Resources › For Educators Meaningful Life Lessons We Learn From Teachers at School Share Flipboard Email Print Thomas Tolstrup/Taxi/Getty Images For Educators Teaching Community Involvement An Introduction to Teaching Tips & Strategies Policies & Discipline School Administration Technology in the Classroom Teaching Adult Learners Issues In Education Teaching Resources Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Homeschooling By Derrick Meador Education Expert M.Ed., Educational Administration, Northeastern State University B.Ed., Elementary Education, Oklahoma State University Derrick Meador, M.Ed., is the superintendent for Jennings Public Schools in Oklahoma. He previously served as a school principal and middle school science teacher. our editorial process Derrick Meador Updated July 03, 2019 Teachers spend a lot of time with their students throughout the course of the year. They are influential by nature and often take advantage of opportunities to teach life lessons when they present themselves. Life lessons taught by teachers have made a lasting impact on many students. In many cases, sharing these life lessons can have a far greater impact than teaching standard based content. Teachers often use both direct and indirect opportunities to incorporate life lessons. Directly, there are natural components of schooling that lead to learning life lessons. Indirectly, teachers often take advantage of what they refer to as teachable moments to expand topics or to discuss aspects of life that are brought up by students during class. 20. You Will Be Held Accountable for Your Actions Student discipline is a major component in any classroom or school. There is a certain set of rules or expectations by which everyone is expected to follow. Choosing not to adhere to them will result in disciplinary action. Rules and expectations exist in all facets of life, and there are always consequences when we push the limits of those rules. 19. Hard Work Pays Off Those who work the hardest typically achieve the most. Teachers understand that some students are more naturally gifted than others, but even the most gifted student will not achieve much if they are lazy. It is nearly impossible to be successful at anything if you are not willing to work hard. 18. You Are Special This is a core message that every teacher should drive home to every student. We all have our unique talents and qualities that make us special. Too many children feel inadequate and unimportant. We should strive to ensure that all students believe that they matter. 17. Make the Most of Each Opportunity Opportunities present themselves on a regular basis throughout our lives. How we choose to respond to those opportunities can make all the difference in the world. Learning is a significant opportunity for children across this country. It is essential for teachers to convey the message to students that each day presents a new opportunity to learn something new. 16. Organization Matters A lack of organization can lead to chaos. Students who are organized have a much greater chance of being successful later on in life. This is a skill that begins early on. One way that teachers can drive home the importance of organization is to hold students accountable for how their desk and/or locker looks on a regular basis. 15. Pave Your Own Path Ultimately, every person determines his or her future through decision making over a long period of time. It is easy for experienced adults to look back and see exactly how we paved the path that led us to where we are today. This is an abstract concept for students and teachers should spend time discussing how our decisions and work ethic at even a young age can shape our future. 14. You Cannot Control Who Your Parents Are Parents have the largest influence on any child. In some cases, this influence may be negative in nature. However, most parents want the best for their children although they may not know how to give it to them. It is vital that teachers let their students know that they have the capability to control their own future, making different decisions than their parents, which can lead to a better life. 13. Remain True to Yourself Ultimately it does not matter what others think about you. Making a decision based on what someone else wants almost always turns out to be the wrong decision. Teachers must convey the message of believing in you, trusting your instincts, setting goals, and reaching those goals without personal compromise. 12. You Can Make a Difference We are all potential change agents, meaning we have the potential to make differences in the lives of those around us. Teachers demonstrate this directly on a daily basis. They are there to make a difference in the lives of the children they are charged to teach. They can teach students how they can make a difference by incorporating different projects such as a canned food drive, cancer fundraiser, or another community project. 11. Remain Trustworthy Being trustworthy means that those around you believe that you will tell the truth, keep secrets (so long as they do not put others in danger), and will carry out tasks that you have promised to do. Teachers drive home the concepts of honesty and loyalty on a daily basis. It is a core part of any classroom rules or expectations. 10. Structure Is Critical Some students will initially reject a structured classroom, but ultimately they will come to enjoy it and even crave it when it is not there. A structured classroom is a safe classroom where teaching and learning are maximized. Providing students with a structured learning environment can show students that having structure in their life is a positive aspect that they need more of. 9. You Have the Greatest Control of Your Destiny Many people believe that their destiny is dictated by the situation in which they inherited by birth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every person controls his own destiny once they reach a certain age. Teachers fight this misconception all the time. For example, many students believe that they cannot go to college because their parents did not go to college. This is a cycle that schools work hard to break. 8. Mistakes Provide Valuable Learning Opportunities The greatest lessons in life result because of failures and it is the lessons learned from those mistakes that help make us whom we become. Teachers teach this life lesson on a daily basis. No student is perfect. They make mistakes, and it is a teacher's job to ensure that their students understand what the mistake was, how to fix it, and to give them strategies to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated. 7. Respect Has to Be Given to Be Received Good teachers lead by example. They give their students respect knowing that the majority of the students will, in turn, give them respect back. Teachers often have students who come from backgrounds where little respect is expected or given in the home. School may be the only place where respect is given and expected to be given back. 6. Differences Should Be Embraced Bullying is one of the largest problems in schools today often resulting because of perceived differences that make some students an easy target based on how they look or act. The world is full of unique and different people. These differences, no matter what they are, should be embraced and accepted. Many schools now incorporate learning opportunities into their daily lessons to teach kids how to respect individual differences. 5. There Are Aspects of Life That Are Beyond Our Control The process of school is one big lesson on this. Many students, especially older ones, do not want to go to school but go because they are required by law. Once they get there, they are learning lessons created by a teacher with little to no student ownership. These lessons are being taught because of state-directed standards. Life is no different. There are many aspects of our life with which we have little control. 4. Bad Decisions Lead to Serious Consequences Not every poor decision will lead to a bad consequence, but some of them will. You may get away with something once or twice, but you will eventually be caught. Decision making is a critical life lesson. Students should be taught to think each decision through, never make a decision in haste, and be prepared to live with the consequences associated with that decision. 3. Good Decisions Lead to Prosperity Making smart decisions is critical to individual success. A series of poor decisions can quickly lead to a road of failure. Making a good decision does not necessarily mean it is the easiest decision. In some cases, it is going to be the harder decision. Students must be rewarded, recognized, and praised for good decision making as often as possible. Teachers can help make good decision making a habit that will follow students throughout their life. 2. Working Together Cooperatively Benefits Everyone Teamwork is a valuable skill taught in schools. Schools often provide the first opportunities for children to work together with other children who may be different. Working cooperatively is imperative to both team and individual success. Students must be taught that each individual part working together makes the team successful. However, if one part quits or does not perform adequately, everyone fails. 1. You Can Become Anything It is cliché, but it is also a valuable lesson that teachers must never stop teaching. As adults, we know that it is nearly impossible to break a generational rut. However, we should never give up hope that we can reach students and help them break a cycle that has held other family members back for many generations. It is our basic duty to provide hope and belief that they can achieve and become anything.