50 Great Education Quotes

While teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions, it can also be one of the toughest. Teachers should take comfort, however, in the knowledge that even the most difficult students grow up to have a profound appreciation for what they learned in school.

We’ve put together this collection of reflections on teaching by some of humanity’s greatest minds and without a doubt some of these thinkers were difficult students. We hope that they inspire in you the passion you felt on your first day of teaching. And if you have had a rough day with a student, keep in mind that they may grow up to talk about you in a way that will inspire the next generation of teachers!

“Man’s mind stretched by a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

“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 task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort. The tough proplem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.”
— K. Patricia Cross

“The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.”
— Ellen Key

“It’s not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.”
— Linda Conway

“The most important knowledge teachers need to do good work is a knowledge of how students are experiencing learning and perceiving their teacher’s actions.”
— Steven Brookfield

“Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone’s knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier.”
— John Dewey

“Our best chance for happiness is education.”
— Mark VanDorn

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

“A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.”
— Louis A. Berman

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
— John Cotton Dana

“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.”
— Haim G. Ginott

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
— Helen Keller

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.”
— Horace Mann

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

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

“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.”
— Eliphas Levi

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
— Benjamin Franklin

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

“Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.”
— George Iles

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
— Abigail Adams

“A teacher affects eternity:  he can never tell where his influence stops.”
— Henry Adams

“What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero

“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

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.”
— Aristotle

“What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable than teaching?”
— Harriet Martineau

“By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand.”
— Latin Proverb

“Education is the mother of leadership.”
— Wendell L. Willkie

“Seldom was any knowledge given to keep, but to impart; the grace of this rich jewel is lost in concealment.”
— Bishop Hall

“If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others.”
— Tryon Edwards

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.”
— Ben Sweetland

“Grammar speaks; dialectics teach us truth; rhetoric gives coloring to our speech; music sings; arithmetic numbers; geometry weighs and measures; astronomy teaches us to know the stars.”
— Latin Maxim

“We learn by teaching.”
— James Howell

“Natural ability is by far the best, but many men have succeeded in winning high renown by skill that is the fruit of teaching.”
— Pindar

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

“The most effective teacher will always be biased,for the chief force in teaching is confidence and enthusiasm.”
— Joyce Cary

“Education is the guardian genius of democracy. It is the only dictator that free men recognize, and the only ruler that free men require.”
— Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar

“Whatever you want to teach, be brief.”
— Horace

“To me, education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.”
— Muriel Spark

“Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.”
— Anatole France

“The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds.”
— F. W. Robertson

“He that teaches us anything which we knew not before is undoubtedly to be reverenced as a master.”
— Samuel Johnson

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
— Chinese Proverb

“Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”
— Epictetus

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
— Alexander of Macedon

“To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching. To attain it we must be able to guess what will interest: we must learn to read the childish soul as we might a piece of music. Then, by simply changing the key, we keep up the attraction anil vary the song.”
— Henri Frederic Amiel

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

“Education is the transmission of civilization.”
— Will Durant

“To teach is to learn twice over.”
— Joseph Joubert

“A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.”
— Newton D. Baker

“One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.”
— Philip Wylie

“A child miseducated is a child lost.”
— John F. Kennedy

“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.”
— Patricia Neal