60 of The Best Inspirational Teacher Quotes

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Below is a collection of inspiring teacher quotes that I curated over the last few days. These are nuggets of wisdom that came out of the mouths of notable individuals whose thoughts, ideas, deeds, and activism, have shaped the world as we know it today. I spent several hours researching, curating, and selecting what I believe are some of the best inspirational quotes for teachers, educators, and students. Admittedly, the selection is  subjective and there are definitely several other quotes that could have been included. However, due to space constraints and  in order to make the list more practical I limited it to 60 quotes. 

As I was working on this list, I came across numerous wonderful teacher quotes that were anonymously authored, I excluded these quotes. I only featured quotes from verified sources and cited in credible authority sites. As you can see in the list of sources at the bottom of this post, I drew on three main websites and a book. 

inspiring teacher quotes

As for the websites, there is the Edutopia teacher quotes Pinterest page which features  a growing collection of inspiring teacher quotes. What I like the most about Edutopia's collection is the fact that most of the quotes  included are  quotes from fellow teachers and educators. I also drew on Brainy Quotes and AZ Quotes, two of the most popular sources of quotations online. I avoided Wikiquote for the simple fact that the sources there are open to anyone to edit. As for the book, I used John Blaydes' The Educators Book of Quotes. 

In compiling this compendium of inspiring teacher quotes, and although the list is disproportionately dominated by quotes from individuals from English and/or American descent,  I did my best to include quotes from notable people from different countries and with different cultural, racial, social, and linguistic backgrounds. Wisdom has no geographic or cultural restrictions and is certainly not bounded within a given race or biological ecosystem, wisdom is the cumulative work of the whole humankind.

I prepared this list in recognition for the great work teachers do on everyday basis and for the sacrifices they take to build an educated and enlightened global citizenry.The teacher quotes I selected span various  thematic areas related to success, inspiration, motivation, perseverance, learning, education, among others.

I invite you to check this collection of inspiring teacher quotes and use EdTech and mLearning's social media profiles to share  your best teacher quotes.

60 Inspiring teacher quotes:

1- 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world'. Nelson Mandela (Leader,  Nobel Peace Prize laureate).

inspiring teacher quotes

2- 'Reading is not walking on the words; it's grasping the soul of them'. Paulo Freire (Educator, Author).

3- 'One child, one teacher, one pen, & one book can change the world'. Malala Yousafzai (Nobel Peace Prize laureate). 

4- 'I am not a teacher but an awakener'. Robert Frost (Poet).

5- 'If you judge people you have no time to love them'. Mother Teresa (Nobel Peace Prize laureate).

6- 'So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable'. Christopher Reeve (Actor).

7- 'You can learn anything you need to learn to achieve any goal you set for yourself. There are no limits except the limits you place on your imagination'. Brian Tracy (Motivational Speaker, Author).

8- 'Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent'. Jean Kerr (Writer, Lyricist).

9- 'Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity'. Oprah Winfrey (Author, TV Producer, and Talk Show Host)

10- 'Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave'. Lord Brougham (Lord Chancellor of England).

11- 'School is not preparation for life, but school is life'. John Dewey (Educator, Philosopher, and Psychologist). 

12- 'To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting'. Edmund Burke (British Statesman).

inspiring teacher quotes

13- '
I am not concerned whether you failed, but if you are content with your failure'. Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President).

14- 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance'. Derek Bok (Harvard Professor, Author) .

15- 'Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal'. Henry Ford (Businessman).

16- 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit'. Aristotle (Philosopher).

17- 'Your success and happiness lie within you. External conditions are the accidents of life'. Helen Keller (Author).

18- 'Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration'. Thomas Edison (Inventor).

19- 'If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change'. Wayne Dyer (Author).

20- 'If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude'. Maya Angelou (Poet).

21- 'Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree'. Martin Luther King (Activist).

22- 'Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally'. David Frost (Talk Show Host, Journalist, Author).

23- 'Eighty percent of success is showing up'. Woody Allen (Film Director).

24- 'A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops'. Henry Adams (Historian).

25- 'I touch the future. I teach'. Christa McAuliffe (Astronaut).

26- 'I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers'. Khalil Gibran (Poet).

27- 'Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it'. Confucius (Philosopher).

28- 'I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well'. Alexander the Great (Leader).

29- 'The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts'. C. S. Lewis (Writer).

30- 'They may forget what you said - but they will never forget how you made them feel'. Carl W. Buehner (Politician).

31- 'It always seems impossible until it's done'. Nelson Mandela (Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Leader).

32- 'If you can dream it, you can do it'. Walt Disney (Businessman).

33- 'Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds'. Gordon B. Hinckley (Author, Religious Leader).

34- 'Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th'. Julie Andrews (Actress).

35- 'Excellence is not a skill, it's an attitude'. Ralph Marston (Writer).

36- 'For success, attitude is equally as important as ability'. Walter Scott (Novelist).

37- 'Between stimulus and response, there is a space where we choose our response'. Stephen Covey (Educator).

38- 'Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply'. Stephen Covey (Educator).

39- 'A problem is a chance for you to do your best'. Duke Ellington (Musician).

40- 'This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes'. Hannah Arendt (Philosopher).

41- 'There are two days in the year that we can not do anything, yesterday and tomorrow'. Mahatma Gandhi (lawyer, Activist).

42- 'Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know'. James A. Baldwin (Novelist).

43- 'Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly'. Langston Hughes (Poet, Novelist, Playwright).

44- 'I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying'. Michael Jordan (Basketball Player).

45- 'Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses'. Kobe Bryant (Basketball Player).

46- 'If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe it is the box that needs fixing'. Malcolm Gladwell (Journalist).

47- 'Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul'. Joyce Carol Oates (Author).

48- 'In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I'm going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here's a chance to grow'. Carol S. Dweck (Psychologist).

49- 'The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.' Simone Weil (philosopher).

50- 'You don't lose if you get knocked down; you lose if you stay down.' Muhammad Ali (Professional Boxer).

51- 'Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.' Vincent Van Gogh (Painter).

52- 'Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.' Leonardo da Vinci (Painter).

53- 'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.' Albert Einstein (Physicist).

54- 'There is nothing so confining as the prisons of our own perceptions'. William Shakespeare (Poet).

55- 'Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.' Leo Tolstoy (Author).

56- 'The most important thing in life is to stop saying 'I wish' and start saying 'I will.' Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities'. Charles Dickens (Author).

57- 'Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you'. Walt Whitman (Poet).

58- 'Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go'. T. S. Eliot (Playwright).

59- 'You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind'. Joyce Meyer (Author).

60- 'Only the educated are free'. Epictetus (Philosopher).


The Educator's Book of Quotes, by John Blaydes (Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate link)