30 inspirational quotes for teachers

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Your job as a teacher is to inspire your students. But who inspires you?

Luckily, some of the most famous writers, educators, innovators and change-makers have left us with words of teaching wisdom that can turn even the most difficult day around.

We've gathered up 30 of the best inspirational teacher quotes to keep close at hand. In our list, you’ll find the best motivational quotes for expressing appreciation for brilliant teachers, inspiring your students or getting motivated in the classroom at any point in the school year.

These quotes can help you (or your favorite educator) fall in love with teaching again, and remember why you started in the first place.

What are the best teacher appreciation quotes?

A good teacher can awaken joy in their students and leave a positive impression that lasts a lifetime. But from time to time, every educator can use a little reminder of just how important they are, and how far their influence can go.

Use these uplifting quotes to express gratitude for that amazing teacher who is always there for you:

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

2. “One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” - Malala Yousafzai

3. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Henry Adams

4. “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” - B.B. King

5. “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 they can possibly be.” - Rita Pierson

What inspirational teacher quotes can strengthen and inspire you?

In any classroom, it’s not just the students who are there to learn. As a teacher, you can give yourself the opportunity to learn from your class in new and unexpected ways each day. For instance, exploring innovative teaching methods might inspire you to delve into technology and, who knows, even spark the idea to build an educational app(opens in a new tab or window) that enhances the learning experience beyond traditional methods. And remember that your job isn’t just about sharing knowledge. You have the power to spark an interest and desire to learn that extends far beyond books and blackboards.

For those times when you’re challenging your students as well as yourself, these education quotes can spark a renewed sense of passion and possibility:

6. “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” - Phil Collins

7. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

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

9. “We never know which lives we influence, or when or why.” - Stephen King

10. “[Kids] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” - Jim Henson

11. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” - Margaret Mead

12. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” - Malcolm X

13. “Don’t just teach your children to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything!” - George Carlin

What quotes can you use to motivate a teacher?

Teaching kids can be a tough job. Bad days happen to everyone, and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re not getting through to your students. But learning is a process — and as an educator, it’s about helping your students grow and making sure they know you care.

For those difficult times in the classroom, these motivational quotes can inspire hard working educators to get up, dust themselves off and make a fresh start:

14. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” - H.G. Wells

15. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” - Ronald Reagan

16. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” - Henry David Thoreau

17. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

18. “Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti

19. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - John C. Maxwell

What are some funny teacher quotes?

A teacher’s job is filled with ups and downs, some more amusing than others. These favorite inspirational quotes say it all with the right balance of wit and wisdom to help put a smile on any teacher’s face:

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

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

22. “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison

23. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss

What quotes can be a good reminder of why you became a teacher?

Whether you’re a new teacher or you’ve been sharing knowledge with generations of students, these inspirational quotes bring a fresh perspective to help you remember why you do what you do every day:

24. “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” - Robert Frost

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

26. “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.” - Aristotle

27. “Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.” - Abraham Lincoln

28. “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” - C.S. Lewis

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

30. “Education is not to reform students or amuse them, or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.” – Robert M. Hutchins

Creative ways to use your favorite teacher quotes

Whether you’re an educator or someone whose life has been positively impacted by a brilliant teacher, there are plenty of ways to use teaching quotes.

If you’re inspired, try working a quote into your own creative expression as a way to say “thanks.” Or, you can simply share some words of wisdom to inspire others in your teaching community. Either way, here are a few ideas to start with:

Displaying teacher quotes in the classroom

Sharing teacher quotes online

Using quotes to thank a great teacher

Ready to start creating? Learn more about how teachers can use Canva Pro(opens in a new tab or window) features for free with Canva for Education(opens in a new tab or window).

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