FAQs for Teachers on National Teacher Appreciation Day

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 07, 2019

For teachers, National Teachers Day, also known as National Teacher Appreciation Day, which happens on the first full Tuesday of May each year, can be a real treat -- that is if their students recognize them. Teachers who do and don't get recognized might have all sorts of legal questions as a result of the oddly timed holiday, and below you can read about some of the most common questions teachers might have.

Can Teachers Accept Gifts?

Generally, small gifts of nominal value, like an apple, or a greeting card, will rarely ever be a problem. However, public and private school teachers are sometimes prohibited from accepting gifts, or may be limited, or required to report any gifts to the school's administration.

Can Teachers Teach What They Want?

Despite teachers having quite a bit of latitude in how they conduct their classes, not many have much freedom to decide their curriculum. Additionally, public school teachers aren't generally allowed to use their classrooms to push political or religious ideals.

Can Teachers Be Themselves Outside of School?

For the most part, teachers can express themselves freely outside of school, and online, but should be careful if those activities would undermine their authority or credibility, or their school's authority. This can encompass a whole range of activity which would be covered by the First Amendment. However, as we all need reminding sometimes, the First Amendment doesn't prohibit consequences, it just stops the government from punishing/restricting certain speech. 

Can Teachers Teach in Any State?

If you weren't shown the love on Teacher Appreciation Day, you may be thinking about moving to a warm-weather state so at least you don't have to deal with winter anymore. Unfortunately, it might be a bit tricky if you plan on teaching in a public school. Most states require public school teachers to obtain licensing and/or certification from the state they plan to teach in. Some states may have grace periods for teachers certified in other states to be able to teach while concurrently working towards certification in that state. However, the programs and laws vary from state to state.

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