Teaching

Teachers Share Affirmations That Work. And Some That Don’t

By Marina Whiteleather — May 02, 2022 2 min read
A hand about to write on a blank page in a notebook. Post it notes all around with affirmations and positive messages on them.
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Repeating mantras or affirmations can help ground oneself during tough times, and teachers have had plenty of challenging days recently. But could bombardment with relentlessly positive messages skew towards “toxic positivity” and cause educators to overlook the real challenges facing teachers daily?

Teachers should be uplifted not only by each other, but by their districts, school leaders, school boards, parents, and students. But self-motivation can still be a useful tool for some.

We asked our social media followers to weigh in on which affirmations resonated with them most out of the following options. The hope is to share a tool for teachers that could serve as reminders of the good in themselves and in their profession.

  • The work I do matters.
  • I empower my students.
  • I can do hard things.
  • My mistakes don’t define me.

While the majority of respondents selected “The work I do matters,” commenters also offered up their own.

Teachers share their own affirmations

There is no failure. Just learning opportunities.

- April M.

Work smarter not just harder!

- Gil D.

Students are at the center of the heart of education.

- Bruce M.

When we KNOW better, we DO better.

- Janabeth A.

Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day. Focus on the little achievements.

- Jennifer G.

I have two that are not just about my work. After diving into Marisa Peers, “you are enough” physically relaxes me every time I see it and the other one is a question “ is this helping to create the life you want?”

-Katie L.

I love an affirmation. My current go-to: Focus on the good!

- Mary Catherine N.

There’s beer in the fridge when you get home. There’s beer in the fridge when you get home…

- Patrick G.

Teachers shouldn’t have to self-affirm

Some teachers said that they shouldn’t have to turn to mantras to make it through each day.

I feel as if all of these affirmations are part of the toxic positivity culture. We need better affirmations.

- Amanda M.

So tired of having to self affirm and reaffirm. The Job shouldn’t be destroying us.

- David A.

When you have passion for teaching, you don’t need affirmations. There is a human limit to whatever you do. Work becomes exhausting and stressful when it exceeds capacity. And this is a stage when quality of teaching has a steep fall. Good institutions give their teachers time and space for thinking, reflection and relaxation.

- Suresh B.

So, this Teacher Appreciation Week, we encourage you to try out one of these mantras recommended by your peers and see if it helps you.

And for those who have had enough of affirmations and instead want to focus on addressing the persistent challenges in the profession, we invite you to reach out to us. Let us know what questions you would like answered, and what teacher coverage you would like to see. Email us at community@educationweek.org and let us know how we can better serve you.

For more related reading, check out these articles:

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