Teacher appreciation: 3 in 4 parents credit their childhood educators with making them who they are today

NEW YORK — Teachers make such an impact on us that six in 10 parents claim they can still name every teacher from their childhood (62%), according to a new survey. The study of 2,000 American parents of children under 18 examined respondents’ early childhood education memories and reveals that three in four parents credit their former teachers for positively influencing their lives (76%).

What were the greatest life lessons that parents credit their teachers with? Among the top responses are showing them how to be a better person (58%), impacting the hobbies they picked up (52%), and simply being a role model (51%).

What parents remember the most about their early childhood education experience is learning new subjects (56%), making new friends (55%), and learning how to be creative (53%). Almost half of parents also consider having their teachers invest time in them (48%) and playing with their favorite toy or game (47%) as some of their best school memories. That may be why 73 percent say they learned more life and social skills during their early school years versus their later ones.

The research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care system further suggests that teachers play a very important role in their students’ lives – since 73 percent say that if it weren’t for their teachers, they wouldn’t be the person they are today. It’s no surprise that two in three parents (68%) had a “favorite” teacher when they were in school. In fact, 60 percent even admit that they still stay in touch with one or several former teachers from their childhood.

Why was their ‘favorite’ teacher their favorite?

There are many reasons why teachers stand out in the eyes of respondents. One parent says, “Because she took her own time to help me get caught up in math.” Others recalled that their teachers “influenced the career I chose” and “they gave me extra help.”

Most respondents keep in contact with their elementary school (59%) and preschool (54%) teachers. That’s mainly because they want to know how they’re doing (71%), to show their appreciation (66%), and to keep them up to date with their lives (61%).

“We’ve seen how the pandemic has deeply affected teachers,” says Joy Turner, vice president of education for the Kiddie Academy brand, in a statement. “These findings speak to how integral they are in our students’ daily lives and how early learning is more important than ever. Whether it’s creating a nurturing classroom environment for young children or helping them develop soft skills — we see children successfully transition to elementary school and beyond fully prepared.”

Creativity is key

Parents also reflected on their children’s education and social skills. Despite many believing that their kids are more creative than when they were children (49% vs. 44%), four in five parents still encourage them to be as creative as possible (79%). The way parents motivate their children to be more creative include watching educational shows and videos together (57%), engaging in arts and crafts with them (52%), enrolling them in after-school programs (50%), playing educational games together (48%), and taking them on educational field trips (47%).

Over half the poll (54%) thinks being creative has a significant impact on helping a child develop socially, such as making new friends or having positive relationships. However, for 78 percent of parents, the most important thing they want to instill in their children is to be a good person.

While 73 percent are satisfied with their children’s current education, four in five believe teachers don’t get enough credit for all that they do (80%). That’s why 81 percent always encourage their children to show appreciation toward their teachers.

“As teachers, we know that a child’s early experiences and relationships, especially in the first five years of life, are critical for development,” Turner adds. “When you pursue a career in teaching you have to be committed to doing what’s right for children because the impact lasts a lifetime.”

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