15 inspiring quotes chosen by teachers, for teachers

Igor Coric:TED-Ed image

“Motivation, creativity and freedom are my most powerful educational tools,” says Cyprus teacher Evanthia Poyiatzi. To sharpen your motivation, creativity and freedom this week, read (and share!) the 15 inspiring ideas and quotes below — handpicked for you by Evanthia and her fellow TED-Ed Innovative Educators:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. “For the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.” — Plutarch

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

“We are what we believe we are.” — C.S. Lewis

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.” — Elie Wiesel

“How wonderful it is that we need not wait a single moment before starting to change the world.” — Anne Frank

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso

“Dream big, work hard, stay humble.” — Brad Meltzer

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” — H.G. Wells

“Everything you have in life can be taken from you except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. This is what determines the quality of the life we’ve lived — not whether we’ve been rich or poor, famous or unknown, healthy or suffering. What determines our quality of life is how we relate to these realities, what kind of meaning we assign them, what kind of attitude we cling to about them, what state of mind we allow them to trigger.” — Viktor Frankl

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” — Rumi

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Image credit: Igor Coric/TED-Ed


  1. Annette

    What doesn’t kill makes you strong….and.. your past does not define Who you are.

    • jehjeh

      “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears. Bears will kill you.”

  2. Dan Prehn

    Wonderfully inspiring quotes!

  3. Amlan

    “A teacher does not teach for the income, but for the outcome” – Anonymous

  4. In a world of so much chaos and confusion we need a compass to direct our path. These inspirational words can certainly provide the framework to steer us in the right direction.

  5. Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.

  6. Winfried Deijmann

    “An educated mind is useless without a focused will and dangerous without a loving heart.” W.D.

  7. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,
    but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
    Mark Twain


    Totally agree

  9. I love quotes. You have done a great job. Thank you.
    Every single time I read something with the energy of motivation, I just want to share it. LoL.

    You can see one of my own YouTube vids here:
    “15 Ιnspirational Quotes For Women About Love”

    Have a nice day everyone!

  10. Sandar.H

    ‘Keep both feet firmly, in the cloud’

    I found out that quote in a magazine when I was 15 years old. At that time, i was facing some familial problems and i was desperated.

    That quote didnt make me feel better with some sorts of irrealistic motivation like ‘Life is full of suprises and what i am facing is not what i m gonna have in the future… or bla bla..’

    That quote simply made me feel that Life is a book already written and I have no control on it. So, why do i have to cry for something that i can’t control? Then, i realized that i should climb up the mountain, rather than try to move it. Since then, I could accept the realities with courage and i kept my mind stronger and stronger. It was like a challenging between my life and myself. The stronger will wim at the end and I hate to fail! So, i have no choice but stay stronger than whatever my life gives to me!

  11. Asad kakar

    To be a best educator you need to be their superhero .

    • Mary Palmer Legare

      I can’t quite agree with this quote. Children do not need a superhero to swoop in and save them. They need to find the superhero within themselves so they can shape their own lives. A teacher’s light should never be so bright that it outshines the light of his/her children.

  12. Dalia

    Wonderful quotes, is there any more?

  13. khadidja23

    I like this :“For the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.” — Plutarch.
    In fact, I like all of them! Thank you :)

  14. If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

  15. Rowayna Ahmed Mohamed Abd El-Meguid Eissa.

    These quotes are source of inspiration, whenever I feel down I re-read them in order to get my strength back.


    inspiring and motivating quotes. thank you

  17. Floyd T. Johnson Sr.

    It’s not your income that determines your outcome, but how you overcome.

  18. I really enjoy reading these quotes. I loved the that wad about teavher.. it read as teacher are not working for income but for outcome.. it is simply awisome

  19. Ansari Akhlaque

    Super and memorable quotes. I love inspiring things.

  20. lovely quotes…. will surely use where ever possible.

  21. Keran Bahadur

    Good quotes

  22. Margaret Rose Rosario

    Such wonderful quotes! Thank you for sharing. Love all of them, am a little partial to Rumi though……

  23. Paula Moore

    Thank you for these quotes! The voices of the respectful others are important.
    Paula Moore

  24. Every teacher is a blessing! A great big THANK YOU to all our teachers! Teacher Day

    Thank you to all of the wonderful teachers out there!! We appreciate everything you do!

  25. Jitender gantadi

    These messages are proving me again that read a page in a new book everyday to make your day more beautiful

  26. Helen Anderson

    Learning is the transformation of participation / Barbara Rogoff

  27. Anuj Saklecha

    Children must be taught ‘How to think’ not ‘what to think’

  28. Douglas Wilson

    “The most valuable thing a person can receive but not have taken away is an education”. This what I used to tell my students.

  29. Jessica Fair

    “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

  30. Shahana

    You are a teacher you are born to make difference.

  31. John O'Brien

    Let us strive so to be that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

  32. I really enjoyed reading these powerful quotes. Here is one that I like and made me who I am today. It comes from Nelson Mandela

    ”I don’t fail. I either win or learn”

  33. Carola de Groote

    Thanks vor sharing these encouraging quotations…I enjoyed reading them und will use them in my classes

  34. Abhimanyu Singh

    The teacher thus played the role of a friend and a mentor for the child in a school who needed attention and love.

    Prof. Abhimanyu Singh
    SIRTS Bhopal ME Deptt.
    One of best engineering college in central India.

  35. Mukesh Singh Baghel

    Doing any work with 100% efforts brings more joy than sitting idle doing less or nothing at all.

    Prof. Mukesh Baghel
    Sirts bhopal ME deptt.
    Top engineering college in Madhya Pradesh.

  36. sneha

    very good article

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