10 Yoda Quotes We Can Apply to Online Teaching

10 Yoda Quotes We Can Apply to Online Teaching

How could quotes from Yoda possibly apply to online teaching?
Isn’t Yoda the little green creature in Star Wars?

Doesn’t all the action happen in a galaxy far, far away?

Well, yes.

But Yoda is also a master teacher.
He trained those Jedi knights for 800 years.
His comments are part pedagogy, and part philosophy.
They’re worth looking at a little more closely, because they can be applied to our discipline too…

Wise Yoda is – and some of his ideas are directly relevant to online learning.
Let’s see how they might apply to our practice as online teachers.

10 Quotes from Yoda That Are Directly Relevant to Online Teaching

Let’s start with Yoda’s most famous quote.

1.  “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

This piece of advice is all about making a commitment – and then seeing a task through.

Online teaching is a demanding job.
There’s a lot to get through every single work day, and we routinely draw on a wide range of skills: from subject expertise, to mentoring, counselling and IT knowledge.

We can make sure we meet our commitments (rather than just “trying” to) by prioritising the most urgent tasks, working methodically through the others, and communicating clearly about what will be achieved, and when.


yoda quotes - do or do not do


2.  “Fear is the path to the dark side.”

We know this!

Anxiety is inevitable when your workload is high.
There are plenty of fears that can keep online teachers awake at night.
We can worry about everything from: poor student outcomes, negative student feedback, an upcoming performance review, conflict with colleagues, or a mountain of papers to grade.

But worrying about all the facets of our job definitely leads to “the dark side”.
It manifests as depression, anxiety, stress, and even burnout.

It can be helpful to replace pointless worrying with a more constructive new habit of taking control of what you can – and releasing the elements that you can’t do anything about.

We can choose to make sure the urgent work gets completed – and THEN we can get to the next task.
We can counter the stress of a performance review by preparing thoroughly.
And we can improve student outcomes by creating engaging course materials, offering support and flexibility when needed, and being approachable for students who need help.

3.  “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”

The online learning space is often in a state of flux.

Fast evolving learning technologies, the pressure to launch new courses quickly, and pulling out all the stops to help our students achieve can make us feel like we’re working “in a dark place” at times.

Sometimes it’s hard to see a way forward, and we need to learn yet another skill.

But as online teachers, we already know first hand the immense value of education.

We’re in the learning business, after all.
We’re experienced students ourselves, and lifelong learning comes naturally.

And so we can upskill as required.

We can make sure we’re up to the challenges of adapting to new technology, and creating courses that will resonate with our learners. We can identify our own weaknesses, and address them by acquiring the knowledge that will make us more effective online teachers.

And then the darkness is infiltrated by a little light.


yoda quotes - in a dark place

4.  “Much to learn, you still have.”

As we’ve already stated, online teachers are natural lifelong learners.
We may be subject experts in our fields, but we’re the first to admit we don’t know everything.

It’s a requirement of our jobs to be willing and able to take on new skills and knowledge, and to keep abreast of evolving technology and student needs.

Because we’re working at the e-learning coalface every day, it quickly becomes clear when we need to upskill in technology or online teaching techniques.

A focused approach to professional development can help us to learn what we need quickly, to continue to excel in our roles.

5.  “Always in motion is the future.”

Online teaching is an industry that’s also always in motion.

New research brings fresh ideas on classic topics such as: whether learning styles matter, online class etiquette, course design elements, and how to engage online students.

Then there are the evolving teaching approaches, such as: the flipped classroom, gamification, co-operative learning, and incorporating social media into the learning process.

Learning technologies themselves are also changing rapidly, from: regular updates to your LMS, the various features of Zoom for online teaching, to virtual reality and simulation.

Student needs are also changing and evolving, as different generations enrol in online courses, and we focus specifically on addressing the needs of diverse learners.


yoda quotes - the future

6.  “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Failure is always a challenge to deal with – and yet it does teach us a lot.

When we fail a student’s work, we learn how to be constructive and compassionate.
We make sure that the student can improve and not be too discouraged to continue with the course.

And when we receive negative feedback from students, we can self-reflect and figure out how we can do a better job next semester.

Similarly, when many students need clarification on assignment instructions, or struggle to engage with course materials, these become teaching moments for us.
They mean that some changes or tweaks are needed to make the materials more accessible.

7.  “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”

This Yoda quote is all about our potential.

As online teachers, we can make sure we’re not irritable, critical, or intimidating.

We can raise our standards to be more “luminous,” by being encouraging, supportive and inspirational.
In the process, we can guide our students to reach their full potential too.


yoda quotes - luminous beings


8.  “Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

This is a great Yoda quote about empowerment – but also power dynamics.

As online teachers, we already understand the empowering nature of education.
We know how it can transform lives. This is something we try to pass on to our students every day.

But there’s also an inherent power dynamic in the teacher/student working relationship.
Even though in online teaching we may not be traditional authority figures, we are still overseeing and managing our courses, and we have the power to determine student grades.

By being approachable rather than forbidding, we break down this potential obstacle, and avoid going to “the dark side”.

Instead, we treat our students with respect, offering support where needed.
And by ensuring that our processes are transparent (especially the grading process), we empower students to achieve their potential.

9.  “Patience you must have, my young Padawan.”

Right again, Yoda.

Patience is an absolutely crucial skill for online teachers to master.

We need it every day: when dealing with rude emails, assignments that are double the word limit (with no references), administrative delays, demanding managers, and technology glitches.

We need to be patient with students who are frustrated or struggling with parts of the course, and demonstrate kindness and empathy as we explain (and re-explain) topics until they are clear.


yoda quotes - patience


10.  “Always pass on what you have learned.”

This is at the heart of what we do as online teachers.
As experts in our field, we share our insights and understanding with our learners, to help them increase their own knowledge of the relevant topics.

This quote from Yoda reinforces the core of our job descriptions.

Quotes from Yoda extend beyond Star Wars

You may be a fan of Star Wars, and already be familiar with these quirky quotes from Yoda.
But you don’t need to be a fan to see that these ideas also apply to teaching online.

These Yoda quotes are wise, philosophical and a little whimsical.

But they also reflect some of the key tenets which inform our own practice as online teachers.

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