Whether you’re a new teacher about to start your first year of teaching or an experienced pro in the classroom, everyone can use a little inspiration and laughter now and then. Shirley Raines offers some of the best advice for teachers in her book Never, Ever, Serve Sugary Snacks on Rainy Days. Here are just a few of the delightful and inspiring teaching tips she shares.

1. Never, EVER say, “I’m just a teacher.”

Even if you’re coming off a rough teaching season, try to never minimalize your role in education. You impact children’s lives every day, and the hard work and dedication you put in should be recognized, especially by yourself.

2. Take time to reflect on your teaching. Reflection requires more than a mirror.

Teaching is tough, and it requires constant reflection. Am I doing everything I can? Is there anywhere I need to improve? How can I better engage my students? How can I get more parents involved in their child’s learning? All of these are questions teachers constantly ask themselves, but it’s important for you to actually sit down and reflect on your answers to these type of questions.

3. Take advice from the teachers who are the best. Ignore the rest.

Your coworkers can provide you with plenty of tips and advice—some good and some not so good. Make sure you pay attention to the teachers who are your role models. Strive to find out why they’re the best at what they do.

4. Sing, dance, move—it keeps you young and sane.

Take time for yourself this summer. Go to a concert, sign up for a dance class, have lunch with friends, take a spontaneous road trip—all of these things are great for your mental, social, emotional, and physical well-being

5. Ask your family and friends to save magazines for art projects.

The summer is a great time to restock your classroom with art materials and other classroom essentials. Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends to save magazines, newspapers, etc.

6. Keep your camera handy.

Whether it’s a landmark, plant, funky art piece, or a new food you tried, take pictures of all the places you go this summer and interesting things you see. You never know what you can use for inspiration! You can also share your pictures with students or use them in different lessons and activities.

7. Invite musicians, artists, and dancers to your class.

Take note of local artists, musicians, and dancers in your community. Visit as many of their shows as you can and invite them to visit your class once school is back in session. Summer provides plenty of opportunities to get out in the community and discover local talent you can bring in for students to learn from and enjoy.

8. Do small things with great love.

Memorize some favorite quotes that inspire you. Print them out on small cards to keep handy, so when times are tough or you’re stressed during the school year, you can pull out a little card to read. 

9. Authenticity counts. Make the curriculum as real-life, as authentic, as possible.

Everything you do in the classroom should be intentional and authentic. If you keep the curriculum authentic and you’re intentional in what and how you teach, children will be more likely to relate to and understand the concepts you’re teaching.

10. Don’t buy markers that smell like fruit; the children eat them.

Don’t forget this important tip as you start shopping for back to school!

Want more advice for teachers? Read Never, Ever, Serve Sugary Snacks on Rainy Days for teaching tips and some great quotes for teachers.