The rush of inspiration that comes from motivating others is something that all teachers enjoy. However, whether it’s writing report cards or managing a classroom, daily concerns can make it difficult to stay inspired. 

We combed through dozens of books, teacher magazines, Pinterest boards, and other websites to compile a list of 60 of our best teacher motivating quotes. Refresh your day or week with these motivational quotations from some of the world’s most illustrious educators and intellectuals!


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

― William Arthur Ward

Good teaching must be slow enough so that it is not confusing, and fast enough so that it is not boring.

― Sidney J. Harris

In an effective classroom, students should not only know what they are doing, they should also know why and how.

― Harry Wong

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.

Best Teachers Quotes

― Gail Godwin

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

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

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

― Albert Einstein

Teaching is an instinctual art, mindful of potential, craving of realizations, a pausing, seamless process.

― A. Bartlett Giamatti

The teacher’s task is to initiate the learning process and then get out of the way.

― John Warren


Quotes about teaching’s lasting impact

A teacher affects eternity; he [or she] can never tell where his influence stops.

― Henry B. Adams

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

― Jacques Barzun

The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

― William James

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

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

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― Max Forman

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

What greater joy can a teacher feel than to witness a child’s success?

― Michelle L. Graham


Quotes about teaching students to think critically

The best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them.

― Gerald Belcher

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

― Albert Einstein

Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.

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― Josef Albers

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

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


Quotes about the difficulty of teaching

Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is.

― William Glasser

A pro is someone who can do great work when he doesn’t feel like it.

― Alastair Cook

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

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

― Jacques Barzun

Teaching is the only major occupation…for which we have not 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

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.

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― Haim Ginott

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 in order 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

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

No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.

― Althea Gibson

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

When the untapped potential of a student meets the liberating art of a teacher, a miracle unfolds.

― Mary Hatwood Futrell

[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.

― Jim Henson


Quotes about teaching’s importance

Teaching is the essential profession, the one that makes all professions possible.

― David Haselkorn

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

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

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

― Helen Caldicott

What greater or better gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth?

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― Cicero

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 Colorose

To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.

― George Bernard Shaw

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

― Lyndon B. Johnson

How to Use These Teacher Quotes?

These teacher quotes encompass a vast range of opinions, experiences and perspectives. It may be overwhelming to consider them all at once. It’s also easy to read a quote and become inspired, only to promptly forget about it.