Quotes on Teachers and the Art of Teaching

Most popular teaching quotes

To teach is to learn twice.
Your best teacher is your last mistake.


Teaching is the royal road to learning.
He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.
He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
To teach well is to be a lifelong student.
To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.


Teaching is one of the passionate arts in existence.
Teaching: one of the few professions that permit love.
A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.
If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others.
I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.

for teachers

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
A poor surgeon hurts 1 person at a time but a poor teacher hurts.
Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.


Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.
When we make children afraid we stop their learning dead in its tracks.

fear learning parenting

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.
There is in every village a torch—the teacher; and an extinguisher—the clergyman.

clergy religion

The students' minds must not be caged, nor for that matter those of the teachers.

for teachers

Professors simply can't discuss anything. habit compels them to deliver a lecture.
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.

education environment

The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

for teachers joy

A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present.
The best way to judge a teacher is to ask who his instructors were and who his students are.
A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.

learning parenting

Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.

for teachers learning

Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested.


The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and it implies a need and craving in the teacher himself.
Teaching school is like having jumper cables hooked to your brain, draining all the juice out of you.
The finest teaching touches in a student a spring neither teacher nor student could possibly have preconceived.
A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience's attention, then he can teach his lesson.
To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.  To attain it we must be able to guess what will interest.
When you study great teachers... you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style.

for teachers

What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?
A great teacher never strives to explain his vision—he simply invites you to stand beside him and see for yourself.
A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on cold iron.
It's one of the unforeseen disabilities of teaching as a profession that when senility sets in it happens in public.
Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.

for teachers

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

education for teachers

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.

appreciation gratitude

The art of being taught is the art of discovery, as the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery to take place.


Teaching is an act of love, a spiritual cohabitation, one of the few sacred relationships left in a crass secular world.
The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach themselves.

for teachers

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.

for teachers

Throughout history the exemplary teacher has never been just an instructor in a subject; he is nearly always its living advertisement.
The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction.
Housework is a breeze. Cooking is a pleasant diversion. Putting up a retaining wall is a lark. But teaching is like climbing a mountain.
The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.


We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family. Then we expect them to educate our children.
Have you ever really had a teacher?  One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine?
The educator must believe in the potential power of his pupil, and he must employ all his art in seeking to bring his pupil to experience this power.

education potential

Teaching, in short, like everything else that conveys a meaning in words, is an art, and you can't be a good artist unless you believe you are giving a truth.
Everyone who remembers his own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the kingpin of the educational situation.
Many of us have heard testimonies about teachers who can "see" into a student's future. Even if a student is not performing well, such teachers can predict success.
A professor can never better distinguish himself in his work than by encouraging a clever pupil, for the true discoverers are among them, as comets amongst the stars.

discovery encouragement

Grant that I may be successful in molding one of my pupil's into a perfect poem, and let me leave within her deepest-felt melody that she may sing for you when my lips shall sing no more.
Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.

for teachers learning

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is nothing but wires and lights in a box.
He who wishes to teach us a truth should not tell it to us, but simply suggest it with a brief gesture, a gesture which starts an ideal trajectory in the air along which we glide until we find ourselves at the feet of the new truth.


Nikos Kazantzakis suggests that ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.
If the modern teacher will think of himself not so much as a schoolmaster but as a lifemaster doing from another angle what the social worker does in his sphere, then he will be striving for all the knowledge available which could help him in his task.
As you've pointed out I've helped with more computers in more schools than anybody else in the world and I'm absolutely convinced that is by no means the most important thing. The most important thing is a person. A person who incites and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.


There is nothing which spreads more contagiously from teacher to pupil than elevation of sentiment.  Often and often have students caught from the living influence of a professor a contempt for mean and selfish objects, and a noble ambition to leave the world better than they found it; which they have carried with them throughout life.
You [teachers] stand daily before boys and girls who are full of possibilities, desires, fears, and real shortcomings. Children who are demanding, waiting, criticizing, pleading in their own way, [who are] infinitely alone, in need, terrified, [and yet] persistently trusting in you, even if they present a face of indifference, contempt, or rage. They're alert, waiting to see if someone offers them something different... or closes yet another door in their face.