out a piece of paper, it's got 30 lines on it. And I want you to, I'm gonna stopwatch Andy. And we're gonna write, I would like to get an A in Mr. Milroy's eighth grade algebra class 30 times and see how long that takes. And he basically walks us through the algebra problem to recognize, it would be way easier to just do the work in the class. And he says, and boys especially, this is the beauty of mathematics. Welcome to eighth grade algebra. Such a great combination of personal motivation and pedagogy that I will never forget it till I die."

“My first semester of college I had Sociology 101 from an amazing professor named Charles “Chuck” Hunt. He was famous for his Columbus Day lecture in which he broke down the mythos that had been constructed around Christopher Columbus and shed light on his “discovery” of the Americas and the impact of his voyages on the native Taino people of the caribbean. As a lover of history I was stunned by these revelations and their omission from the narrative I had been taught up to this point. It fundamentally changed how I viewed history and historical figures, understanding that historical narratives often focus on a single, cleansed perspective. Our tendency as a culture to deify historical figures and overlook some of the more unsavory aspects of people and events that might make us see them as less than perfect, when in fact understanding their flaws in addition to their strengths often makes them more approachable and understandable. To this day I try to see situations from as many perspectives as possible and try to look beyond the popular narrative of world events. I credit Chuck, as he encouraged us to call him, with instilling in me a skepticism and thirst for truth, and the empathy that often brings, that has stayed with me throughout my life."

“I can remember where I first truly started to love learning, Ms. Clark's High School class. This was my first and favorite learning experience because she cared deeply about every student understanding the material. If someone struggled, she didn't hesitate to pause the class and offer personalized help, never making them feel embarrassed. Instead, she approached them with empathy and patience. She found creative ways to make tough concepts easier to grasp. Her dedication to our success made me start to love learning.” 

“I think a lot about some moments in my own elementary, middle middle school career, where I really felt like I got differentiated instruction and I didn't know that that was what it was at the time. But now looking back, I remember that a fifth grade teacher who challenged me to do this whole research project that nobody else in the class is doing, but I was bored. And she saw that and she let me kind of do this entire research project and she met me where I was with the challenge that I needed in that specific assignment. And I really think back on that as that's one of those moments that she did what she could do, and these weren't digital environments back then. You know, she did what she could do to challenge me and meet you where I was, and that inspires me to continue to help edtech products and institutions to provide environments where students can have that, you know, individual sense of learning and where instructors can actually meet them where they are.”

The best part of those examples is that this is only the beginning of the impact you, as educators, have made in each of our lives. I ask each of you reading this to think about those positive learning moments that have shaped the way you approach your life. 


2024_5_Teacher_Appreciation_Week_Zoom_Backgrounds-03.jpgWhat positive impact has an educator had on your life? How are you a different human because of that impact?

If you can, reach out to that teacher or educator and share your memories with them; I bet they may not even know the impact they have made. If you cannot connect with them, post to social media or leave a comment here to thank them for their incredible, inspiring work. By sharing your experiences, we can continue to lift up together our gratitude for the work educators do every day in every corner of our world.

Let’s exponentially pay impactful teaching and learning forward!


Keep Inspiring,