Although there are many versions of the first Thanksgiving in North America, the one that is most closely related to our modern celebration of Thanksgiving took place in August of 1621. After arriving in Plymouth in 1620, the Pilgrims endured many hardships but managed to survive, due to the help of Squanto, an Indian who taught the Pilgrims how to fish, grow corn, and farm the land.
At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a “harvest feast” to celebrate the fruits of their farming efforts. The feast also honored Squanto and their friends, the Wanpanoag Indians. The feast was followed by three days of “thanksgiving” celebrating their good fortune.
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress established the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November. It was always on the last Thursday in November until President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with pressure from business leaders who wanted more shopping days for Christmas, issued a proclamation that moved Thanksgiving up one week to the second to last Thursday in November. Finally, on December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law for Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, families and friends come together to give thanks, celebrate with a big meal, and watch football.
As we get ready to dismiss school for the Thanksgiving holiday (some schools are already out), I got to thinking … as a principal, I am thankful for many things.
I am thankful for:
- My teachers, who take pride in good teaching. It takes good teachers to meet the needs of students today. I am lucky to have teachers who go the extra mile for their students.
- My teachers, who value professional development. My teachers value good professional development and are good at sharing ideas with each other because they know that when they learn, it benefits the students. It is a shame when teachers don’t want to get better and think they “don’t need anymore knowledge”. (This is what one elementary teacher actually said)
- My teachers, who value building positive relationships with our students. It’s all about relationships. When it’s positive, learning happens. When it’s not positive, it’s detrimental to the success of the students.
- My teachers, who value technology as a tool that enhances their good instruction. Technology is not the magic pill. It is, however, a great weapon in the teacher’s arsenal. It is still all about good instruction, though.
- My teachers, who are not afraid to take risks and step out of their comfort zone. It really easy to continue to do what you’ve always done because you are comfortable with it. It takes a good teacher to realize that the students today learn differently and that a good teacher adapts with the changing times.
- My students, who, if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. We have great students at my school! Enough said!