To investigate what keeps teachers motivated on a day-to-day basis, we traced the importance of routinely encountered affective episodes. Significant research on emotions already highlights the relative importance of positive versus negative episodes, the importance of perceived origins of events and the need to differentiate between the frequency and affective intensity of episodes. Survey reports from 749 recently qualified primary teachers in Ireland strongly suggest the absence of positive experiences undermines commitment and efficacy rather than the occurrence of negative events. Furthermore, while remote structural factors may heavily influence teaching, it is the perception of events at micro-level that impinge most strongly on motivation. Finally, the importance of particular experiences was, crucially, more related to their frequency than intensity. A major implication for teachers' job satisfaction is the suggestion that while adverse episodes may be inevitably experienced, positive events (that occur independently of negative ones) fortify motivation and resilience.