What’s the Best Teaching Advice in Five Words or Less?

We asked, you answered.

cartoon drawing of diverse group of people talking

When it comes to teaching advice, there’s no better source than the educators on the front line- classroom teachers. So we recently asked our WeAreTeachers Facebook community, “What is the best teaching advice you can give in five words?” Here are 25 of our favorite responses.

1. Kids learn when they’re loved. —Andie M.

That pretty much sums it up.

2. Don’t try to control everything. —Martha P.

Focus on what you can control; both you and your students will be happier for it.

3. Work-life balance is essential. —Shane H.

Work life balance is essential

It’s way easier said than done, but take time for dinner out. Get together with friends. Take a walk in the park. Go on a date with your spouse. Something. Anything! Remember not to lose sight of all the other important components of your life outside of teaching.—Andy R.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. —Melanie B.

And you know what they say…it’s all small stuff. Operating from a “kids first” perspective will help keep things in perspective.

5. Every day is a new beginning. —Mary J.


You’re going to have some good days and some bad days. Don’t carry things over from one day to another. And treat each day as an opportunity to do better.—V. Chan

6. Take care of yourself first.—Michelle M.

Take the time to eat right, sleep well and get exercise. Don’t let your job ruin your health or take away from your personal life. You can be an amazing teacher without losing yourself in the process!

7. Stay home when you’re sick. —Andrea C.

We know, planning for a sub is almost more work than going in and doing it yourself. But if you don’t take the time your body needs to heal, you’ll be no good to yourself or anyone else.

8. Don’t forget to have fun. —Ashley F.

Don't forget to have fun

Sometimes we take ourselves so seriously! The days go by quickly; take time to enjoy your time with your students. And remember, your sense of humor may be the thing that saves your sanity.

9. Remember, they’re just kids. —Kathy B.

You can have high expectations, but you also have to love them, play with them, give them time and encouragement and understand their unique needs.

10. Learn to count to five. —Debbie T.

Sometimes it’s really hard to have the patience it takes to be a good teacher. Taking a pause and a deep breath always helps.

11. Every student is someone’s child. —Jenni S.

It sounds obvious, but as a parent, it puts things in perspective. How would you want your own child treated?

12. Always remember Maslow before Bloom. —Lynn J.

Basic needs must be met before children can learn. We have to teach/help/love the whole child.—Alicia B.

13. Be firm, clear and kind. —Angela E.

Be firm, clear and kind

Kids respond best when they know what is expected of them and that they will be treated fairly.

14. Don’t grade everything they do. —Michelle T.

Trying to do so is a surefire way to burn out in a hurry. Give kids lots of practice, then assess and grade.—Mark D.

15. Sincerity over perfection is key. —Becky L.

Students respect teachers who are also authentic learners.

16. Don’t compare yourself to others. —Patricia M.

Sometimes we’re so hard on ourselves. Do your best, trust your instincts and follow your own path.

17. Leave the judgment at home. —Alison D.

People are judged enough, especially kids, on a daily basis. Be non-judgmental With your students as much as you possibly can!

18. Have a procedure for everything. —Kirsten C.

Have a procedure for everything

Be prepared for whatever the day will bring.

19. I do, we do, you do. —Wendy M.

This model of gradual release of responsibility is key for teaching kids how to learn and gain independence. Once I learned this, everything else fell in place.

20. Meet students where they are. —Rose S.

Each individual child learns differently, and it’s important to treat each student as an individual.

21. Do not take anything personally. —Mary K.

Remember when dealing with a difficult student: kids’ choices are rarely made with the intention of hurting/upsetting/angering you personally.

22. Treat students fairly, not equally. —Nora S.

It’s inevitable that some kids will have greater needs than others. And that can change daily. Treat each child as an individual, and it will all balance out.

23. Students remember kindness, not curriculum. —Maria O.

Students remember kindness, not curriculum

It’s the small gestures like frequent wellness checks- a simple “How are you today?”- that really make a difference.

24. Look children in the eye. —Cindy P.

You miss so much if you’re not really looking.

25. Make use of teachable moments. —Jan P.

Sometimes in the rush to “get through the material,” you miss the most delightful tangents. Be flexible.

What is your best teaching advice? Share in the comments below.

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What's the Best Teaching Advice in Five Words or Less?