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.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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:

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week With Stellar Savings

Save 47% on a premium digital subscription — only $21 for 4 months.

Related Tags:


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Leading Systemic Redesign: Strategies from the Field
Learn how your school community can work together to redesign the school system, reengineer instruction, & co-author personalized learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion The Most Important Lessons Teachers Impart Are Not 'Dictated by a Pacing Guide'
For true learning to occur, lessons need to be put into context, not designed to be checked off a to-do list.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Knock Out Those Letters of Recommendation: Pro Tips From Teachers
Teachers dish on best practices for students' letters of recommendation.
3 min read
Image shows University Application Acceptance Notification Letter with ACCEPTED Stamp
Teaching Opinion Sage Advice From Veteran Teachers to Those New to the Classroom
Teachers can learn a lot by tapping into their fellow teachers and other school staff as well as students.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Opinion I'm a Student. Here's Why Group Work Feels So Unfair
I get a sinking feeling of dread from the fear of an uneven distribution of work. Here's what I wish teachers would do instead.
Yun F. Zheng
3 min read
Illustration of students meeting.
<b>F. Sheehan / Education Week / Getty</b>