Four Timely Reminders for all Educators

 by Mary Jane Downs

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Are you creating a teaching legacy for future generations? What wisdom can you pass down from your experiences?

My daughter graduated as an education major from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, this past spring. As she is hunting for a teaching position and awaiting her first solo flight, I want to give her some sage advice to ponder as she anticipates the future. Here are four tips from my teaching experience that I will be sharing with my daughter, which are, perhaps, a good reminder for all of us teachers…both young and not-so-young. 

Healthy Fear

A little ‘healthy fear’ at the beginning of each year can be a good thing. You do not have all the answers yet because every class has a different make up. This keeps you willing to seek for the answers…and it can also foster a mutual respect from your students. Don’t fear the fear; embrace it as an opportunity to learn.

The Truth Behind Discipline

Discipline has a lot to do with who you are and how you present yourself. It also has to do with honesty, fairness, your example and what you expect of each student. Bad attitudes and criticism will only aggravate the challenges. Finding the good in each student and telling them so can begin to change even the most hardcore children.

Each New Day is a New Day

Let everyone have a new start each day. Don’t hold grudges against students. It will only bring more friction to a classroom. We all have bad moments, days and periods of time when our behavior reeks. Forgive and move on. Try to find out if there is a reason for a student’s behavior. Then, work to help your student learn to overcome their problems in a more positive way.

Teachable Spirit

The best teachers keep a teachable spirit throughout their career. They never think they have arrived at fully knowing everything. They continually search for the best ways to enhance their students’ learning environment. Then, when all is said and done, your students will honor and respect you for helping them learn to succeed under your watch.

Teaching is a challenge no matter how you look at it. However, starting out with the right kind of wisdom will help you build a rewarding career…and a living legacy.

Mary Jane Downs is an author, speaker and teacher who lives in the foothills of the Asheville Mountains. She loves long walks with her camera in hand, reading, hand quilting, and cooking for friends. Mary Jane has been published in Awe Magazine,, as well as a guest blogger. Mary Jane has found her writing and love of quilting to work well together. Quilting gives her time to think and gain insight for story ideas, and writing helps her to express those ideas and thoughts to others. Read more by Mary Jane at



Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Motivation, School Readiness, Teacher Inspiration, Teaching

4 responses to “Four Timely Reminders for all Educators

  1. Jennifer Nuss

    I needed to hear this today. I was becoming overwhelmed with my to do list, what has to be done and what I want to get done. I needed to be reminded why I do my job and how to do it best. I also need to take a deep breath and enjoy my last moments of summer.

  2. I appreciated your comment about healthy fear at the beginning of a new school year. When I started teaching, I expected I’d get the hang of it in a year or two and would get over my first day jitters, but it never happened. I think my nervousness is natural and healthy, though, so I don’t stress out about it any more. Even better, if I share with my students that I’m a little nervous, I think it puts them more at ease.

  3. What great advice for any mother/teacher. We should all strive to leave a legacy for future generations by sharing tips we’ve learned along the way.

  4. connie wiley

    Thanks! My daughter will graduate in two years with her education degree. I will save these words of wisdom for her.