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August 2021 - Year 23 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

Quotes about Teaching

Hanna Kryszewska is a teacher, teacher trainer, trainer of trainers. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Gdańsk, Poland. She is co-author of resource books: Learner Based Teaching, OUP, Towards Teaching, Heinemann,  The Standby Book, CUP,  Language Activities for Teenagers, CUP, The Company Words Keep, DELTA Publishing,  and a course book series for secondary schools: ForMat, Macmillan. She is also co-author of a video based teacher training course: Observing English Lessons. Hania is a Pilgrims trainer and editor of HLT Magazine. E-mail:  



There are many reasons why you may want to use quotes in the language class. They can be used as a lead-in to a lesson, a follow-up, a speaking activity or preparation for writing. This collection is intended for a module on education but you can use another collection on a different subject to fit the theme of your lesson or module. The lesson ideas are universal. You can use all of the quotations or just some of them. It is best to have them on slips of paper or cards as they are more manageable like this, more fun and more kinaesthetic.


How to use the quotes

  1. Give different quotes to each student on slips of paper or card. Students mingle and compare their quotes. They discuss what these quotes say about education. Do they make a similar statement or different? Do the students share the sentiment?
  2. Spread out the slips of paper with the quotes. Ask students to group them. They come up with the categories or you can suggest them, e.g.
  • Young kids
  • Older learners
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • The system
  • Nature of education
  • etc.
  1. Students work in groups. Each group gets a pile of the quotes face down. Students take turns; they take a slip, read out their quote and say why they agree or disagree with the quote.
  2. Use the quotes as a discussion starter in small groups.
  3. Use the quotes for 1 minute monologues on the subject of the quote. Keep strict time limit.
  4. The class decides which quote/s they would like to put on the wall or board as motivational quote/s.
  5. Students decide on or illustrations or other visuals to go with the quote. They can make them themselves or find them online.
  6. Students use the quotes (grouped in p.2) to write an opinion essay on education. They try to include/ weave in as many as possible.
  7. When students have seen the quotations, collect the slips and then one student picks one up from the pile and mimes it to the rest of the class.
  8. Ask students to come up their own quotations and words of wisdom. First collect nouns on the board.


fountain                                            snow                                                 river

                        woman                                beach

stone                            tree                                                             gardener


    supermarket                                                                         cat  


Then students write their words of wisdom about education using some of the words as prompts e.g.:

A teacher is like a gardener he can make the garden flourish or let it go to waste.

The river of knowledge flows without stopping.

School is like a supermarket, too much of everything.

Variation. You can use words from the quotes /see below/ you will use later in  



Selection of quotes

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

2. The only reasons I always try to meet and know the parents is because it helps me to forgive the children.

3. Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next.

4. Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

5. You send your child to the schoolmaster, but it is the schoolboys who educate him.

6. The aim of education should be to teach the child to think, not what to think.

7. A good teacher has been defined as one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.

8. Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

9. A teacher's constant task is to take a roomful of live wires and see to it they’re grounded.

10. The future of "I give" is "I take".

11. My school: I can't read, I can’t write. And they won’t let me talk.

12. Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.

13. A teacher is a person who used to like children.

14. True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

15. Now wonder the teacher know so much; she has the book.

16. To or education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is putting in of something that is not what I call education; I call it intrusion.

17. The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without is teacher.

18. Our country’s future walks through the doors of our schools each day.

19. Too often we give children answers to remember than problems to solve.

20. If you think education is expensive - try ignorance.

21. Teaching consists of equal parts of perspiration. inspiration and resignation.

22. Schoolteachers are not Crilly appreciated by parents until it rains all day’ Saturday.

23. Education helps you to earn more. But not many schoolteachers can prove it.

24. I am always ready to learn although I do not always like to be taught.

25. It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others — and less trouble.

26. Teaching is like having a love affair with a rhinoceros.

27. Education will broaden a narrow mind, but there is no known cure for a big head.

28. Some students drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.

29. Education is just the soul of a society that passes from one generation to another.

30. A true teacher defends his pupils against his own influence.

31. Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.

32. It is hard to convince a high school student that he will encounter a lot of problems more difficult than those of algebra and geometry.

33. When a teacher calls a boy by his entire name it means trouble.

34. A teacher's day is one-half bureaucracy, one-half crisis, one-half monotony and one-eightieth epiphany. Never mind the arithmetic.

35. We, the willing, led by the unqualified, have been doing the unbelievable for so long with so little, we now attempt the impossible with nothing.


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