Best Inspirational Teacher Quotes
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219 Best Inspirational Teacher Quotes

A teacher is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue and who is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. We’ve compiled 186 inspirational quotes for teachers. These teacher quotes encompass a vast range of opinions, experiences, and perspectives. What inspirational teacher quotes strengthen and inspire you? Enjoy, and share the teacher quotes as you will.

1

“When one teaches, two learn.” – Robert Heinlein

2

“Those who know, do. Those that understand teach.” – Aristotle

3

“A true teacher defends his students against his influences.” – Amos Bronson Alcott

4

“A great teacher who is full of excitement and love for her students can make all the difference in their lives.” – Deval Patrick

5

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” – Albert Einstein

6

“The best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them.” – Gerald Belcher

7

“The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught as that every child should be given the wish to learn.” – John Lubbock

8

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Henri Bergson

9

“The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children.” – Louis Johannot

10

“If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s heroes.” – Guy Kawasaki

11

“Education is much more than a matter of imparting the knowledge and skills by which narrow goals are achieved. It is also about opening the child’s eyes to the needs and rights of others.” – Dalai Lama

12

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” – Zig Ziglar

13

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” – Carl Jung

14

“The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.” – Simone Weil

15

“A child’s first teacher is its mother.” – Peng Liyuan

16

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.” – Temple Grandin

17

“To this end, the greatest asset of a school is the personality of the teacher.” – John Strachan

18

“What greater joy can a teacher feel than to witness a child’s success.” – Michelle L. Graham

19

“No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” – Emma Goldman

20

“I have learned that, although I am a good teacher, I am a much better student, and I was blessed to learn valuable lessons from my students daily. They taught me the importance of teaching to a student – and not to a test.” – Erin Gruwell

21

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

22

“Teaching is an instinctual art, mindful of potential, craving of realizations, a pausing, seamless process.” – A. Bartlett Giamatti

23

“If kids come to educators and teachers from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.” – Barbara Coloroso

24

“Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.” – Oscar Wilde

25

“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

26

“I would teach how science works as much as I would teach what science knows.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

27

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre.” – Gail Godwin

28

“What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” – Karl A. Menninger

29

“The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.” – Joseph Campbell

30

“It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.” – Michael Morpurgo

31

“Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.” – Charles Kuralt

32

“A teacher should have a creative mind.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

33

“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” – George Bernard Shaw

34

“I was a classroom teacher myself before I chickened out and went to library school.” – Gerald Raftery

35

“A teacher affects eternity; he [or she] can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry B. Adams

36

“Teachers are people who start things they never see finished, and for which they never get thanks until it is too late.” – Max Forman

37

“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”

38

“One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.” – Philip Wylie

39

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” – Jacques Barzun

40

“I cannot be a teacher without exposing who I am.” – Paulo Freire

41

“Everyone, in some respect, is a teacher; some just work harder to do it better.” – Terry Heick

42

“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” – Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

43

“I wanted to be a teacher with a big T: teach the whole planet. It led me to write and speak to large groups.” – Jack Canfield

44

“At the desk where I sit, I have learned one great truth. The answer for all our national problems — the answer to all the problems of the world — comes to a single word. That word is education.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

45

“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” – Dan Rather

46

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupér

47

“Any good teacher knows how important it is to connect with students and understand our culture.” – Adora Svitak

48

“It takes a big heart to help shape little minds.”

49

“The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.” – Robert Brault

50

“A teacher is a person who never says anything once.” – Howard Nemerov

51

“If you are a lousy teacher, you should be fired.” – Geoffrey Canada

52

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” – John Cotton Dana

53

“Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honor than parents, who merely gave them birth; for the latter provided mere life, while the former ensured a good life.” – Aristotle

54

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” – Donald D. Quinn

55

“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.” – Joyce Meyer

56

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso

57

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” – Khalil Gibran

58

“The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning.”

59

“The teachers who get “burned out” are not the ones who are constantly learning, which can be exhilarating, but those who feel they must stay in control and ahead of the students at all times.” – Frank Martin

60

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

61

“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” – Jim Henson

62

“Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone’s knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier.” – John Dewey

63

“Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” – E. M. Forster

64

“The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-trust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciples. A noble artist, he has visions of excellence and revelations of beauty, which he has neither impersonated in character, nor embodied in words. His life and teachings are but studies for yet nobler ideals.” – A. Bronson Alcott

65

“Teaching creates all other professions.”

66

“There is no recipe to be a great teacher; that’s what is unique about them.” – Robert Sternberg

67

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

68

“Benevolence alone will not make a teacher, nor will learning alone do it. The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and implies a need and a craving in the teacher himself.” – John Jay Chapman

69

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Lily Tomlin

70

“Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.” – Marva Collins

71

“Education…is a painful, continual, and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning…by praise, but above all, by example.” – John Ruskin

72

“A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.” – D. Martin

73

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might be even the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” – John Steinbeck

74

“So what does a good teacher do? Create tension – but just the right amount.” – Donald Norman

75

“Listening is the most difficult skill to learn and the most important to have.” – African Proverb

76

“We’re trying to give the young people something that can help them, and we don’t know exactly what it ought to be.” – Wendell Berry

77

“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it” – Samuel Johnson

78

“Your work is not to drag the world, kicking and to scream into a new awareness. Your job is to do your work… sacredly, secretly, silently … and those with “eyes to see and ears to hear’ will respond.” – The Artisans

79

“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.” – Haim G. Ginott

80

“The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

81

“The best teachers are the ones that change their minds.” – Terry Heick

82

“Thirty-one chances. Thirty-one futures, our futures. It’s an almost psychotic feeling, believing that part of their lives belongs to me. Everything they become, I also become. And everything about me, they helped to create.” – Esme Raji Codell

83

“Teaching is truth mediated by personality.” – Phyllis Brooks

84

“Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.” – Bob Talbert

85

“Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them.”

86

“You cannot teach a man anything, and you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo Galilei

87

“Teaching is a profession in which capacity building should occur at every stage of the career – novices working with accomplished colleagues, skillful teachers sharing their craft, and opportunities for teacher leadership.” – Randi Weingarten

88

“In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers, and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.” – Lee Iacocca

89

“I am a teacher born and bred, and I believe in the advocacy of teachers. It’s a calling. We want our students to feel passionate and empowered.” – Erin Gruwell

90

“Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number.”

91

“Teaching is the perpetual end and office of all things. Teaching, instruction is the main design that shines through the sky and earth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

92

“Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” – Plato

93

“Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.” – John F. Kennedy

94

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

95

“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.”

96

“Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.” – Tracy Kidder

97

“One of the beauties of teaching is that there is no limit to one’s growth as a teacher, just as there is no knowing beforehand how much your students can learn.” – Herbert Kohl

98

“The object of teaching a child is to enable him [or her] to get along without his [or her] teacher.” – Elbert Hubbard

99

“The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad… Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy. ― Ivan Welton Fitzwater

100

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

101

“The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.” – K. Patricia Cross

102

“A cross-eyed teacher can keep twice the number of children in order than any other, because the pupils do not know who she’s looking at.”

103

“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to know to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact we haven’t so far.” – Ron Edmonds

104

“What greater or better gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth.” – Cicero

105

“Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” – Aristotle

106

“In an effective classroom, students should not only know what they are doing, but they should also know why and how.” – Harry Wong

107

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” – Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada

108

“Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher.” – Maggie Gallagher

109

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius

110

“We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family. Then we expect them to educate our children.” – John Sculley

111

“When the untapped potential of a student meets the liberating art of a teacher, a miracle unfolds.” – Mary Hatwood Futrell

112

“A good teacher is a determined person.” – Gilbert Highet

113

“To teach is to learn twice.” – Joseph Joubert

114

“I cannot teach anybody anything, and I can only make them think.” – Socrates

115

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes

116

“No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

117

“Thought flows in terms of stories–stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best storytellers. We learn in the form of stories.” – Frank Martin

118

“Teach the way you’d want to be taught.”

119

“We expert teachers know that motivation and emotional impact are what matter.” – Donald Norman

120

“The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds to satisfy it afterward; curiosity itself can be vivid and wholesome only in proportion as the mind is contented and happy.” – Anatole France

121

“Your worst enemy is your best teacher.” – Buddha

122

“I’m not sayin’ I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will.” – Tupac Shakur

123

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K. Trenfor

124

“The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me, education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.” – Muriel Spark

125

“Among the many purposes of schooling, four stand out to us as having special moral value: to love and care, to serve, to empower and, of course, to learn.” – Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan

126

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward

127

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

128

“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.” – Helen Caldicott

129

“A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions.” – Martin H. Fischer

130

“Learning is not a spectator sport.” – D. Blocher

131

“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers

132

“What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable, than that of teaching.” – Harriet Martineau

133

“The work of a teacher — exhausting, complex, idiosyncratic, never twice the same — is at its heart an ethical enterprise. Teaching is the vocation of vocations.” – William Ayres

134

“Good teaching is 1/4 preparation and 3/4 theatre.” – Gail Goldwin

135

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students.” – Solomon Ortiz

136

“If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught.” – Oscar Hammerstein II

137

“A pro is someone who can do great work when he doesn’t feel like it.” – Alastair Cook

138

“There are three good reasons to be a teacher — June, July, and August.”

139

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.’” – Dan Rather

140

“I touch the future. I teach.” – Christa McAuliffe

141

“If you don’t have a teacher you can’t have a disciple.” – Dallas Willard

142

“We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

143

“I am not a teacher but an awakener.” – Robert Frost

144

“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.” – Dr. Seuss

145

“The most important function of education at any level is to develop the personality of the individual and the significance of his life to himself and others. This is the basic architecture of a life; the rest is ornamentation and decoration of the structure.” – Grayson Kirk

146

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

147

“A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.” – Louis A. Berman

148

“Discover wildlife: be a teacher!

149

“If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I’ll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home.”

150

“If kids come to us from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.” – Barbara Coloroso

151

“To me, the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.” – George Bernard Shaw

152

“Death is not the greatest loss. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.” – Tupac Shakur

153

“The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” – William James

154

“Do not confine your children to your learning, for they were born in another time.” – Chinese Proverb

155

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

156

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” – Khalil Gibran

157

“A good teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” – Thomas Carruthers

158

“Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts.”

159

“Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is.” – William Glasser

160

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

161

“The teacher’s task is to initiate the learning process and then get out of the way.” – John Warren

162

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” – Bob Talbert

163

“Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

164

“I’ve never had the patience of a teacher.” – Josh Turner

165

“You can teach a person all you know, but the only experience will convince him that what you say is true.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

166

“You cannot teach a crab to walk straight.” – Aristophanes

167

“As a teacher, my strategy is to encourage questioning. I’m the least authoritarian professor you’ll ever meet.” – Niall Ferguson

168

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” – Colleen Wilcox

169

“The best teacher is an entertainer.” – Bob Keeshan

170

“Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.”

171

“Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures.” – Eugene P. Bertin

172

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

173

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” – Margaret Fuller

174

“All teachings are mere references. The true experience is living your own life.” – Ming-Dao Deng

175

“The duties of a teacher are neither few nor small, but they elevate the mind and give energy to the character.” – Dorothea Dix

176

“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.”

177

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese Proverb

178

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.” – Plato

179

“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.” – The Talmud

180

“Proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you have always known.” – Frank Herbert

181

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audience’s attention, and then he can teach his lesson.” – John Henrik Clarke

182

“To know how to suggest is the art of teaching.” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

183

“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.”

184

“Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.”–Scott Hayden

185

“The need for imagination, as a sense of truth, and as a feeling of responsibility — these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education.” – Rudolf Steiner

186

“I entered the classroom with the conviction that every other student and I needed to be an active participant, not a passive consumer…education that connects the will to know with the will to become.” – Bell Hooks

187

“My teacher bribed me back into learning with candy and money, and what was remarkable was before very long. I had such a respect for her that it re-ignited my desire to learn.” – Steve Jobs

188

“Good teaching must be slow enough so that it is not confusing, and fast enough so that it is not boring.” – Sidney J. Harris

189

“Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help.” – Bodhidharma

190

“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask which he finds it hard to answer.” – Alice Wellington Rollins

191

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

192

“It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the heart…(people) respond to leadership most remarkably, and once you have won (their) heart, (they) will follow you anywhere.” – Vince Lombardi

193

“The ability to think straight, some knowledge of the past, some vision of the future, some skill to do useful service, some urge to fit that service into the well-being of the community — these are the most vital things education must try to produce.” – Virginia Gildersleeve

194

“In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.” – Jacques Barzun

195

“Teachers touch the future.”

196

“Teachers teach someone something in that order.” – Samuel Natale

197

“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honor for me.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

198

“A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” – Thomas Carruthers

199

“Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” – John Steinbeck

200

“A teacher should have maximal authority and minimal power.” – Thomas Szasz

201

“Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous.” – Chinese Proverb

202

“A great teacher can teach Calculus with a paper clip and literature in an empty field. Technology is just another tool, not a destination.”

203

“Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the “naturals,” the ones who somehow know how to teach.” – Peter Drucker

204

“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not understand it.” – Charles F. Kettering

205

“It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.” – Robert Hutchins

206

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” – Horace Mann

207

“You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails.”

208

“No one should teach who is not in love with teaching.” – Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

209

“There is no failure. Only feedback.”–Robert Allen

210

“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” – Eliphas Levi

211

“A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

212

“Teachers cultivate the young minds who are responsible for the future.” – Keith Wynn

213

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.” – Maria Montessori

214

“One time, the teacher was the storehouse of knowledge. That will no longer be so. So what would a teacher do? An excellent teacher will play the role of augmenter. Also, the teacher will be located anywhere and helping students.” – Shiv Nadar

215

“What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased.”

216

“Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

217

“A truly special teacher is very wise, and sees tomorrow in every child’s eyes.”

218

“Teaching is the essential profession, the one that makes all professions possible.” – David Haselkorn

219

“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” – Wendell Berry

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