Why is today celebrated as National Teacher Appreciation Day? It’s not an annual day decreed by Congress, it’s a self-declared non-thing established by the teachers’ own union, the National Education Association.

It was the union who voted to appreciate themselves on the first Tuesday of every May. This year, they are appreciating themselves in Pueblo by going on strike and refusing to return to the classrooms until they get a 2 percent raise, an additional $30 a month in paid health insurance, and a 2.5 percent raise for teacher aides and assistants.

But it’s not just about the money. Pueblo teachers make an average salary of $47,617 for working about 263 days a year. That’s $263 a day or $32.88 an hour.

As the Pueblo Chieftain phrased it, teachers want to end “an enduring culture of disrespect and under-appreciation.”

We’re not sure how union leaders are negotiating respect, but we’re guessing it’s through more pay and benefits.

Teachers say they hope they don’t have to stand on street corners holding picket signs for more than a three day strike, you know, because of the children and all.

But teachers are also insisting they will not go back to work until all of their pay, benefits and demands for respect are met.

Meanwhile, several Pueblo schools opened their doors to serve lunch to more than 200 needy children on Monday while teachers were striking. School officials say they will continue to open their doors to feed the kids until the teachers come back to work.