CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The vice president of the National Education Association who’s spent decades in classrooms cannot remember a time when she did not want to be a teacher.

Becky Pringle’s career path was set, she recalled, “from the time I forced my two sisters to play school on the front steps of my North Philly home.”

Becky Pringle

She talked with MetroNews on Tuesday which, in addition to being West Virginia’s primary election day, was also National Teacher Day — part of National Teacher Appreciation Week running through Friday.

The annual day, #ThankATeacher on Twitter, comes after this year’s nine-day walkout from teachers and school service workers in the Mountain State for better pay and benefits along with similar work actions in other states including Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona.

“The tone is still focused on demonstrating appreciation, but with a greater realization that it’s going to take more than ‘thanks’ to actually demonstrate that we appreciate our teachers,” Pringle said.

“We want to make sure that the entire community sees their roles and responsibilities in making sure that our students are in safe and supportive schools.”

For Wednesday, people across the U.S. were being asked to wear red to show support for educators, “Red For Ed,” in their push for improvements in the teaching profession, increases in classroom funding and additions to pay.

Pringle has taught middle school science for 31 years.

“It’s a fabulous career, one that is absolutely rewarding, but one that we absolutely need to pay attention to to make sure that others follow us into the profession,” Pringle said.

“We want to make sure that folks are standing with us as we demand that our policymakers do more for our students and for our schools.”

The National Education Association, the union for 3 million educators nationwide including members of the West Virginia Education Association, has observed National Teacher Day during May since 1985.

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