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Inspirational Quotes for Teacher Motivation

Teaching is a labor of love. It’s not always easy. We pour our hearts and souls into our profession, love kids who need it but don’t always show they appreciate it, and work our tails off all year long. Sometimes, teachers get burnt out. During those periods, we need to take some serious steps to rejuvenate our spirits. We need some teacher motivation!

Other times, we just need a quick pick-me-up. Keep these five-second pep talks in your pocket, and pull them out when you need to refocus your attitude. Here are nine inspirational quotes that hit home for teachers.

Inspirational quotes for teachers. Sometimes we just need a five-second pep talk.

Inspirational Quotes for Teachers

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

In a world where we are encouraged to “clap back” at and hurt those who hurt us, to make snap judgments and instant responses, and where forgiveness is all too often a forgotten action, this quote expresses something that our society, our children, and us all are in desperate need of. ~ Rebecca Gettelman

Steve Jobs

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” 

Teacher motivation can come in small bites, like this quote. I just like the thought of leaving a tiny impression on something so big. ~ Laugh & Learn with Lindsay

William Butler Yeats

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

It is not our job as teachers to “fill” our students with information. Honestly, they could do that by sitting in front of a computer all day. Our job is to inspire curiosity, to encourage our students to ask the hard questions, to equip them to weigh and sort input, and to be able to make connections to what they see, hear, and learn to their own lives. Ultimately, I want my students’ learning to transform into action. I want them to do something with what they’re learning, to make a difference. I want my teaching to be the spark that lights the fire. ~ Leslie from Story Trekker

Walt Whitman

“Now, voyager, sail thou fourth to seek and find.”

Whitman is my favorite poet and this line is from a short poem called “The Untold Want.” My mom and dad bought a card for me with this line during my first year of teaching, and it struck a cord with me. During my first year few years of teaching, I considered leaving the profession to go to law school. I just wasn’t happy in my work life.

This quotation inspired me to seek the life I wanted to live. I decided to get my doctorate and from there I got two new jobs (one part-time at a college and a new full-time one at our local high school where my husband works). My late grandfather always said, “Think and do.” Now, my saying, is “seek and find.” To me, it means you have to go out and find your way. You can’t sit back and wait for it. My students get it too. ~ Doc Cop

Deuteronomy 33:25b

“As thy days, so thy strength shall be.” 

As a Christian, this is inspiring and helpful because it helps me to remember that no matter what I face in a day, whether it is a good day or a difficult day (and any teacher knows that days can be REALLY good, REALLY difficult, and sometimes even both in the same day!) that the Lord will give me the strength I need to meet the challenges of each day. ~ Whitney LaDon from The Poetry That Is Life

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

Where better to find teacher motivation than classic literature? This entire passage grants purpose to my entire life. I view my existence as having the purpose to make the world a better place in some way– big or small. ~ Meredith from Bespoke ELA

Henry Adams

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

It just reminds me that I can’t always see the affect or influence I’m having, but I just need to trust and remember that it is happening. It always helps me through my rough days. ~ Amanda from Engaging and Effective

Kevin Heath

“They may forget what you said, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.”

I love this quote because it’s so important to try and make your students feel good about themselves. Some kids never hear anything positive outside of the classroom, and this is my chance to give them a little boost and let them know that they are somebody. ~ Lyndsey from Lit with Lyns

Kid President

Inspirational quotes for teachers. Sometimes we just need a five-second pep talk.

I really believe teachers need to love every single one of their children. It doesn’t mean we have to like what they do, but it’s one of our responsibilities to love our students as if they were our own children. Not every child comes from a loving home. If we don’t love them and validate their importance, who will? We need to love our students loudly — boldly and unashamedly. Keeping this mantra in mind puts a variety of things into perspective — from classroom management and parent phone calls to homework expectations and classroom culture. ~ Melissa from Reading & Writing Haven

What inspirational quotes most inspire you? Share them in the comments. We’d love to hear about your teacher motivation tidbits. We hope you’ve enjoyed our collaborative inspirational summer reading series for teachers. Did you miss one? You can check out the other posts in the series here. Happy teaching!

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