By Jennifer Ginn

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s time for Kentuckians to show some love to teachers.

The #LoveTeaching campaign, begun last year by the National and State Teachers of the Year, is designed for educators and non-educators alike to share why they love the teaching profession or stories about teachers who inspired them. This year’s campaign starts Feb. 14 and runs through Feb. 22.

By all accounts, the campaign last year was a success. On Feb. 11, 2015, #LoveTeaching was in the top three trending topics on Twitter and the hashtag was tweeted more than 9,700 times during the week.

“I couldn’t think of a better time than Valentine’s Day to start a campaign like this,” said Kentucky’s Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. “We all have had great teachers in our lives who helped inspire and shape us. It’s time to publicly recognize and thank them for all of their hard work.

“But this campaign is about more than just recognizing former teachers. It’s also a chance for the teachers themselves to share what it is that keeps them in the classroom. Sharing this dedication and passion with everyone using the #LoveTeaching hashtag may just help inspire the Commonwealth’s next generation of teachers.”

Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, said she is excited about the opportunity to share how teaching and teachers have changed her life. Growing up in poverty, Lamb-Sinclair said, a 3rd-grade teacher – Mrs. Reigelman – changed her life when she told her she was a gifted student.

“After that experience, I excelled in school, but more than that, I became curious and passionate about learning,” she said. “That curiosity and passion lifted me out of poverty because I never wanted to stop learning; which is why I became a teacher—I never wanted to leave school.”

The Kentucky Department of Education is encouraging teachers and residents alike to share the love during the week by tweeting about their favorite teacher or why they love teaching. Use the hashtag #LoveTeaching and join in the conversation.