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Celebrating World Teacher’s Day

October 5th is World Teacher’s Day, celebrating the incredible contributions made to our world by educators and schools. Without teachers and schools, academic progress and worldly understanding would grind to a halt as generations miss out on the vital information they require to make their way in the world.

To celebrate the special day, we’ve put together a list of quotes from celebrities and public personalities which pay testament to the influence their teachers have had on their lives and careers.

Dame Helen Mirren – Actress

When receiving her BAFTA Fellowship award, Dame Helen Mirren went to great lengths to publicly recognise the influence of one of her teachers. So important was her teacher, Mrs Welding, that Mirren dedicated the award to her.

“My journey to this place began with a great teacher. I’m standing up here thanking Mrs Welding and all the great teachers who have inspired all the many creative people sitting here in this beautiful room.”

David Walliams

David Walliams – Comedian

Alongside his commitments to comedy and role judging on the Britain’s Got Talent panel, Walliams has also started writing his own children’s books. His love of acting and comedy first emerged during his school years, and pays tribute to his drama teacher, Mr Louis:

“I’ve a lot to thank Mr Louis for because he cast me in many school plays over the years and gave me my first lead role in Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. He was a flamboyant figure – a bit like Mr Humphries in Are You Being Served? – with this shock of white hair, always very smart in matching shirts and ties. When you’re young and desperate to act, it’s such an amazing thing for someone to believe in you.”

Albert Einstein Albert Einstein – Theoretical Physicist

Despite being one of history’s great minds, Einstein owed a fair bit to his own teachers.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”


Prof Brian Cox

Brian Cox – Physicist

Physicist Brian Cox has taught physics to teenagers, and fully understands the importance of ensuring that science is interesting and engaging for students.

“I got on very well with my physics teacher, Mr Galloway, not surprisingly! I was really into music and he helped a friend and I build a little piece of electronics that we wanted to use in order to make music – it allowed us to interface a drum machine to a synthesiser, which was very difficult to do in the 80s! He designed it and helped us build it, which is a lot of work for a teacher. My experience is when you go beyond the strict limits of what they need to know to pass an exam and taking the time to engage in their interests, which really works – it did for me!”

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey – TV Personality 

Regularly listed as one of the world’s most influential people, Oprah Winfrey explains her teachers were a huge source of inspiration to her.

“One of the defining moments of my life came in fourth grade—the year I was a student in Mrs. Duncan’s class at Wharton Elementary School in Nashville. For the first time, I wasn’t afraid to be smart, and she often stayed after school to work with me.”

Steve Jobs – Founder of Apple

As one of the most progressive thinkers and influential men of the 20th and 21st centuries, it is surprising that Steve Jobs was not always the best of students. He thanks his teacher, Imogene Teddy Hill, for setting him on a path of enlightenment, and completely changing the world of computing in the process. “One of the saints in my life is this woman named Imogene Hill, who was a fourth-grade teacher who taught this advanced class. She got hip to my whole situation in about a month and kindled a passion in me for learning things.”

Bill Gates – Owner of Microsoft

One of the richest men in the world, Microsoft boss Bill Gates acknowledges the importance of the role his teachers played in his career. “My success comes from how lucky I was to have some great teachers. There was a math teacher, Fred Wright, who asked me to push a little bit harder. And Ann Stephens taught English and also drama—and I got to be the star of the play. There’s no way there’d be a Microsoft without them doing what they did.”

Rory Bremner – Comedian and Impressionist

Rory Bremner’s favourite teacher was so influential in his life, he decided to write a tribute to the man in the Times Educational Supplement. “You can tell how good he was because there were 24 in our class and at O-level 21 got As and three got Bs. At the beginning of the lesson there would be an empty board and by the end it would be packed with words. Every time a word came up he would lean back and write it up. He would frequently punctuate it with “As you remember from your Serbo-Croat…” and a Serbo-Croat word would appear on the board. You would have words from four or five languages in all different colours by the end of every lesson. For the first time language began to make sense and you were aware that languages had come from a common source.”

John Steinbeck – Novelist

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”

Images sourced via Rex Images and Wikimedia Commons. Credit: Ray Tang/REX Shutterstock, Matt Baron/BEI/REX Shutterstock, cellanr  [CC BY-SA 2.0], and  Oren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd. [Public domain].


For schools looking to influence the next generation of world-leaders and personalities, Innova Design Group can help you develop the perfect learning environments in which to inspire students. For more information about how Innova  can help you and your school, visit our homepage or call our team on 0161 477 5300.