The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Teachers

Teachers cultivate the young minds who are responsible for the future. ~Keith Wynn, tweet, 2017

I was a classroom teacher myself before I chickened out and went to library school. ~Gerald Raftery, "Confer with sages here!," 1961

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ~Jane Wagner ("Edith Ann"), 1990s

In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years. ~Jacques Barzun, 1940s

If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job. ~Donald D. Quinn, 1960s

If the pursuit of learning is not defended by the educated citizen, it will not be defended at all. For there will always be those who scoff at intellectuals, who cry out against research, who seek to limit our educational system. Modern cynics and skeptics see no more reason for landing a man on the moon, which we shall do, than the cynics and skeptics of half a millennium ago saw for the discovery of this country. They see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy, 1963

That teacher is most successful who makes herself progressively unnecessary to her pupils because she develops in them the power to do without her. ~Author unknown, c. 1912

Paradoxical as it may seem, the best teacher is he who makes himself indispensable by making himself progressively unnecessary. He is the best teacher who best helps pupils to help themselves. ~Jacob Gibbel Meyer, Principles of Secondary Education, 1928

Teachers like this communicate not the dry bones — but the living soul of knowledge. ~Charles Mackay, The Education of the People, 1846

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater... ~Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman, 1974

One good teacher can change the world. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Teacher, 1995,

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-trust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciples. A noble artist, he has visions of excellence and revelations of beauty, which he has neither impersonated in character, nor embodied in words. His life and teachings are but studies for yet nobler ideals. ~A. Bronson Alcott, "Orphic Sayings," 1841

Any fellow gets mad if he is called "teacher's pet," even if he is teacher's pet. ~Ellis Parker Butler, "Teacher's Pet," 1915

A cross-eyed teacher can keep twice the number of children in order than any other, because the pupils do not know who she's looking at.  ~Four Hundred Laughs: Or, Fun Without Vulgarity, compiled and edited by John R. Kemble, 1902

You are making memories for those children that will return to them again and again long after you have had your last day in school... You are tired with the hard winter... and do not feel in any mood to enter into the spring rejoicing, but trying to forget yourself for the sake of the joy that spring brings to the children will be the very best rest and tonic you can have. Hidden away under your teacher dignity is a longing for the power to enjoy the little things again as in childhood days. Let your children see it. ~Eva D. Kellogg, "May," 1902

I pushed by Miss Allen and went to my seat, and when the tardy bell rang she went up front and stood a minute waiting for us to quiet down. Then she began to talk to us. It was a pretty sad sort of talk. She told us how she loved us all, and how she had tried to be easy with us and had hoped we would appreciate it, and that she still hoped we did. Then she told us she hoped always to be a teacher and that she did not want to be a tartar one, but that the work was hard and that nothing soured a teacher so quick as ungratefulness... [S]he said there were always some pupils that refused to be good, but that there were others that made up for this and made a teacher's life bearable. ~Ellis Parker Butler, "Teacher's Pet," 1915

She has been teaching now for thirty years —
Has watched each passing generation grow
And leave her and go on to high careers
That she will never know.
When they come back she sees them children yet,
And smiles to think that others call them men
Who once were bothered by the alphabet...
~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), "Old Teacher," c.1943

[S]he went to her desk very quickly and dropped into her chair and put her arms on the desk lid and her head in her arms, and I guess she cried... About every so soften teachers have a spell of reddish eyes... ~Ellis Parker Butler, "Teacher's Pet," 1915  [a little altered —tg]

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams, "Failure" (1871), The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography, 1907

A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on cold iron. ~Horace Mann (1796–1859)

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~E. L. Bulwer, Lord Lytton, Kenelm Chillingly, 1873

Teaching is a matter of personality. The great teacher inspires — the others merely instruct. ~Henry B. Trueman, "Is the Country School Progressive," 1912

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

Teaching is not a lost art but the regard for it is a lost tradition. ~Jacques Barzun, 1940s

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung, "The Gifted Child," 1946

The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity. ~Robert Brault,

Who Dares To Teach Must Never Cease To Learn  ~John Cotton Dana, 1912  [The architect of the Newark State Teachers College building in New Jersey at Fourth Avenue and Broadway asked librarian Dana to find a Latin quotation to inscribe on the wall. However, he couldn't find what he thought to be a suitable one, so instead he wrote this line which became the college's motto. Source: Newark State College Catalog, 1964 —tg]

When every detail of what you taught has been forgotten, enthusiasm, encouragement and kindness will remain. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Teacher, 1995,

Poor teachers discourage,
With words that scold and tire.
Good teachers encourage,
Motivate and inspire!
~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)

A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power. ~Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin, 1973

To teach is to learn twice. ~Joseph Joubert

Our idea of a coward is a teacher who quits to become a wild animal trainer. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon. ~Author unknown, c.1950s

With dramatic certainty we who are teachers touch the future with our very presence. It is our individual initiative that can lead the way. And is our touch marked with conviction? Is it punctuated with principles, standards, values that reflect the best in living? Do we know where we are going and does the path we take exemplify character? Are we aware of the fact that what we teach today must mature and develop in order to flourish as tomorrow's thought? To present today for itself alone is not enough. ~Sandford Reichart, Change and the Teacher, 1969

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1902  [Hubbard, same year, different publication: "And the entire object of teaching is to enable the scholar to do without his teacher." —tg]

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task. ~Haim G. Ginott (1922–1973)

      The good teacher is a man whose conversation is never finished, partly because it is about real things and so cannot be finished, but partly because there is always a new audience, which itself takes part. The student in learning teaches himself and his teacher... The art of being taught is the art of letting the nature of learning take its course... the good student will range beyond the prescriptions of the curriculum, reading what his genius pleases in addition to what his nature requires.
      The teacher will encourage these excursions. "Who is so stupidly curious as to send his son to school in order that he may learn what the teacher thinks?" This question of St. Augustine's will be remembered by a good teacher whenever he is tempted to suppress some novelty in a student's thought. It may or may not lead to knowledge, but if it is the student's own discovery it has a present importance which had better not be doubted. There is a skill in instruction, but St. Thomas Aquinas has pointed out that there is also a skill in discovery, and it is our own discoveries that best persuade us. The art of being taught is the art of discovery, as the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery to take place...
      The good teacher disappears out of the student's life as Virgil and Beatrice disappear out of The Divine Comedy. They are remembered as persons, and so is every good teacher remembered; but when the student has found his own way in the world he cannot recall how much of his wisdom he owes to another. It is his now, and that is what his teacher had intended...
      The teacher is successful at the moment when his student becomes original. ~Mark Van Doren, "The Arts of Teaching and Being Taught," Liberal Education, 1943  ["The liberal arts, in my conception of them, are nothing but the arts of teaching and being taught. They are the basic skills of learning, and must, therefore, precede the effort of the mind to learn." ~Mortimer J. Adler, quotation from which Van Doren's chapter is titled. —tg]

[P]eople tend to remember their teachers for an entire lifetime, long after school is over. ~Meghan Fortunato

Other people have nightmares about crocodiles or getting lost. For the poor teachers, it's parents. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Teacher, 1995,

Quotations By Teachers:

The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children. ~Louis Johannot, Headmaster, Institut Le Rosey, Switzerland, as quoted in LIFE, 1965

If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I'll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home. ~Anonymous teacher, c.1960

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published 2000 Dec 22
revised 2021 May 2
last saved 2024 Apr 16