25 Inspirational Quotes for Teachers | American University (2024)

Teachers may do most of the inspiring, but even they need some inspiration every now and then. The following 25 quotes are for the everyday heroes in the classroom making a difference, one student at a time.

1) I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.

– Socrates

Teachers ask questions and help students find answers. Yet learning isn’t only about finding the right answer, but also creating the road that leads to the answer. Learning with every step is the true sign of progress.

2) Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin

Memories fade with time and lessons are forgotten, but experiences shape a human being and leave a lasting mark. Teachers have the privilege of guiding early experiences and discoveries.

3) Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.

– Colleen Wilcox

In the face of disrespect, misbehavior, and lack of student enthusiasm, teachers are the believers. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and they lead step by step—truly the greatest act of optimism.

4) 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

Knowledge is food for thought, and while food is perishable, thoughts persist. Teachers feed the whole world, many times over.

5) Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

– John Dewey

Learning may begin in the classroom, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Teachers set up the signs for the road ahead that is life itself. They inspire students to learn wherever life may take them.

6) What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.

– Joseph Addison

The carving and chipping away to create a masterpiece take years of dedication. Teachers help students discover their interests, passions, and ultimately themselves.

7) Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.

– Unknown

Teachers give us comic artists, filmmakers, astronauts, architects, and entrepreneurs. Without teachers, we wouldn’t have Superman, the Eiffel Tower, or the internet. Ultimately, it is the teachers who have the greatest superpower: creating superheroes.

8) Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.

– Confucius

Knowledge empowers leaders, drives breakthroughs, and inspires discoveries. With every milestone reached, sights are set beyond the horizon, bringing hope and peace for the journey ahead.

9) If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.

– Jim Rohn

Maybe detention isn’t always the solution. For kids who can’t tell right from left or wrong from right, pointing them in the right direction may be more effective. For teachers, that means teaching life lessons that aren’t necessarily common knowledge.

10) 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

Sometimes, the truth hurts. Students are taught to respect those who lead with a firm—and often stern—hand because they know that the teachers are rooting for them.

11) The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

– Mark Van Doren

The atom, gravity, and elements of the earth’s core have been discovered by scientists, but students are on their own journeys, discovering for themselves. What their journey looks like begins with their teachers.

12) What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.

– Karl Meninger

We give what we have, but how we give is up to us. The knowledge teachers share will always be shaped by who they are, and students will remember how teachers made them feel as they were learning.

13) Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.

– Rita Pierson

They say winners are made, not born. But who makes them? The instructors, the trainers, and the teachers—the ones who are there at the beginning, during failures, and after successes. The reason champions don’t give up is because their teachers didn’t give up on them.

14) The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

– William A. Ward

It only takes a flicker to ignite the fire of inspiration. In the classroom, teachers bring ideas to life not just by sharing—but by encouraging imagination. And there’s no telling what a child’s mind can imagine.

15) Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.

– Japanese Proverb

Learning from a truly great teacher is discovery—not studying. And a thousand days seem like one day for the inspired pupil.

16) A good teacher is like a candle—it consumes itself to light the way for others.

– Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

A generous salary, benefits, and paid vacation days are nice, but the joy of sacrificial giving is priceless. Teachers may experience the struggle of perseverance but know the results of their efforts can never be truly rewarded.

17) Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.

– William Butler Yeats

Teachers work with what they have. Their time and resources may be limited, but a young mind is limitless. Student passion for learning is all that is necessary for teachers to do their job.

18) Teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts; it is acquiring understanding.

– William Arthur Ward

One plus one may equal two, but the results of the equation don’t end there. Like a mathematical formula, knowledge is useful, but if the knowledge is not applied and does not inspire change, then it will be forgotten. True understanding is a catalyst for action.

19) Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.

– Margaret Mead

Laws, theories, and facts may change, but a logical thought process is what keeps us moving forward. Teachers may focus on teaching standards, administering tests, and grading projects, but they must never lose sight of how they are shaping young minds to think for themselves.

20) You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.

– Clay P. Bedford

A curious mind cannot be satisfied. It wants to see, feel, and learn every day. What better place for a curious child than the classroom? Teachers who encourage curiosity in their students will know that they made an impact that will last a lifetime.

21) 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 Colorose

Is it the clothes they are wearing or their school supplies that speak the loudest? Students may be influenced by their families and upbringing, but it is up to teachers to bring out the best in each one. Treating each student as unique and worthy of being taught is an everyday challenge that requires teachers to set aside personal biases and preconceptions.

22) What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.

– George Bernard Shaw

A desire to learn must be nurtured—not forced. A teacher’s job is made easier when a student demonstrates a desire to learn, but students who need a bit of encouragement produce the most rewarding results.

23) Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

– Anonymous

Being the smartest person in the room doesn’t guarantee respect, and kindness is not dependent on words or knowledge. Caring is shown through actions, motives and personal sacrifice.

24) It takes a big heart to help shape little minds.

– Unknown

A big heart isn’t bent on seeking power, status, or recognition for itself. A big heart cares for the needs of the weak and the small. Maybe that’s why not everyone is called to be a teacher.

25) Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

– Nelson Mandela

Historically, education was reserved for the wealthy and privileged to ensure power stayed with the elite. However, times have changed and change has been created by people from all walks of life. The thread weaving the change-makers together? Education.

25 Inspirational Quotes for Teachers | American University (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated:

Views: 5263

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.