Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

If I Could Only Give My Students One Piece of Advice

March 3, 2015

We asked Edutopia's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ communities to finish the following sentence: "If I could only give my students one piece of advice, it would be..."

There were many, many wonderful responses. These are just some of our favorites:

Cope With Failure and Learn From Mistakes

  • Success is always a process, never an event. Failure is always an event, never a person - Manolis Votsis
  • Mistakes are meant to be made. It's what you do different the next time that matters - Dina Maryea-Baker
  • Take risks and see mistakes as learning opportunities, not things to be avoided at all costs - @lorimacdon
  • Failure is not a red F, it is the "First Attempt in Learning" - Dean Mantz

Love Yourself

  • The way people treat you is a reflection of their character, not yours - Steph Burg
  • Be kind to yourself - Shaelin Shields
  • To the are not an object. To the are not a stereotype. Be strong, be free of images, make your own path - Gerry Kenney
  • Never let anybody call you stupid... including yourself - Sherry Meagher
  • To live each day proud of all the things they can do and not be stifled by all the things they can't - @Teach4love
  • Laugh at yourself once in a while - G VanDeCarr
  • What you think matters. What you say matters. What you do matters. You matter - Daryl Myers

Being a Good Person

  • Be accepting to other children - Kisha Gaskill
  • Have empathy for others - Debbie Reed
  • Always look at the two sides of the story before judging - ‏@Justmemarie2
  • Help build each other UP. We're all in this together - @KHowlandGHS
  • Empathy and an open mind are important for global citizens. Learning will spring from both - Cynthia Clark
  • Give back by volunteering. It will help in many ways - Deanna Concidine
  • Listen first, try to understand second, and judge last - @MrBarry628

Know the Keys to Success

  • Being open to new things, preparation, planning, networking & a sprinkle of luck are key to success - Dawn Clarke
  • Let it go! Let it go! Not saying let go of your education, but let go of the little stuff that tends to dictate whether or not you have a bad day in school. It's HARD to do when you're an adult, much less a kid - Mary Gallagher
  • Don't let anyone else define success for you - Rick Wylie
  • You are the best advocate for yourself - Tara Schurman

Find Your Passion - Teri Skillman

  • Get experience with what you love. Qualifications will get you to the interview but experience and passion will get you further - @PeoplePensPaper
  • Find a career/job that makes you excited to leave your bed - @terriluna01

Slow Down

  • Don't be in a hurry to grow up - Ron Sims
  • Relax - Mark Welinski
  • It's a marathon, not a sprint. You don't need to do everything and/or immediately - Susan Russo

Be a Lifelong Learner - @TXSalsaCongress

  • Education is not for few years learning process it's a life long till the end of life process - Shivani Agarwal
  • Learning how to learn is the most important thing you will ever learn - Janet Piskurich
  • Never stop learning. School can teach you many things, but the world has knowledge that extends beyond classrooms. Be open to it - @MsMedinaTweets
  • Learning will positively transform your life blooming into a distinguished valuable being - @bashaierk
  • Remember and A,B,C,D,F....does not define who you are or who you will learning - Cheryl Best


  • Listen more than you speak when trying to attain new skills and knowledge - Marcia Baynes
  • Listen.... listen to your teachers, to your parents, to your peers.  Learn to listen and really hear what others are saying.  This is a life skill that many children and adults were never taught - Chad Jones
  • Appreciate the words of all those with experience - Michael Manning

Ask Questions and Be Curious

  • Allow yourself to be curious. There is so much to learn that "isn't on the test" - Kate Phipps
  • Question everything - @TheRealMrBauer
  • Follow your curiosity but be both open minded and skeptical - @library_jim


  • Perseverance fuels the learning experience, and patience beautifies it - @rasheedhammadi
  • Don't make excuses, make it happen. You're capable of overcoming any obstacle life throws your way - Anthony Mason
  • Life is tough...but you're tougher - Kid President - Tanya B Murphy
  • Never give up, even when it seems like your only option. Never doubt there are people in your corner - @Jody_Burke

Be Practical

  • Don't procrastinate - - get it started! ( opposed to "Get it done.") - David Crumbaker
  • Develop good study habits - Laura Stipancich
  • Read the directions - @LindaAragoni
  • Wear sunscreen. (Sorry. Couldn't help it.) - Rodney Fields

READ, READ, and READ - Randy Keck

  • Read. A lot. Including newspapers - @jdmstewart1
  • Never stop reading - Page Bobo Dancy

'If I could only give my students one piece of advice, it would be....'

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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