100 Thoughts for Our Younger Teacher Selves


What is that saying? “If we only knew then what we know now”? What would that conversation with our younger teacher selves sound like if shared aloud? What thoughts would we pass backward? Would it be words of encouragement, directives to RUN ??‍♀️??‍♂️??, or just some tips that would have made teaching easier?

On the ETTC Facebook page, almost 900 teachers responded, “What three words would you tell your first-year teacher self?” Be ready for the giggles and maybe some reflection. From those responses, here are 100 Thoughts for Our Younger Teacher Selves.

Starter Thoughts for Our Younger Selves

1– “My first thought was to run away fast!

? Just kidding! I still love my job! Even though it’s frustrating, I don’t know what else I would do.  Find your calm!” — Stacy M.

2– “Yes!!!! Family first!!!” –Lindsay M.
3– “You’ve got this! Also – – just apologize now.” –Sarah R.
4– “Nothing…that girl didn’t listen to anything she was told!” –Rae Ann
Same, girl, same! ???
5– “Please don’t scream!” –Sabrina D.
6– “Be lovingly stern.” –Lori B.
7– “Believe in yourself.” –Denise L.
8– “Leave it there (don’t bring work/grading/planning home)!” –Tara P.
9– “First thought. “ Get out now!” But I loved my 40 years as an educator, and I think the best three words would be, “breathe, just breathe” –Cindy K.
10– I would say, “Enjoy the time.” –Caitlin Y.

Multiple Thoughts (Some just couldn’t give 3!)

11-14 Jamie Lynn:

  • “Trust your gut.”
  • “It’s about kids.”
  • “Admin can wait.”
  • “Give yourself a break.”

15–18 Antoniette B.:

  • “You’re doing great!”
  • “Never stop learning.”
  • “Ask for help.”
  • “Take deep breaths.”

19-21 Renee W.
  • “So…. I was gonna say: “Run like hell.”
  • “But I think I’d prob go with “Put family first.”
  • “Have a life.”  OR “You do you!”

Additional Thoughts for Our Younger Selves

22– “Have fun everyday (yes, I cheated and put that last word together)” –Sheila S.
23– “Don’t keep everything. I left that school three years later, and moving my classroom was a pain” –Sarah O.
24-27 Natalie C.
  • “Girl, get ready.”
  • “It gets better.”
  • “Scores aren’t everything.”
  • “Better hold on.”

28-31 Donna A.

  • “Listen to them.”
  • “Learn from them.”
  • “Trust your instincts!”
  • “They will follow!”

32– “Leave it behind” – meaning the work will always be there. Don’t take away from your personal life to do work life.” –Sonia L.

33-35 Amanda S.

“Not a teacher yet, but I think some of my mottos going in are”:
  • “Always be kind.”
  • “Think before speaking.”
  • “Stay classy, San Diego.”

More Thoughts from Our Facebook Group

36– “You don’t have to like each other; you only have to work together.” –Sarah Q.

37– “Family first, boundaries!” –Alison V.

38– “Work smarter, not harder!!” –Cassie S.

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39– “Don’t let anyone tell you that you care too much!! Your heart makes you a great teacher!” –Robin G.

40– “Patience and kindness” –Sharon B.

41-44 Andria V.

  • “Know your triggers.”
  • “Always tap out.”
  • “Give them love.”
  • “Reflect and correct.”

45– “Grit and Grace” –Carol F.


Some Truthful Thoughts To Our Younger Teacher Selves

46-49 Nari S.

  • “Cry it out.”
  • “You will succeed.”
  • “Always be reflective.”
  • “Give yourself grace.”

50– “Pray without ceasing.” –Cathy D.

51– “It gets easier.” –Jane M.

52– “Stay calm and carry on!” –Cindy M.

53– “Don’t live at work.” –Amy W.

54-55 Kayla C.

  • “Don’t do it.”
  • “You deserve better.”

56-58 Becky B.

  • “Believe in yourself.”
  • “You’ve got this.”
  • “Ignore negative influences.”







59– “Self-care is crucial!” –DiAnna C.

Some Thoughts on the Bumpy Ride

60– “Stay strong, lady!” –Diane T.

61– “Buckle up, Buttercup!” –Jackie H.

62– “Never stop learning.” –Joan S.

63– “You were young.” –Linda S.

64– “Study more science!” –Julie C.

65– “Love the kids!” –Lisa A.

66– “Run! Christine, Run!”–Christine T.

67– “You touch lives.” –Susan C.

68– “You grow yearly!” –Debra H.

69– “Prioritize yourself sis!” –Amber C.

70-75 Jen T.

  • “Run!
  • “You’ve got this!”
  • “WTF”
  • “Set some boundaries.”
  • “Just say no!”
  • “Take the day.”

Thoughts for Our Younger Teacher Selves Just Keep Coming!

76-77 MaryBeth F.

  • “Care about students…”
  • “…and ask for help!”

78– “Love the kids!” –Susan C.

79– “Self-care, family, prepare.” –Tracy W.

80– “You’ll be successful.” –Edgar F.

81– “Blessings are coming.” –Debbie H.

82– “Stay the course!” –Tracy C.

83– “Practice self-care.” –LauraLee F.

84– “You’ll be great!” –Roben A.

85– “Work the contract.” –Lorri L.

86– “Calm down! Nothing will happen if you mess up! More than three words. Lol.” –Rachel P.

87– “Love those children.” –Terri T.

88– “It’s about relationships!” –Gma M.

89– “Lucky I survived!” –Barbara I.


Some Final Thoughts for Our Younger Teacher Selves

90– “Walk by faith.” –Angie G.

91– “Gurl, I know you’re tired- but keep fighting the good fight. You. Are. Making. A. Difference.” –Gael M.

92– “I’m torn between: hang in there and get outta there.”–Bethany B.

93– “Find a bestie, pick your battles, and build the relationships!” –Emily Anne

94– “Raise your patience. Not your voice.” –Neeta R.

95– “Those poor kids!” –Jean A.

96– “Buckle Up Chile.” (that’s Louisiana for “child.” long, I., not a pepper in Texas.. or country in South America) –Christie B.

97– “Laugh Every Day!” –Cyndi L.

98– “Protect your heart!” –Tammy S.

99– “MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS!!!” –Survivor J.

100– “Expect the unexpected!” –Patricia P.

PHEW! We can always count on our Facebook responders to share some pearls of wisdom! What would you tell your younger teacher self if you had the chance? Mine would be, honey you are in it for the long haul!  Be sure to share your wisdom with our community of Teaching Trailblazers in the comments below!



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