The Best Inspirational Messages About Teaching

As avid #edchat fans, we are always seeing new and interesting phrases passed around amongst teachers and higher ed professionals. We thought it might be helpful to jot down these slogans and phrases in hopes they inspire you before the next school year begins.

After all, teaching is all about inspiring your students and yourself. (Hey that should be on the list!)

  • The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
  • The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children. ~Louis Johannot
  • If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I’ll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home. ~Anonymous Teacher
  • I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ~Lily Tomlin as “Edith Ann”
  • The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.” ~Dan Rather
  • In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years. ~Jacques Barzun
  • Charters Should Lead Innovation. ~Bill Gates (@GaylaThompson)
  • Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~Author Unknown
  • If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job. ~Donald D. Quinn
  • Teach a child how to think, not what to think. ~Sidney Sugarman
  • Modern cynics and skeptics… see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy
  • A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers
  • Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. ~Gail Godwin
  • A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. ~Horace Mann
  • Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid. ~Tracy Kidder
  • A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams
  • A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown
  • The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~Amos Bronson Alcott
  • Teaching is all about inspiring your students and yourself. (@edudemic)
  • A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism. ~Louis A. Berman
  • We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family. Then we expect them to educate our children. ~John Sculley
  • Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more. ~Bob Talbert
  • The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward
  • The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~Dr. Seuss (@FountasPinnell)
  • A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown
  • What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger
  • Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown
  • A cross-eyed teacher can keep twice the number of children in order than any other, because the pupils do not know who she’s looking at. ~Four Hundred Laughs: Or, Fun Without Vulgarity, compiled and edited by John R. Kemble, 1902
  • Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures. ~Eugene P. Bertin

Have your own favorite saying? Let us know about it on Twitter by mentioning @edudemic. We’ll add yours to this list for all to see!