Teaching Quotes for Inspired Educators

Use these teaching quotes to reset your sense of purpose after a hard day’s (or year’s!) work, or remind you of what makes a good teacher. And don’t forget to spread a little inspiration around – use one in your e-mail signature and include them in your parent e-mails or newsletters.

Teaching Quotes: Children

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.
~Jacob Bronowski

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.
~Mark Twain

teaching quotes students on playground

Teacher Quotes: The Purpose of Education

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
~Daniel J. Boorstin

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
~B. F. Skinner

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

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.
~Robert M. Hutchins

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
~Sydney J. Harris

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

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

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Betsy Weigle

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Achieving Classroom Confidence book cover

Teaching Quotes: Good Teaching

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

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

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
~Thomas Carruthers

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.

A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.
~Terri Guillemets

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.
~Author Unknown

The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.
~Robert Brault

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
~John Cotton Dana

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning.
~Author Unknown

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
~Helen Keller

Good teachers are those who know how little they know. Bad teachers are those who think they know more than they don’t know.

~R. Verdi

Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.

~Nikos Kazantzakis

Teacher Quotes: An Educated Person

The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.
~Carl Rogers

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
~Chinese Proverb

Teaching Quotes: Teaching Methodology

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.
~Chinese Proverb


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

Teacher Quotes: Lifetime Impact

teaching quotes girl at park

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

An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.
~Source Unknown

The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.
~Tom Bodett quotes

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.
~Author Unknown

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.
~Author Unknown