20 Awe-Inspiring Quotes for Teachers and Parents

Traverse the school year with inspiration!

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Most back-to-school articles are focused on children returning to classrooms. But what about teachers and parents? Shouldn’t we spend time getting prepared, inspired, and motivated for the school year? When adults are equipped with mindsets to facilitate learning, kids have a fighting chance of getting a good education

 “Upon the subject of education,” Abraham Lincoln firmly stated, “I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.” In fact, research suggests that adult support may be the single most important aspect of how children succeed in school and life. 

Each year, I update my list of the 55 Best Back-to-School Articles for Parents (and Teachers!) with some of the finest insights on learning, achievement, and parent engagement on the web. These articles, widely shared by schools and parents, are sure to educate and inspire. But sometimes a quick shot of inspiration can keep us focused on the goal of education and motivated to play our respective parts. 

We must view parents and teachers as partners in education. Why? As philosopher George Santayana simply said, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” When both groups are inspired to facilitate learning, children are the winners. 

Quotes that Hold the True Meaning of Education

Great quotes make complexity simple! The following have three themes in common: 1) They speak to parents and teachers, 2) They support research in youth development and education, and 3) They provide impetus toward adult actions that support learning. 

  1. “Education...is painful, continual and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning,...  by praise, but above all -- by example.” -- John Ruskin
  2. “The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves.” -- Joseph Campbell 
  3. “There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fills you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.” -- Robert Frost
  4. “The greatest sign of success for a teacher ... is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” -- Maria Montessori
  5. “Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible.” -- Robert M. Hutchins 
  6. “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 
  7. “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” -- Bob Talber 
  8. "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin
  9. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -- Anonymous
  10. “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.” -- Pierre de Coubertin
  11. "Creativity is especially expressed in the ability to make connections, to make associations, to turn things around and express them in a new way." --Tim Hansen
  12. “Always to see the general in the particular is the very foundation of genius.” -- Arthur Schopenhauer
  13. "Stay committed to your decisions; but stay flexible in your approach." --Tony Robbins
  14. "They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." -- Carol Buchner 
  15. "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming." -- Goethe
  16. "Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three." -- Confucius
  17. “Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” -- Josef Albers 
  18. “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted... but to weigh and consider.”—Francis Bacon
  19. “Let the potential artist in our children come to life that they may surmount industrial monotonies and pressures.” -- Barbara Morgan
  20. “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” -- William Wordsworth 

What Quotes on Education Inspire You? 

As children get settled back into the classroom, what quotes inspire you to be the best parent or teacher educator you can be? Please share your favorite quotes in the comments below.


Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is the author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation. A developmental psychologist and researcher, she works at the intersection of positive youth development and education.

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©2013 Marilyn Price-Mitchell. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.

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