5 Inspirational Quotes Teachers Should Love

Sometimes quotations can really sum up what we’re thinking or feeling in words that are much more eloquently put than what we can come up with in the moment. You can use them to help remind you that others are feeling, seeing, and doing the same thing as you are. You can use them to share a message you feel strongly about. Or, you can use them to keep yourself inspired and energized (which is as necessary as coffee for most teachers!) Hang them in your classroom, keep them as a background on your phone, iPad, or laptop, or leave them on a sticky note in strategic places.  Here are five teaching quotations to keep you inspired.


“The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves.” — Joseph Campbell

Inspiration can be defined in many ways, but I like to think of it as that moment when you believe in yourself completely and you see all of the possibility and vitality open to you in life. One of the definitions that Encarta gives is “breathing in” – the actual physiological act of drawing air into the lungs. In this way, teachers should facilitate the students to breath in their full potential – to see the vitality in themselves.

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

I’ve always come back to this quote throughout my ten years of teaching first graders. I’ve never felt it was enough to simply tell children about some theory, in fact I know that is the most boring thing a teacher can do, which is usually harmful to those who need a better look into real world applications. I certainly strive to inspire children to learn more and uncover existing passions as they try to figure out who they are and what their place is in this wonderful world.

 “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

Jacob Bronowski said this, which is not only beautifully poetic but also an elemental part of teaching. I appreciate my first graders every day for their ability to question everything. While managing my classroom, I sometimes catch myself trying to explain something, and if the explanation is complex I tend to start leaning towards saying something just a little bit more than “well it just is”. Then I realize that what I’m saying can actually be thoroughly questioned for good reason.

“A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.” – Anonymous

This anonymous quote also carries a lot of weight. Societal norms and upbringing tend to give our brains their original dimensions, but once a new idea is introduced, there is no stopping what shape could take hold.

We all sort of believe everything that our parents believe until something different is convincingly shown to us.

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”- Victor Hugo

The French poet and essayist (Victor Hugo) who said this quote was definitely on to something. One of the most important consequences of education, if done correctly, is that it leads children to free their minds. The prison of an ignorant mind is a very real thing.