Well, it is now. Why not? Why not be bold? I tried googling “How do you start a national month for something” without any result. This leads me to believe that the only way to declare a national month of recognition that has never been declared before is just to do it. So, I’m doing.
Welcome to National Teaching Artist Month!
Now first, I should say that I actually didn’t come up with May randomly. There are 3 significant factors that have lead me to this bold declaration.
- May 1 is International Workers’ Right Day – As we teaching artists come together to strengthen our profession, command consistent and fair wages, and generally figure out how we can earn a decent living doing this amazing work in the world, it is crucial that we understand our place in the history of the labor movement. Unions have been protecting the rights of artists for decades and we must continue to stand with other workers in the struggles for immigrant rights, fair labor policies, and other policies that will help us close the mind-blowing income gap between the rich and the poor in this country.Here in the Bay Area, there will be a May Day march in Oakland tomorrow afternoon, if you are up for a demonstration. If that doesn’t float your boat, join us at TAG for a Workers Happy Hour at 6pm at Tradition in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. If you wanna know more about why I think hanging at the bar and fighting for workers rights are so important, click here.
- May 6 is National Teacher Day – Our sisters and brothers who work day in and day out teaching children and youth in our public schools are arguably our strongest allies as we work towards the professionalization of our field. Let’s face it: the stronger and more valued our schools are, more more opportunities for artists to work in the schools.The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. They lobbied congress to create a national day of celebration for teachers and this day has been on the books since 1980. As teaching artists, let’s support our teachers! Go to their Facebook page for more info and more images like the one above. Make sure to share your gratitudes with the teachers you work with. And participate in the national conversation via social media on Tuesday using #ThankATeacher.
- Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) declared the 3rd week of May National Teaching Artists Appreciation Week – We are so grateful to the work of ATA who has been supporting all of us in this work since the late 90’s. When you google “teaching artists,” they are the first org to pop up and many of us got our intro to this field by stumbling upon their rich yahoo group or Facebook page, both packed with information we all need. In 2012, the folks at ATA decided that there should be a week set aside to appreciate teaching artists and made it happen during the 3rd week of May.
So, I am inspired by the boldness of the ATA. They set the stage…daring us to make our place in the spotlight. All I’m asking is: What if we had the whole month? What could we accomplish in a month? Let’s find out.