Teaching Profession

Spotify Puts Teacher Appreciation Week to Music

By Madeline Will — May 06, 2016 2 min read
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Today marks the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, so what better way to celebrate than with music?

Earlier this week, the White House announced that the Spotify is planning to create a “series of initiatives that highlight creativity in education.” Among other initiatives, the music-streaming service is expected to collaborate this year with organizations like Girls Rock Camp and Music Mural & Arts Project to “ensure that more students have access to the power of music.”

This week, Spotify kicked things off by asking people to share songs and stories about teachers who made a difference in their lives with the hashtag #ThankATeacher.

Spotify compiled the responses into a playlist, with songs ranging from the inspirational (like the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun”) to the on-the-nose choices (like “The Room Where It Happens,” from the Hamilton musical). There are some curious choices too, like “Diva” by Beyoncé (not sure if teachers can relate to the lyrics, “Divas gettin’ money / If you ain’t gettin’ money, then you ain’t got nothing fo’ me,” but they may appreciate the sentiment). Of course, the Star Wars theme song is also the list.

The playlist is also interspersed with messages from artists thanking teachers and explaining some of their dedications. For example, Matt Johnson, of the indie band Matt and Kim, dedicated one of his own songs, “Fall to Pieces,” to his high school social studies teacher, who showed Johnson different bands and was always supportive of him.

“Above just scholastically, when teachers help you on that social level, if you’re a student finding themselves throughout their teenage years, and never judges you — I don’t know, it was really helpful,” Johnson said.

Artists and other influencers, including Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, also shared their messages and song titles on Twitter.

While Teacher Appreciation Week has drawn some skepticism from those who feel like educators are underpaid and underappreciated the rest of the year, there are some sincere messages of gratitude on the #ThankATeacher hashtag on Twitter. And for teachers who want to parlay the week’s message into some well-needed classroom funds, GoFundMe will donate $100 to any campaign started this week that benefits a teacher or a classroom.

Image: Nate Ruess, lead singer of the band FUN, performs in the East Room of the White House in Washington during a ceremony for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Honorees on May 4.

--Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.