30 Inspiring Messages For Students

by Terry Heick

The premise is simple enough here: What are the kinds of messages that inspire students?

We’ve talked about student engagement and motivational videos for teens, in addition to ‘good class rules.’
This is similar but not intently meant to ‘inspire.’ Rather, the hope is that by separating these kinds of messages into three different categories and perspectives (I, You, and Us/We), you might be able to use them to guide a lot of what you do, from curriculum and instructional design to creating class rules and norms.
Let me know in the comments what you’d add to the list.

I And You And Us: 30 Inspiring Messages For Students 


1. I love learning and I love people and you’re a person and you’re here to learn. Hopefully, you can see where I’m going with this.
2. I fail and make mistakes. I will help you but sometimes I’ll need help from you.
3. I cannot let you be passive. I hope you understand.
4. I will push you without losing you.
5. I will not give up on you.
6. I understand the walls outside of this classroom and think about them as context for everything we do here.
7. I am responsible for everyone and thing in this class and therefore at times what I say and do may confuse you or even seem unfair or wrong. I am always here to talk to you about things so that you understand.
8. I am here for you. It’s literally my life’s work to help you grow.
9. I have expertise/credibility and I care about you and your success; these are equally important and together why you can trust me.
10. I love different things than you do and you love different things than most everyone else; learning is about sharing that love.


1. You are the reason we are here. This is all for you and if it doesn’t feel like it, let’s talk about it.
2. You have a story. Let’s use it, then add to it together.
3. You are creative and intelligent. You have genius somewhere inside you. Let’s find it.
4. You’re not ‘bad at math/science/reading/writing.’ If you think this, you’re wrong.
5. You are loved and cared for and have infinite value but that value is only potential if you don’t use it to grow.
6. You have a future and your best days are ahead of you; sometimes the mountain you’re climbing can obscure the view you’re about to enjoy.
7. You will learn ‘things’ here that should be clearly relevant to you and your life. We will gain knowledge and skills to help you live a better life. If not, let’s talk about it.
8. You have an active and constant role in your learning. It may not always seem like it, but you’re in control of your own failure or success.
9. You are not a letter grade, grade point average, test score, certificate, or ‘data point’ in this school or district’s success.
10. You inspire me.


1. We will learn through curiosity, joy, affection, and thought.
2. We are all on our own journey but in this class, we all need one another and will help one another grow.
3. We will not punish mistakes and errors. Mistakes are how we learn.
4. We will learn through humility. We will own our mistakes and admit what we don’t know and the limits of what we do.
5. We all have individual geniuses and abilities but we can go farther together than alone. We will strive to understand and leverage this truth.
6. We will strive to be honest, efficient, and pragmatic. We will not use inefficient tools, technology, strategies, sources, or technology just for the sake of forms and appearances.
7. We can and will learn from anything. As a result, we will always be learning no matter where we are or what we’re doing.
8. We will never forget why we’re learning what we’re learning and if we do, we will talk about it.
9. We’re going to learn to question everything in this class. Even these ‘standards’–and standards in general. The word “Why?” is like a lantern and we’ll use it constantly.
10. We will value affection over thought and thought over knowledge and knowledge over academic performance but we will see all as intertwined.

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