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Reading time: 3 minutes. Relevant opportunity: Exam ready programme from The Fixup Team 

Motivational speaker Action Jackson of The Fixup Team explains why he believes teachers must believe in themselves to show love to their students – based on the benefit he gained from his own teachers

Education gave me the foundation to become a solid well-rounded person; with greater confidence and dignity. The classroom was more than a place of learning, it was a place to unlock my potential. My insecurities were silenced and the giant in me came alive.

From the amazing teachers to the mediocre ones, every educator I came across had a part to play in the unlocking of my potential. I remember the appreciation of my art teacher Ms Harris. I worked hard to gain her approval, I felt like she cared. I intuitively knew I mattered. This only worked because she had enough love and care to give, so her words and attention mattered to me. Her class was a gateway to my promised land. Her input then is still with me now.

This is why I believe teacher wellbeing and student motivation are inextricably linked. Without them where would we be? The future of this nation is in your classroom and the state of your students’ mindsets is connected to whether you feel up to the task. Because of you they will either fall in love with learning and grow, or fall into apathy and self-loathing. It’s like the captain of the plane falling ill: without him or her we are not taking off.

I intuitively knew I mattered… because the teacher had enough love and care to give, so her words and attention mattered to me… Her input then is still with me now

After spending 20 years in education working with millions of students from across the nation and the world, I have discovered one thing. That is, it’s not what’s taught, it’s what’s caught that matters.

When these amazing young people watch their favourite singer or rapper, or engage in a seven-hour binge of their Netflix show, they are connected, highly tuned in because the person on the other side of the screen is totally present and full of passion and purpose. This is exactly what’s needed in the classroom. Presence!

I know some may say that with all the workload teachers have to manage it’s hard to be totally present. The truth is you can’t afford not to.

Nurturing how you approach teaching is crucial for the learners and your fulfilment. We must never lose sight of why we are in this in the first place. You matter. To that 15-year-old girl you are the closest she has to a real mum, to that apathetic boy you are the closest he has to a bigger brother or a father figure. You see, at the deepest level there’s only one thing we are looking for as humans and that is the four-letter word that the Beatles sang about. Love. Yes, that word that some educators fear to express to themselves, let alone their learners.

Influential US educator Nicholas Ferroni said: ‘Kids who are loved at home come to school to learn, kids who are not, come to school to be loved.’

When you show yourself love and care it makes it easier to express it at work: the energy lifts you and any room you enter. Love is an under-utilised energy that can work wonders. It’s the reason why we engage with one another. On a scientific level, when you show someone (including yourself) love, the chemical oxytocin is released in the brain, which creates a biochemical shift in the body that can bond two people together: mother and child, student and teacher, etc. This kind of development only comes when you take the responsibility to appreciate yourself and stop walking around like you’re nothing. Look at the years you’ve put into building your career and the sacrifices you’ve made to make yourself available. So you deserve that love and appreciation. It’s a task that you have to take responsibility for; you matter, so put yourself first because, without you, people like me would not have the opportunity to unlock our potential and inspire the next generation as a motivational speaker for young people.

Put yourself first because, without you, people like me would not have the opportunity to unlock our potential and inspire the next generation

As a trainer and educator I teach many tools and techniques that can move people from burnout to amazing.

How to stay motivated and refreshed:

  1. Write your why statement. Why did you get into education?
  2. Keep a gratitude journal of magic moments.
  3. Mirror talk: commend yourself daily in the mirror.
  4. Become part of a community of amazing educators.
  5. Send emails of appreciation to other educators.

Remember that the future of our nation is in your classrooms and the key to unlocking your students’ potential is to care for them; but you can’t care for them until you care for yourself. You matter, you are amazing. Thank you for what you do. Because of you I am me. We are living in delicate times and mental resilience and a movement towards greater caring is important. Never think your work isn’t good enough. As we approach the exam season, please remember that every effort you make is moving a young person closer to a brighter future. So thank you!

Thanks for reading this, I would like to hear what you got from it. Come over to twitter @Actionjackson to say hi or you can email me at Our website is

Read more on the SSAT blog: We infect them with our passion – and our stress

 Follow Action Jackson on Twitter

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