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To my teacher, Mrs. Dubbeldam

Teachers make a huge difference in children’s lives – and to their success throughout life.

According to the Education Trust, highly effective teachers can get one-and-a-half years of student growth out of one year in the classroom. Moreover, for students from low-income families, having three highly effective teachers in a row can close the achievement gap between them and their more advantaged peers.

The impact of great teachers also lasts a lifetime.

Economists at Harvard and Columbia found students fortunate enough to learn with “high-value-added” teachers were less likely to have children as teenagers, and more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries as adults, and save more for retirement.

For me, I can remember many fine teachers from my childhood – especially Mrs. Dubbeldam, my language teacher in high school, who sparked an interest in literature with me. After graduating I took a gap year, working at a bank, but I found the work boring and discovered that I spent all of my first earnings on books. I remembered the exciting lessons in literature from Mrs. Dubbeldam and decided to pick up a major in literature. It changed my life.

Today, my own children are in school (or in the case of my youngest, eagerly anticipating it). Together, my wife and I make it a point to regularly thank the teachers who are making a decades-long difference in their lives.

This is Teacher Appreciation Week. I want to thank the many great teachers in the United States and across the world (including Mrs. Dubbeldam) whose skills, commitment, and passion for education have made so much difference in so many lives, including my own.

With appreciation, Marten Roorda.

Although we can't ever thank them enough, May 7-11 will be dedicated to showing our appreciation for teachers. Throughout the week, we encourage you to join this important nationwide campaign to not only #ThankATeacher, but to also let teachers know their hard work, dedication to and passion for improving the lives of our nation's youth through education does not go unnoticed.

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.