50 Amazing Quotes About Teaching That Will Change Your Perspective

Teaching is an art as much as it is a science, intertwining the joy of sharing knowledge with the profound impact of shaping the future. Every quote in this anthology is not just a string of words but a beacon of wisdom, illuminating the path for educators and students alike.

From the timeless reflections of ancient philosophers to the practical musings of modern-day teachers, this compilation promises to enlighten, encourage, and empower those who hold the noble task of educating others.

1. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward”

William Arthur Ward, an often-quoted writer of inspirational maxims, captures the essence of a teacher’s impact in this quote. It’s a hierarchy of teaching effectiveness, emphasizing that the highest level of teaching is not just about transferring knowledge but inspiring students to seek their own.

2. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Young

This quote from Nelson Mandela, a renowned leader in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, highlights his belief in education as a tool for transformation and societal change. Mandela’s own life, marked by his commitment to education even during his imprisonment, stands as a testament to this belief.

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

Henry Adams, an American historian, and member of the Adams political family, succinctly describes the far-reaching impact of teachers. This quote underlines the idea that a teacher’s influence extends beyond the classroom and throughout the lives of their students.

4. “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” – Jacques Barzun

Jacques Barzun, a French-American historian known for his studies of the history of ideas and cultural history, points out the undervalued status of teaching in modern society. This quote challenges us to reevaluate and revive our appreciation for the art of teaching.

5. “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” – Aristotle

Attributed to Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, this quote emphasizes the depth of understanding required to teach. It suggests that true knowledge is not just about doing but understanding deeply enough to explain to others.

6. “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” – Robert Frost

Robert Frost Photo

Robert Frost, one of the most acclaimed American poets, suggests that the role of a teacher goes beyond mere instruction. It’s about awakening curiosity and understanding in students. This reflects Frost’s approach to poetry, where he aimed to stir deep, often overlooked emotions and thoughts in his readers.

7. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats, a famous Irish poet, emphasizes the idea that education should be about sparking curiosity and a love for learning rather than just filling students with facts. This quote beautifully captures the transformative power of education.

8. “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

Mark Van Doren, an influential American poet, critic, and teacher, highlights the role of a teacher in facilitating discovery rather than simply delivering knowledge. His teaching style at Columbia University was renowned for encouraging students to think independently.

9. “Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” – Colleen Wilcox

Colleen Wilcox, an educational administrator, encapsulates the inherently hopeful nature of teaching in this quote. It speaks to the belief that every effort a teacher makes is an investment in a better, more informed future.

10. “Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers

Josef Albers

Josef Albers, a German-born American artist and educator, recognized for his work as an abstract painter and a theorist, points out the importance of stimulating critical thinking in students. His approach to teaching art was not about providing answers but encouraging exploration and questioning.

11. “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

Brad Henry, a former governor of Oklahoma, succinctly encapsulates the profound impact a good teacher can have on a student’s life. This quote reflects his advocacy for education during his tenure.

12. “Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” – John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, the renowned American author, elevates teaching to the highest form of art. His understanding of the human condition, evident in his literary works, resonates in this perspective on teaching.

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

C.S. Lewis, a British writer and lay theologian, offers a metaphorical view on education. This quote suggests the role of education in nurturing and enriching minds, rather than merely clearing out old notions.

14. “What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” – Karl A. Menninger

Karl Menninger

Karl A. Menninger, a famous American psychiatrist, emphasizes the influence of a teacher’s character and values over the specific content they teach. His work in psychology underscores the importance of personal influence in education.

15. “Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual.” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a revered Indian scientist and former President of India, highlights the noble nature of teaching. Known for his dedication to education, Kalam’s own life exemplifies this quote.

16. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, underscores the power of education in this quote. Her own courageous fight for education rights embodies this belief.

17. “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, the world-renowned physicist, saw teaching not just as a transfer of knowledge, but as an art that stimulates joy and creativity. This reflects his own unconventional approach to learning and thinking.

18. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr., a prominent leader in the American civil rights movement, emphasizes the dual role of education in developing intelligence and character. His advocacy for education was integral to his vision for equality.

19. “Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.” – Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt, an American journalist, acknowledges the unique ability of good teachers to recognize and nurture the potential in each student. Known for his insightful journalism, Kuralt had a keen eye for observing human qualities.

20. “The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you.” – Dan Rather

Dan Rather, a well-known American journalist, captures the pivotal role teachers play in inspiring and believing in the dreams of their students. His career in journalism reflects a commitment to uncovering and nurturing truths, akin to a teacher’s role in education.

21. “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” – Chinese Proverb

This Chinese proverb encapsulates the idea that while teachers can provide opportunities and guidance, it is up to the student to take the initiative to learn and grow.

22. “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” – Unknown

teacher and student

This quote, often cited without a specific author, beautifully illustrates the multi-faceted role of a teacher in not only educating but also inspiring and emotionally connecting with students.

23. “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K.Trenfor

Alexandra K. Trenfor, an educator and author, highlights the importance of teachers fostering independent thinking and exploration rather than dictating what students should think.

24. “Teaching is not just a job. It is a human service, and it must be thought of as a mission.” – Dr. Ralph Tyler

Dr. Ralph Tyler, a notable American educator and assessment theorist, emphasizes the service-oriented and mission-driven nature of teaching, reflecting his lifelong dedication to education reform and curriculum development.

25. “The influence of a good teacher can never be erased.” – Unknown

This quote, often attributed to an anonymous source, speaks to the lasting impact a good teacher can have on an individual’s life, echoing a sentiment widely shared in the educational community.

26. “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius

Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher, links education with a progressive chain leading to peace, showcasing his deep understanding of the societal role of education.

27. “When one teaches, two learn.” – Robert Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Heinlein, a prominent American science-fiction author, succinctly captures the reciprocal nature of teaching and learning, where both teacher and student benefit from the educational experience.

28. “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” – Unknown

This quote, often cited without a specific author, highlights the foundational role of teaching in society, as every professional once was a student under a teacher’s guidance.

29. “It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.” – Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo, a former Children’s Laureate and renowned author of children’s literature, emphasizes the pivotal role of the teacher over the physical environment of learning. This quote reflects his understanding of the importance of personal guidance and inspiration in education, themes often present in his own storytelling.

30. “In teaching others we teach ourselves.” – Proverb

This proverb reflects the notion that the act of teaching reinforces and deepens the teacher’s own knowledge and understanding, highlighting the mutual benefit of the teaching-learning process.

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

Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, this quote emphasizes the importance of early education in shaping responsible and knowledgeable adults. Lincoln’s commitment to education was a cornerstone of his belief in a better future.

32. “The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of their wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” – Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American writer, poet, and visual artist, best known for his book “The Prophet,” articulates the role of a teacher as a guide to self-discovery rather than an authoritarian figure of knowledge. This reflects his philosophy that true learning involves exploring and understanding one’s own mind and potential.

33. “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.” – Unknown

This quote, often attributed to an unknown author, highlights the foundational role of teaching in building every other profession, reflecting the critical importance of educators in society.

34. “A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” – Thomas Carruthers

Thomas Carruthers, an educator, here articulates the goal of teaching: to empower students to become independent learners, a philosophy central to progressive education.

35. “Teaching is leaving a vestige of oneself in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures.” – Eugene P. Bertin

Eugene P. Bertin, known for his contributions to education, eloquently describes teaching as an act of imparting one’s knowledge and values to foster the growth of another. This quote beautifully captures the idea that teaching is not just a profession but a personal investment in the future of others.

36. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

John Dewey

John Dewey, an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, profoundly influenced education with his theories on progressive education. Dewey believed that education should be based on the principle of learning through doing, preparing students not just for future challenges but for living a meaningful life in the present.

37. “The best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them.” – Gerald Belcher

Gerald Belcher, known for his educational philosophies, emphasizes the active role of students in their own education, suggesting that the most effective learning occurs through self-discovery and engagement.

38. “A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.” – Darwin D. Martin

Darwin D. Martin, an influential figure in the early 20th-century business world, humorously but accurately describes the teacher’s role in channeling students’ energy and potential in constructive directions.

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

Joyce Meyer, a well-known Christian author and speaker, encapsulates the transformative potential of teaching that combines the right tools and challenges, emphasizing the practical aspects of effective teaching.

40. “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, a renowned media personality and philanthropist, emphasizes the empowering nature of education. Her own journey and commitment to educational causes highlight the transformative power of learning.

41. “The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.” – Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard, an American writer and philosopher, highlights the goal of education as fostering independence in learners, a principle that resonates with self-directed learning philosophies.

42. “To teach is to learn twice.” – Joseph Joubert

Joseph Joubert, a French moralist and essayist, succinctly states the reciprocal nature of teaching, where the act of teaching reinforces the teacher’s own understanding and knowledge.

43. “Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.” – W.B. Yeats

W.B. Yeats, an influential Irish poet and playwright, uses a powerful metaphor to describe education as a catalyst for sparking curiosity and passion, rather than merely a vessel for information.

44. “Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” – Scott Hayden

Scott Hayden, an educator and thought leader, beautifully articulates the passion that drives many teachers, emphasizing their commitment to both knowledge and their students.

45. “If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s heroes.” – Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, a notable marketing specialist and author, advocates for the recognition of teachers as pivotal figures in society, reflecting his appreciation for the profound impact of educators.

46. “The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” – Unknown

This quote, often attributed to an anonymous source, speaks to the importance of passion and personal engagement in teaching, beyond just academic knowledge or textbooks.

47. “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates

Socrates, the classical Greek philosopher, known for his Socratic method, highlights the importance of stimulating critical thinking in students rather than just imparting knowledge.

48. “Teaching is the act of sharing the knowledge we have been given by others with hope that someday, in some way, it again will be passed on.” – Tom Krause

Tom Krause, a motivational speaker and teacher, emphasizes the cyclical nature of knowledge and the hopeful continuity of teaching.

49. “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less.” – Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca, a prominent American automobile executive, acknowledges the paramount importance of teaching, suggesting a societal reevaluation of the profession’s value.

50. “The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.” – Amos Bronson Alcott

Amos Bronson Alcott, an American teacher and philosopher, and father of Louisa May Alcott, expresses the ethical responsibility of teachers to encourage independent thought in their students.


What did Albert Einstein say about education?

Albert Einstein was a famous physicist and Nobel laureate who had many insightful and inspiring thoughts on education. Here are some of his quotes:

  • “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
  • “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”
  • “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

What is a noble quote about teaching?

Teaching is a noble and fulfilling profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. Here are some quotes that honor the teachers and their role in society:

  • “Teaching is a calling too. And I’ve always thought that teachers in their way are holy—angels leading their flocks out of the darkness.” – Jeannette Walls
  • “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” – Aristotle
  • “Teaching is a sacred mission, entrusted to you by God, to nurture His children with wisdom and understanding.” – 1 Peter 4:10

What is an ancient quote about teaching?

Ancient civilizations, such as Greece and China, had many philosophers and sages who valued education and teaching. Here are some of their quotes:

  • “The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K. Trenfor
  • “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.” – Aristotle
  • “A teacher’s words have the power to shape generations and leave an everlasting impact.” – Proverbs 15:7

What is the best line to thank the teacher?

There are many ways to express gratitude and appreciation to a teacher, but the best line is the one that comes from your heart and reflects your personal experience. Here are some examples of thank-you messages for teachers:

  • Thank you for being such a phenomenal teacher and making this semester so much fun.
  • Thank you ever so much for all the knowledge and guidance that you have so generously shared with me.
  • Thank you for being the best teacher I could ask for. You always believed in me and helped me achieve my goals.
  • Thank you for being a caring and supportive friend, not just a wonderful teacher. Your wisdom and kindness have helped me through some tough times.

Last Words

These quotes are more than just words; they are the collective wisdom of generations, echoing the values, challenges, and joys of teaching. They remind us that education is a journey of endless discovery, not just for students, but for teachers as well.

In the hands of a dedicated teacher, a classroom becomes a place of transformation, where minds are opened, potential is unlocked, and futures are shaped. All of these quotes can serve as an inspiration and motivation for students to put more effort into learning.

Did you know that there are ways to improve the speed of reading while maintaining focus and efficiency? If you are interested, find out more about Critical reading.