"Being a teacher is not like any other career. It is something different. I bow to all the teachers. It is the teachers who make the generations," he said a day ahead of the Teachers' Day.
He said "a teacher can never retire" and added they have a great responsibility towards shaping the future of children.
Modi said: "...you have seen (late former president A.P.J. Abdul) Kalam. He always wanted to be remembered as a teacher," he said.
"We pay tributes to (late president) Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and mark his birthday as Teachers' Day," Modi said at a programme held here at Manekshaw centre.
The prime minister said: "Leadership quality is essential. You must also be clear why you want to be a leader: to fight elections only or to make a difference."