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What is Your Mantra?

As we round out the school year, I have been thinking about my fresh start for next year. Thinking, what will my mantra be for workshop? What do I want to accomplish with my new writers? How do I keep myself positive on “those” days? I started to think I should begin with a quote to inspire me and make up my own as a spin off. Here are some inspiring words and maybe they will inspire you too as you begin to think about a mantra for the coming year.

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch

“The words that come first are anybody’s words. You have to make them your own.” James Merrill

“The best writing advice I ever received was: Invent your confidence.” Diane Ackerman

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining: show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekov

“A writer’s job is to make the ordinary come alive, to awaken ourselves to the specialness of simply being.” Natalie Goldberg


I settled on this for a mantra. Maybe I will make this image into a poster to put near my desk. I think it would be a great idea to create a classroom mantra with your students. Decide what you want to be as a unit. What a great way to build community in your classroom.

I’d love to hear what your mantra is to keep yourself positive through life and the school year. Be sure to share in the comments.

Betsy Hubbard View All

Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.

25 thoughts on “What is Your Mantra? Leave a comment

  1. A student recently gave me a book with an inspirational quote for each day. i am considering working with kids during homeroom to find their own mantra, andhaving themsare them throughoutthe year next year. Thanks for sharing some beautiful ones about writing!


  2. oooooooooooh! LOVE this idea. The Chekov quote really hit me. I definitely need to have a plan for “those” days. I’ve needed it a lot this year, and I know I will need it next year. Great idea!!!! Now to collect some thoughts…


  3. Many years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Anne Lamott speak, and she quoted E.L. Doctorow who compared writing a novel to being in a car on a dark road at night with your headlights on. Doctorow, she said, explained that you can see only a few feet in front of you, as far as the headlights illuminate the road. You can’t see the whole journey or the destination, but that you could make the whole journey that way- it was enough to keep going. She went on to say that that was not only good writing advice, but good advice for life. I think about her quoting Doctorow often- when I write, when I teach and as I live. Some variation of that might be my mantra.


  4. Respect


    Redirect until it’s what you know is your very best!

    Say to yourself, “Excuses!!!! Mucus!!!”
    I can do more!


  5. Betsy, it is wonderful to see you on Digilit Sunday. Your post is inspiring me. May I use some of the quotes you posted in my work? Also, I have an offer for you. I am opening a Hall of Eduhero Voices to gear up for the #NYEDChat tomorrow night. If you go to my Digitlit Sunday post you will find out particulars. I would like to place your poster/mantra in the hall since it is powerful. Is that fine?


  6. I’m just playing with words here (this is not a final mantry). Something like:
    Write about things that make you curious.
    Craft writing — any kind of writing — about what matters to you deeply.
    Write about things that hold meaning or value to you.
    Will have to tinker some more (later).


  7. This is a fabulous post. We create our own reality and by setting the words in front of us that we want to live by, we are putting out there what we will see! “You matter” is such an important mantra – as every one of us have an internal need to feel that someone sees us, whether we realize it or not, teachers and students.

    I love the glitter board and the idea of posting a weekly mantra – this is going to be a “must do” in my classroom next year.

    Thank you all for the inspiration!


  8. My mantra this year with my second graders is “We are problem solvers!” It works with tough Math problems, when we don’t know how to end a story in writing, and with arguments with friends. I say something like “that sounds like a problem” and usually at least one students pipes up “and we are problem solvers.”


  9. Wow. This is a powerful post – and the comments are great as well. I’ll certainly be passing these ideas on this summer as I teach EIGHT literacy workshops throughout Iowa and Wisconsin.


  10. Our 5th grade team was thinking about starting the year with the book “Wonder” and using the quotes throughout the year. I really like your idea of using other people’s quotes to inspire the creation of your own mantra.


  11. I’ve used Be Brave before with first graders. We talked about all the ways we need to be brave including doing the right thing. I have a poster by my desk which reads, Assume Nothing, Model Everything. This is my teaching mantra.


  12. I love your mantra, Betsy! (How did you make this image?) My mantra for school overall this year has been, “You Matter!” and it’s been powerful. I hadn’t thought about one specifically for writing. I like the advice Gail Carson Levine offers in her book, Writing Magic. “Have fun and save what you write!” Maybe I’ll use that. You’ve gotten the wheels turning for next year already! Thank you!


  13. I love a mantra! Yours is beautiful. Have you seen or created a glitterboard? JoEllen McCarthy introduced me to this idea. You buy an inexpensive picture frame and instead of a photo, you put in glittery scrapbook paper in any color you like. Then, with a dry erase marker, you can write different quotes each day on the glass of the frame. Some have used “Words glitter our lives” near their board, which I think is beautiful! I bedazzled mine with brightly colored gem stickers. My third graders can’t wait to read the quote of the day and we discuss it. A lot of times the quotes help me stay focused on what’s important too! The other day we did Wayne Gretzsky’s “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I try to promote a growth mindset by the quotes I select. My mantra goes back to something I learned in high school (one of my Slices was about this!)- “To be enthusiastic, you must act enthusiastic.” This is my mantra because if I am bored, my students surely will be. I want so share my love of reading and writing with them authentically and from my heart, with passion and enthusiasm. Love this post!


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