Top Education Quotes



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On this Top Education Quotes page I present a voluminous collection of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and useful quotations on Teachers and Teaching. I also provide links to PDF collections of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and useful quotations on other education and school topics in the categories of Achievement, Adolescence, Children, College, Curriculum, Dan L. Miller Quotes, Education, Graduation, Knowledge, Learning, Parents & Parenting, School, Service Learning, Students, Testing, Thinking/Mind/Ideas, and Wisdom

This collection of quotations is unique in that I’ve chosen for inclusion in this educational website only quotes that are pertinent and straightforward and address the importance of education. I’ve added classic quotations, but I’ve also used many quotations taken directly from primary sources, and I’ve purposely integrated numerous quotes from women and minorities.

In addition to the wisdom and guidance quotes provide, the Top Education Quotes are perfectly suited for use in displays, presentations, speeches, research, students’ papers, and classroom lessons and discussions.

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My heart is singing for joy this morning. A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold all things are changed.

–Anne Sullivan

My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her….All the best of me belongs to her—there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.

–Helen Keller

The single most important factor in determining student achievement is not the color of students’ skin or where they come from. It’s not who their parents are or how much money they have. It’s who their teacher is.

–Barack Obama

If kids come to us [educators/teachers] from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important

—Barbara Colorose

No child is going to learn unless they believe that their teacher loves them.

-John Morefield

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.

–Alexander the Great

Teaching…The profession that creates all others.


A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops.

–Henry Adams

Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honor than parents, who merely gave them birth; for the latter provided mere life, while the former ensure a good life.


I will not let you fail.

–Marva Collins

In teaching, the greatest sin is to be boring.

–J. F. Herbart

Mediocre teachers tend to talk mostly about teaching. Exemplary teachers talk almost exclusively about learning.

—Robert John Meehan

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.


Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.


They write enough about doctors, why not about teachers? Not noble & heroic enough? We operate on young girls’ souls, not their esophagi.

–Sylvia Plath

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued: ‘What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?’  He reminded the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers: ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ To corroborate, he said to another guest: ‘You’re a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?’

Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied, ‘You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his or her very best. You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, and definitely beautiful over and over and over again, until they will never misspell either one of those words again.

I elevate them to experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments.  I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart… and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention. You want to know what I make? I make a difference!! What about you?’


I was still learning when I taught my last class.

–Claude M. Fuess

Catch them doing something right! If you can catch people doing something well, no matter how small it may seem, and positively reinforce them for doing it, they will continue to grow in a positive direction.

–Ken Blanchard

Of course class size matters. You have to find the child to teach the child.


Gifted Educators. Nothing can replace that special relationship that gifted educators develop with their students. Popular culture has long celebrated other heroes; the athlete, the adventurer, the statesman, but except for the occasional tale of Mr. Chips, Annie Sullivan or Jaime Escalante, teachers have not been celebrated in the same way. And classrooms have rarely been identified as the places where the greatest of human dramas unfold; the drama of igniting the human spirit, ennobling the human heart, and enriching the human experience.

–Disney’s American Teacher Awards Show

We must prepare students for their future not our past.

–David Thornburg

Many of us carry memories of an influential teacher who may scarcely know we existed, yet who said something at just the right time in our lives to snap a whole world into focus.

–Laurent A. Daloz

I will make the poor student good and the good student superior.

–Beth Levine

People populate the world. Teachers civilize it.


A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience’s attention. Then he can teach his lesson.

–Hendrik John Clarke

My father and mother wanted me to be a brain surgeon. I exceeded their expectations. I became a scholar and a teacher.

–Harry Wong

People develop feelings that they are liked, wanted, acceptable, and able from having been liked, wanted, accepted, and from having been successful. One learns these things not from being told, but only through the experience of being treated as though it were so.

–Arthur W. Woombs

Whoever teaches his son also teachers his son’s son—and so on to the end of man’s generations.

–Talmud: Kiddishun

It was a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.

–Felix Frankfurter

Why do people think just because they have been in school, they can teach? I’ve been to the hospital, but I don’t think I can do brain surgery.

–Nora Carr

In a study of school teachers, it turned out that when they held high expectations of their students, that alone was enough to cause an increase of 25 points in the students’ IQ scores.

–Charles McElroy

The easiest thing for the teacher to do is assign pages in the book, have the kids read and memorize, and give them a test on how good their memory is. That really turns kids off, especially elementary kids, who are interested in their world and want to explore it. The only way to encourage kids to explore the world around them is to do it, not read about it.

–Don ‘Mr. Wizard’ Herbert

Shortly after his appointment as professor of music at the University of California, Los Angeles, world-famous Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz was asked what had prompted this change of direction in this career. ‘Violin-playing is a perishable art,’ said Heifetz solemnly. ‘It must be passed on as a personal skill; otherwise it is lost.’ Then, with a smile, he continued: ‘I remember my old violin professor in Russia. He said that someday I would be good enough to teach.’

–Jascha Heifetz

Any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.

–J. S. Brunner

Students won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


Every child is different from every other and must be educated differently.

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

Concerning a teacher’s influence: I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized.

–Haim Ginott

The way to a student’s mind is through a teacher’s heart.


Nothing improves a student’s hearing more than praise.

—George Pawlas

I have a past that is rich in memories. I have a present that is challenging, adventurous and fun because I am allowed to spend my days with the future. I am a teacher.

–John W. Schlatter

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

–Elbert Hubbard

Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.

–Howard G. Hendricks

Our greatest contribution is to be sure there is a teacher in every classroom who cares that every student, every day, learns and grows and feels like a real human being.

–Dr. Donald O. Clifton

Children are our hope for the future. We are the hope for theirs.

–Lee Canter

No one rises to low expectations.

–Les Brown

Man is the only one that knows nothing, that can learn nothing without being taught. He can neither speak nor walk nor eat, and in short he can do nothing at the prompting of nature only, but weep.

–Pliny the Elder

You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.

–Publilius Syrus

If, in instructing a child, you are vexed with it for want of adroitness, try, if you have never tried before to write with your left hand, and then remember that a child is all left hand.

–J. F. Boyse

When you wish to instruct, be brief that men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.


Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.


We learn only from those we love.


If children do not learn the way we teach them, then we must teach them the way they learn.

–Dunn and Dunn

Everyone who remembers his own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the kingpin of the educational situation. He makes and breaks programs.

—Sidney Hook

To teach a man how he may learn to grow independently, and for himself, is perhaps the greatest service that one man can do another.

–Benjamin Jowett

Unless one has taught…it is hard to imagine the extent of the demands made on a teacher’s attention.

—Charles E. Silberman

If we succeed in giving the love of learning, the learning itself is sure to follow.

–Sir John Lubbock

Children are the messages we send to a future we will not see.

–Neil Postman

If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach.

–Sidney Sugarman

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

–William Arthur Ward

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

–Mark Van Doren

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

–Chinese Proverb

To teach is to learn.

–Japanese Proverb

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

–Roger Lewin

In teaching it is the method and not the content that is the message…the drawing out, not the pumping in.

–Ashley Montague


1. Thou shalt have other interests besides thy classroom!

2. Thou shalt not try to make of thy students images, for they are a lively bunch, visiting the wriggling of their captivity upon you unto the last weary moment of the day; and showing interest and cooperation unto those who can give them reasonable freedom in working!

3. Thou shalt not scream the names of thy students because of irritation, for they will not hold thee in respect if thou screamest their names in vain!

4. Remember the last day of the week to keep it happy!

5. Humor the feelings of thy students that their good will may speak well for thee in the little domain over which thou rulest!

6. Thou shalt not kill one breath of stirring endeavor in the heart of any student!

7. Thou shalt not suffer any unkindness of speech or action to enter the door of thy room!

8. Thou shalt not steal for the drudgery of many papers the precious hours that should be given to recreation, that thy strength and happiness may appear unto all that come within thy presence!

9. Thou shalt not bear witness to too many ‘schemes of work,’ for much scattered effort is a weariness to the soul and a stumbling block to weary fingers!

10. Thou shalt laugh when it blows and doors bang, when little angels conceal their wings and wiggle, and when Tommy spills ink and visitors appear at the precise moment, when all heads have forgotten everything you thought they knew!

And again I say unto you, ‘laugh;’ for upon these commandments hang all the law and profits in thy classroom.



I didn’t know the first day of class

the difference you’d make in my life;

what I felt at the start was a place in your heart

for a kid who wasn’t a star.

It seemed to me that others were smarter,

more popular and better at sports,

but for some reason, you must have believed

I too had a way to shine.

Even when I didn’t raise my hand

you’d ask me what I thought

and then you’d take the little thing I said

and treat it like a brilliant remark.

You smiled, you praised; your pats on the back

were for effort as much as success.

It was a miracle how you helped me to see

that no one is without talent.

Sometime during that unforgettable year

a precious insight dawned;

there are billions of stars—no two alike

and each one brightens the sky.

Though years have passed since you were my teacher,

the gift of your light still lasts;

you taught me to show other stars how to shine

each year when I get my new class.

–Holly B. Suhi

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

–George Bernard Shaw

Not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in teaching it.


When teachers have a low expectation for their children’s learning, the children seldom exceed their expectation. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

—John Niemeyer

The job of the teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement tempered by awe and wonder.

–John Garrett

Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated.

–Alex F. Osborn

A good teacher is someone who can understand those not very good at explaining and explain it to those not very good at understanding.

–M. Dale Baughman

A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. One candle can hardly light another unless it continues to flame.

–M. Dale Baughman

The teacher’s job is to make pupils and other listeners think often enough so that they learn to like it.

–M. Dale Baughman

Education has no terminus and he who is willing to serve through teaching will never lack pupils.

–Ahmed Bokhari

Be careful how you live; you may be the only Bible some people ever read. Be careful how you teach; you may be the only lesson some pupils ever learn.

–Lawrence C. Derthick

Every prospective teacher should be required to take courses in speech and dramatics. Education is 60 per cent communication and 40 per cent inspiration.

-Frederick Mayer

There is no final way to judge the worth of a teacher except in terms of the lives of those he has taught.

–Peabody Journal of Education

A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. The teacher who has come to the end of his subject, who has no living traffic with his knowledge but merely repeats his lessons to his students, can only load their minds; he cannot quicken them. Truth not only must inform but must inspire. If the inspiration dies out, and the information only accumulates, then truth loses its infinity. The greater part of our learning in the schools has been wasted because, for most of our teachers, their subjects are like dead specimens of once living things, with which they have a learned acquaintance, but no communication of life and love.

–Rabindranath Tagore

A great teacher is not one who imparts knowledge to his students, but one who awakens their interest in it and makes them eager to pursue it for themselves. He is a spark plug, not a fuel pipe.

–M. J. Berrill

Teachers come in assorted sizes, weights, and colors. They have various interests, hobbies, religions, and beliefs, but they share one creed: to help each child to reach the highest possible degree of personal development.

–Jane C. Butler

If I can change the lives of those who come under my tutelage, so they may live more abundantly, I shall not have taught in vain.

–M. Fern Slusher

It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.

–Albert Einstein

The world seldom notices who teachers are; but civilization depends on what they do and what they say.

–Lindsay J. Stiles

One of the basic contributions of the good teacher should be to create a spirit of honest inquiry and reflection in their students.

–Mark Starr

Only a person with imagination should teach.

–Evelyn Adlerblum

You can’t stop people from thinking—but you can start them.


The secret of education is respecting the pupil.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

–Jacques Barzun

Cultural inbreeding is a dominant factor in the selection of teachers; for the most part, children are taught by teachers brought up in the same state.

–Robert S. and Helen M. Lynd

If I had a child who wanted to be a teacher, I would bid him Godspeed as if he were going to a war. For indeed the war against prejudice, greed and ignorance is eternal, and those who dedicate themselves to it give their lives no less because they may live to see some fraction of the battle won.

–James Hilton

I beg of you to stop apologizing for being a member of the most important…profession in the world.

–William G. Carr

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.

–Clay P. Bedford

The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement tempered by awe and wonder.

–John Garrett

Thoroughly to teach another is the best way to learn for yourself.

–Tryon Edwards

To teach is to learn twice.

–Joseph Joubert

A high-school teacher, after all, is a person deputized by the rest of us to explain to the young what sort of world they are living in, and to defend, if possible, the part their elders are playing in it.

–Emile Capouya

Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

-Oscar Wilde

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon.


                          TEACHER IN ME

She laid down the rules on the first day of school

And I remember how I trembled inside

I never forgot how she expected a lot

And how she helped when I needed to try

And one thing I learned, you must be concerned

When somebody else is in need.

So write it big on my chalkboard, how I’m thankful for

That teacher who’s still living in me.

He picked up the ball, and said, ‘You must give your all

If I’m going to teach you to play.

You’ll always win if you never give in,

That’s a lesson you can rely on someday.’

How well I recall, when I carried the ball

I ran harder when I knew he could see.

And as the crowd roared, I thanked the Lord

For that teacher who was living in me.

This song cannot end, there’s still stories to spin

That took place down those hallways of time.

From the old one-room scene, to the architect’s dream

There’s a teacher who must come to your mind.

And through us they live on ’cause we pass them along.

They are made of the things life should be.

So let this whole world hear, let’s all stand and cheer

That teacher who’s still living in—you and me.


The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Conversation is the laboratory and workshop of the student.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do.

–John Stuart Mill

What will have to happen before those who teach learn a new tone of voice so that those who are taught can hear what they say?

–Margaret Mead

We like children who are a little afraid of us, docile, deferential children, though not, of course, if they are so obviously afraid that they threaten our image of ourselves as kind, lovable people whom there is no reason to fear. We find ideal the kind of ‘good’ children who are just enough afraid of us to do everything we want, without making us feel that fear of us is what is making them do it.

–John Holt

Life is a rose that withers in the iron fist of dogma.

–George Moore

It is the rigid dogma that destroys truth; and, please notice, my emphasis is not on the dogma but on the rigidity. When men say of any question, ‘This is all there is to be known or said of the subject; investigation ends here,’ that is death.

–Alfred North Whitehead

Education is a thing of which only the few are capable; teach as you will, only a small percentage will profit by your most zealous energy.

–George Gissing

The carefully fostered theory that schoolwork can be made easy and enjoyable breaks down as soon as anything, however trivial, has to be learned.

–Agnes Repplier

It is impossible to withhold education from the receptive mind, as it is impossible to force it upon the unreasoning.

–Agnes Repplier

It is because of our unassailable enthusiasm, our profound reverence for education, that we habitually demand of it the impossible. The teacher is expected to perform a choice and varied series of miracles.

–Agnes Repplier

Education is a matter of holding a balance between discipline and laxity, between over-solicitude and neglect, between spartanism and indulgence, between attachment and independence: that is true in one’s self-development and true in the relations of parent and teacher, too. There is no single prescribed path for creating this equilibrium; and the right measure for one moment will be the wrong measure for the next.

–Lewis Mumford

Children are notoriously curious about everything—everything except…the things people want them to know. It then remains for us to refrain from forcing any kind of knowledge upon them, and they will be curious about everything.

–Floyd Dell

The teaching profession should hang its official head at the way the superior child has been neglected.

–Dr. Karl A. Menninger

Teaching youngsters isn’t much like making steel…and essential as good technique is, I don’t think education is basically a technological problem. It is a problem of drawing out of each youngster the best he has to give and of helping him to see the world he is involved in clearly enough to become himself—among other people—in it, while teaching him the skills he will need in the process.

–Edgar Z. Friedenberg

All  practical teachers know that education is a patient process of the mastery of details, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. –Alfred North Whitehead

It was a formidable criticism when a student said, ‘They do not know I am here.’  In fact no teacher or official does, in most cases, become aware of the student as a human whole; he is known only by detached and artificial functions.

–Charles Horton Cooley

No use to shout at them to pay attention….If the situations, the materials, the problems before a child do not interest him, his attention will slip off to what does interest him, and no amount of exhortation or threats will bring it back.

-John Holt

Children who are treated as if they are uneducable almost invariably become uneducable.

–Kenneth B. Clark

No one who examines classroom life carefully can fail to be astounded by the proportion of the students’ time that is taken up just in waiting.

–Charles E. Silberman

There is one blanket statement which can be safely made about the world’s schools: the teachers talk too much.

–Martin Mayer

Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.

–Chinese Proverb

One does not improve through argument but through example; one does not touch except through emotion; one does not hope to excite love except through love. Be what you wish to make others become. Make yourself, not your words, a sermon.

–Henri Frederic Amiel

I heard many discourses which were good for the soul, but I could not discover in the case of any one of the teachers that his life was worthy of his words.

–Saint Basil

The first gold star a child gets in school for the mere performance of a needful task is its first lesson in graft.

–Philip Wylie

Teachers are overworked and underpaid. True, it is an exacting and exhausting business, this damming up the flood of human potentialities.

–George B. Leonard

A very wise old teacher once said: ‘I consider a day’s teaching is wasted if we do not all have one hearty laugh.’ He meant that when people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, master and pupils, workers and driver, jailer and prisoners, they become a single group of human beings enjoying its existence.

–Gilbert Highet

No other job in the world could possibly dispossess one so completely as this job of teaching. You could stand all day in a laundry, for instance, still in possession of your mind. But this teaching utterly obliterates you. It cuts right into your being: essentially, it takes over your spirit. It drags it out from where it would hide.

–Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Benevolence alone will not make a teacher, nor will learning alone do it. The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and implies a need and a craving in the teacher himself.

–John Jay Chapman

Teaching may hasten learning; it may also block it or kill it outright, or sometimes just render it comatose for years.

–James Harvey Robinson

A good teacher feels his way, looking for response.

–Paul Goodman

None of the young, neither the most idealistic nor the most cynical, is untouched by the sense that there are no adults anywhere in the world from whom they can learn what the next steps should be.

–Margaret Mead

To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is noble—and less trouble.

–Mark Twain

A teacher has to be totally unafraid of what he might find out as he teaches what he thinks he already fully comprehends.

–Mark Medoff

Humor denotes equality. Humor is purposely kept out of the classroom because humor is a leveler. Humor would kill the respect the teacher demands because laughter, mingling with that of his pupils, would make him too human.

–A. S. Neill

A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows on rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.


The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

–Anatole France

Everything I will ever know, everything I will ever pass on to my students, to my children, is an inseparable part of an ongoing legacy of our shared wonder and eternal hope that we can, must, make ourselves better.

–Mark Medoff

Men have a trick of coming up to what is expected of them, good or bad.

–Jacob Riis

Experience teaches only the teachable.

-Aldous Huxley

If you can learn from hard knocks, you can also learn from soft touches.

-Carolyn Kenmore

A courage which looks easy and yet is rare; the courage of a teacher repeating day after day the same lessons—the least rewarded of all forms of courage.


Let our teaching be full of ideas. Hitherto it has been stuffed only with facts.

–Anatole France

The teacher is one who makes two ideas grow where only one grew before.

–Elbert Hubbard

Self-education is fine when the pupil is a born educator.

–John A. Shedd

The intelligent have a right over the ignorant; namely, the right of instructing them.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.

–Ernest Dimnet

He teaches me to be good that does me good.

–Thomas Fuller

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love.


Charming women can true converts make,

We love the precepts for the teacher’s sake.

–George Farquhar

In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affections otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.

–Michel de Montaigne

Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.

–Rabbinical Saying

Above all things we must take care that the child, who is not yet old enough to love his studies, does not come to hate them and dread the bitterness which he has once tasted, even when the years of infancy are left behind. His studies must be made an amusement.

–Marcus Fabius


What greater or better gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth?


Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know….It is a painful, continual and difficult work to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise, but above all–by example.

–John Ruskin

We hear sometimes of an action for damages against the unqualified medical practitioner, who has deformed a broken limb in pretending to heal it. But, what of the hundreds of thousands of minds that have been deformed for ever by the incapable pettifoggers who have pretended to form them!

–Charles Dickens

Pressing people to learn things they do not want to know is as unwholesome and disastrous as feeding them on sawdust.

–George Bernard Shaw

You cannot teach old dogs new tricks.


You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.


A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others.


A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.

–Horace Mann

The teacher is like the candle which lights others in consuming itself.


I am not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead—ahead of myself as well as of you.

–George Bernard Shaw

You cannot practice for her every day

The knowledge that you give her will not stream

On her young mind in one bright, blinding ray

But you can plant a dream.

Ah, you can plant a dream in her young heart

A dream of excellence whose light will gleam

Upon her pathway as the years depart

Your words can plant a dream.

To sow a dream and see it spread and grow

To light a lamp and watch its brightness gleam

Here is a gift that is divine I know

To give a child a dream. 

–Anne Campbell

To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching. To attain it we must be able to guess what will interest: we must learn to read the childish soul as we might a piece of music. Then, by simply changing the key, we keep up the attraction and vary the song.

—Henri Frederic Amiel

I wanted to be a teacher because I felt I could ease the pain of change for youth. I wanted to make a worthwhile contribution…to be a leader…to be able to take young minds and mold them…to help determine the future of the world. 

–Donna H. Oliver

Teachers in the lower grades needn’t worry about automation until someone invents a machine that can blow noses and remove snowsuits and boots.


Efficient school teachers may cost more, but poor school teachers cost the most.


In the end, as any successful teacher will tell you, you can only teach the things that you are.

–Max Lerner

It’s frustrating when you know all the answers—and nobody bothers to ask you the questions.


Education helps you earn more. But not many school teachers can prove it.


’Tis an old maxim in the schools,

That flattery’s the food of fools;

Yet now and then your men of wit

Will condescend to take a bit.

–Jonathan Swift

A professor can never better distinguish himself in his work than by encouraging a clever pupil, for the true discoverers are among them, as comets amongst the stars.

–Linnaeus Bruner

There is no measure for influence,

Only the chance to see a life exercise it.

That is one of the built-in privileges

Of Teaching.


Our teaching must be for learning today, tomorrow, and to enrich life. And the mission of enriching life allows us to teach the whole child—and make learning for today and tomorrow meaningful.


Good teaching is loving and listening, sharing, and supporting—it is being passionately human. That is the point at which a good teacher begins.


Coming to school every day can become a hopeless task for some children unless they succeed at what they do. We teachers are the sentries against that hopelessness.


Some children are displaced at birth and may stay displaced unless their teachers offer them a nurturing location. What a wonderful gift if we can provide that place.


How children get to be responsible, successful adults is determined by what they can do with what happened yesterday. If we are mature, successful teachers, we can help them to use yesterday to live today and welcome tomorrow.


Sometimes the difference between being ordinary and extraordinary resides in the moment at which passion enters what we teach and how.


There are days when we find our colleagues difficult, and patience runs out. Rather than be reduced to sharp anger, maybe we should remember that there will be those days when we will have to call on their patience too.


The least likely child may be the one you reach today. Yesterday you may have been discouraged, but today you see something you didn’t see before. Maybe this is what yesterdays are for.


He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

–George Bernard Shaw

There are two ways of spreading light: to be

The candle or the mirror that reflects it.

–Edith Wharton

If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.


The whole secret of the teacher’s force lies in the conviction that men are convertible.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

A teacher is

better than two books.

–German Proverb

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

–Kahlil Gibran

He that teaches us anything which we knew not before is undoubtedly to be reverenced as a master.

—Samuel Johnson

Men universally are ungrateful toward him who instructs them, unless, in the hours or in the intervals of instruction, he presents a sweet cake to their self-love.

–Walter Savage Lander

It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.

–John Locke

A man who knows a subject thoroughly, a man so soaked in it that he eats it, sleeps it and dreams it—this man can always teach it with success, no matter how little he knows of technical pedagogy.

–H. L. Mencken

An educator never says what he himself thinks, but only that which he thinks it is good for those whom he is educating to hear.


He who wishes to teach us a truth should not tell it to us, but simply suggest it with a brief gesture, a gesture which starts an ideal trajectory in the air along which we glide until we find ourselves at the feet of the new truth.

–Jose Ortega y Basset

Too much rigidity on the part of teachers should be followed by a brisk spirit of insubordination on the part of the taught.

–Agnes Repplier

The severity of the master is more useful than the indulgence of the father.


The first duty of a lecturer—to hand you after an hour’s discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on the mantelpiece for ever.

–Virginia Woolf

One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen.

–Philip Wylie

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

–Chinese Proverb

Children should be led into the right paths, not by severity, but by persuasion.


Books are a world in themselves, it is true; but they are not the only world. The world itself is a volume larger than all the libraries in it.

–William Hazlitt

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Children have more need of models than of critics.

–Joseph Joubert

He that was only taught by himself had a fool to his master.

–Ben Jonson

There is no other method of teaching that of which anyone is ignorant but by means of something already known.

–Samuel Johnson

Nobody can be taught faster than he can learn….Every man that has ever undertaken to instruct others can tell what slow advances he has been able to make, and how much patience it requires to recall vagrant inattention, to stimulate sluggish indifference, and to rectify absurd misapprehension.

–Samuel Johnson

We are not quite at our ease in the presence of a schoolmaster because we are conscious that he is not quite at his ease in ours. He is awkward, and out of place, in the society of his equals. He comes like Gulliver from among his little people, and he cannot fit the stature of his understanding to yours.

–Charles Lamb

The best teacher, until one comes to adult pupils, is not the one who knows most, but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and the wonderful which slips into the infantile comprehension. A man of high intelligence, perhaps, may accomplish the thing by a conscious intellectual feat. But it is vastly easier to the man (or woman) whose habits of mind are naturally on the plane of a child’s. The best teacher of children, in brief, is one who is essentially childlike.

–H. L. Mencken

The truth is that the average schoolmaster, on all the lower levels, is and always must be…next door to an idiot, for how can one imagine an intelligent man engaging in so puerile an avocation?

–H. L. Mencken

It is the mission of the pedagogue, not to make his pupils think, but to make them think right, and the more nearly his own mind pulsates with the great ebbs and flows of popular delusion and emotion, the more admirably he performs his function. He may be an ass, but that is surely no demerit in a man paid to make asses of his customers.

–H. L. Mencken

Beware of fatiguing them by ill-judged exactness. If virtue offers itself to the child under a melancholy and constrained aspect, while liberty and license present themselves under an agreeable form, all is lost, and your labor is in vain.


You cannot teach a child to take care of himself unless you will let him try to take care of himself. He will make mistakes; and out of these mistakes will come his wisdom.

–Henry Ward Beecher

Childhood and genius have the same master-organ in common-inquisitiveness. Let childhood have its way, and as it began where genius begins, it may find what genius finds.

—Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The training of children is a profession, where we must know how to lose time in order to gain it.


A child cannot be taught by someone who despises him.

–James Baldwin

Arrogance, pedantry, and dogmatism are the occupational diseases of those who spend their lives directing the intellects of the young.

–Henry S. Canby

On the day of his death, in his eightieth year, Elliot, ‘the Apostle of the Indians,’ was found teaching an Indian child at his bedside. ‘Why not to rest from your labours now?’ asked a friend. ‘Because,’ replied the venerable man, ‘I have prayed God to render me useful in my sphere, and he has heard my prayers; for now that I can no longer preach, he leaves me strength enough to teach this poor child the alphabet.’

–S. Chaplin

It is a greater work to educate a child, in the true and larger sense of the word, than to rule a state.

–William Ellery Channing

If I force the child to see the world in the narrow patterns of my history and my perspective, I lose the opportunity to be a true teacher.

–Bob Samples

Any teacher who chooses to make a difference will make one.

–Harold Carter

Teaching children is an honor. Learning from them is a blessing.

–Dan L. Miller

Teaching: In the opinion of fools it is a humble task, but in fact it is the noblest of occupations.


Teachers are not an automatic fountain from which intellectual beverages may be drawn. They are either a witness or a stranger. To guide a pupil into the promised land, they must have been there themselves. When asking themselves: ‘Do we stand for what we teach? Do we believe what we say?’, they must be able to answer in the affirmative. What we need more than anything else is not textbooks, but textpeople. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that pupils read—the text they will never forget.

–Abraham Heschel

Teaching is the most difficult of all arts, and the profoundest of all sciences. In its absolute perfection, it would involve a complete knowledge of the whole being to be taught, and of the precise manner in which every possible application would affect it.

–Horace Mann

Those Who Can’t…Teach

Those who can, do

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t…neglect the needs and cries of others…


Those who can’t…pretend that children don’t need love, care, and guidance…


Those who can’t…stand the brokenness of so many children’s lives…


Those who can’t…forget the shining joy of a child who has finally ‘got it’…


Those who can’t…brush off the children’s lives they’ve changed…


Those who can’t…give up on a child, no matter how futile the effort may seem…


Those who can’t…give up the daily joy of seeing children getting excited about learning…


Those who can’t…imagine why anyone would want to do anything else…


Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.




Those who can, teach; those who can’t teach do something less significant.

–Dan L. Miller

Every adult needs a child to teach; it’s the way adults learn.

–Frank Clark

It is the fear of not being able to learn which makes students reject learning. It is our job to give students the light to have confidence in their ability.


Recall your students of the past fondly…and you may fondly teach the students you have today.


Good teaching is loving and listening, sharing, and supporting—it is being passionately human. That is the point at which a good teacher begins.


Some children are displaced at birth and may stay displaced unless their teachers offer them a nurturing location. What a wonderful gift if we can provide that place.


If we don’t model what we teach, we are teaching something else.


Whatever it is you want from students you must give them.


The lesson you teach today is not confined to the walls of your classroom. Once it is implanted in the heart and mind of a child, it can change the world.


Within even the reluctant student there is a small part that wants desperately to learn. The strength of the desire is determined by someone’s belief in him or her.


Facts by themselves are nothing…It is through teaching that they become something real, something students can grasp and use to shape their tomorrows.


The role of the teacher remains the highest calling of a free people. To the teacher our country entrusts her most precious resource, her children, and asks that they be prepared, in all their glorious diversity, to face the rigors of individual participation in a democratic society.

–Shirley Hufstedler

No calling in our society is more demanding than teaching; no calling in our society is more selfless than teaching; and no calling in is more central to the vitality of a democracy than teaching.

–Roger Mudd

The way to a student’s mind is through a teacher’s heart.


We spell teach with four ‘i’s’






I am not a teacher,

but an awakener.

–Robert Frost

James A. Garfield said that a log with a student on one end and Mark Hopkins, his old teacher, on the other end was his ideal college. The point in it all is that personal contact and direct interest in the individual student by an instructor of lofty character is the main thing in any institution of learning.

–F. S. Groner

We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit.

–Robert H. Shaffer

What the pupils want to learn is as important as what the teachers want to teach.

–Lois E. LaBar

We should turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.

—John Holt


A builder builded a temple;

He wrought with care and skill;

Pillars and groins and arches

Were fashioned to meet his will;

And me said when they saw its beauty:

‘It shall never know decay.

Great is thy skill, O Builder,

Thy fame shall endure for aye.’

A teacher builded a temple;

She wrought with skill and care;

Forming each pillar with patience,

Laying each stone with prayer.

None say the unceasing effort;

None knew of the marvelous plan;

For the temple the teacher builded

Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the builder’s temple;

Crumbled into the dust,

Pillar and groin and arches

Food for consuming rust;

But the temple the teacher builded

Shall endure while the ages roll;

For that beautiful, unseen temple.

Was a child’s immortal soul.


Children love to learn but hate to be taught.


A young child, a fresh uncluttered mind, a world before him—to what treasures will you lead him?

–Gladys M. Hunt


I saw tomorrow marching

On little children’s feet;

Within their forms and faces read

Her prophecy complete.

I saw tomorrow look at me

From little children’s eyes

And thought how carefully we’d teach

If we were only wise.


I touch the future. I teach.

–Christa McAuliffe

I am not a teacher—only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead—ahead of myself as well as of you.

–George Bernard Shaw


The education of a college president,

the executive ability of a financier,

the humility of a deacon,

the adaptability of a chameleon,

the hope of an optimist,

the courage of a hero,

the wisdom of a serpent,

the gentleness of a dove,

the patience of Job,

the grace of God, and

the persistence of the devil


The true aim of everyone who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinion, but to kindle minds.

–Frederick W. Robertson

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.

–Karl Menninger

There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly.

–Lola May

It isn’t what you’re teaching, it’s who you are!

–Bill Milliken

If we lose the child, we lose the adult.

–James Thompson

If I had a child who wanted to be a teacher, I would bid him God speed as if he were going to war. For indeed the war against prejudice, greed and ignorance is eternal, and those who dedicate themselves to it gave their lives no less because they may live to see some fraction of the battle won.

–James Hilton

If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in this 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

Teachers believe they have a gift for giving; it drives them with the same irrepressible drive that drives others to create a work of art or a market or a building.

–A. Bartlett Giamatti

Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.

–Marva Collins

My experience has been that I cannot teach another person how to teach…it seems to me that anything that can be taught to another is relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant influence on behavior.

–Carl Rogers

We know only too well the sorry spectacle of the teacher who, in the ordinary schoolroom, must pour certain cut and dried facts into the heads of scholars. In order to succeed in this barren task, she finds it necessary to discipline her pupils into immobility and to force their attention.

–Maria Montessori

A Successful Teacher Needs:

The education of a college president,

The executive ability of a financier,

The humility of a deacon,

The adaptability of a chameleon,

The hope of an optimist,

The courage of a hero,

The wisdom of a serpent,

The gentleness of a dove,

The patience of Job,

The grace of God, and

The persistence of the devil.


The Teacher

  said to the students:

‘Come to the edge.’

The replied: ‘We might fall.’

The teacher again said:

  ‘Come to the edge.’

and they responded:

  ‘It’s too high.’

‘Come to the edge’

  the teacher demanded.

And they came

  and the teacher pushed them

and they



Isn’t it strange that princes and kings

And clowns who caper sawdust rings

And common folks like you and me

Are builders of eternity?

To each is given a bag of tools,

A shapeless mass, a set of rules

And each must carve ere life is flown

A stumbling block or a stepping stone.


Teacher’s Creed

Look beyond each student’s face:

Try to get in touch

with the feelings

and the special dreams

that mean so very much…

Add a gift of kindness

to each lesson you impart;

Listen to the ones you teach,

and listen with your heart…

Be a teacher who  inspires

their respect and loyalty;

Be the kind of person

you want them to grow to be…


Teachers inspire dreams, save lives and give us hope for the future.


To teach is to touch a life forever.


Teacher’s Prayer

I want to teach my students how to live this life on earth

To face its struggles and its strifes

And to improve their worth

Not just the lessons in a book or how the rivers flow

But how to choose the proper path

Wherever they may go.

To understand eternal truth and know the right from wrong

And  gather all the beauty of

A flower and a song.

For if I help the world to grow in wisdom and in grace

Then I shall feel that I have won

And I have filled my place.

And so I ask your guidance, God

That I may do my part

For character and confidence and happiness of heart


Teacher’s Prayer


Enable me to teach with WISDOM,

  for I help to shape the mind.

Equip me to teach with TRUTH,

  for I help to shape the conscience.

Encourage me to teach with VISION,

  for I help to shape the future.

Empower me to teach with LOVE,

  for I help to shape the world.



In her classroom our speculations ranged the world.

She aroused us to book waving discussions.

Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas

Cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.

When she went away a sadness came over us,

But the light did not go out.

She left her signature upon us

The literature of the teacher who writes on children’s minds.

I’ve had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,

But only a few like her who created in me a new thing, a new attitude, a new hunger.

I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.

What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.

–John Steinbeck, California Teachers Association Journal, October, 1957

If you want to teach something, you should never tell a thing; you must illustrate it.

–Will Rogers

To guide students and watch as they explore ideas and form new concepts, as they stretch their minds and ultimately experience the limits of their own capabilities—this is The Challenge.

–Judi K. Steele

You can teacher a lesson for a day, but if you teach curiosity, you teach for a lifetime.


Teacher’s task: Take a lot of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.

—D. Martin

The most important motive for work in the school and in life is the pleasure in work, pleasure in its result and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

–Albert Einstein

Teaching without zest is a crime.

–Virginia Woolf

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.

—William Hazlitt

We think too much about effective methods of teaching and not enough about effective methods of learning.

—John Carolus

One of the saddest things about US education is that the wisdom of our most successful teachers is lost to the profession when they retire.

—John Dewey

Often we do a greater amount of good when we ‘listen’ to our students than when we ‘teach’ them.

—Robert John Meehan

My joy in learning is partly that it enables me to teach.


I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.


Teaching is 100% active duty.


Human beings are full of emotion, and the teacher who knows how to use it will have dedicated learners.

—Leon Lessinger

Only secretly rebellious teachers have ever done right by our least advantaged kids.

—Deborah Meier

Be a wonderful role model because you will be the window through which many children will see their future.

—Thomas Mckinnon

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

–Ed Frierson

The job of a teacher is to INSPIRE not perspire.


In every difficult or troubled time,

A student ought to be able

To look around and see

A teacher standing

In his or her corner.


Every child, regardless of the disguise, knows what he or she is not. We must teach each child what he or she can be.


If we don’t model

What we teach,

We are teaching

Something else.


Teachers who believe in students’ ability actually create an atmosphere in which it becomes easier to succeed.


Anyone who is overtly loved, listened to, and cherished, responds.

–Elaine L. Wilmore

Children absorb our lessons, and then time and experience help knit them together. Thought is a process, not an event.


The more educators EXPECT from students, the more they will GET.

–Fred Gosman

The OTHER teacher always gives LESS homework.

–Fred Gosman

The misbehaving child is NEVER ill.

–Fred Gosman

Teach today, touch tomorrow!


No matter how well planned, how interesting, stimulating, colorful or relevant the lesson, if the teacher does all the interacting with the material, the teacher’s—not the student’s—brain will grow.

–Pat Wolfe

A poor surgeon hurts one person at a time. A poor teacher hurts 130.

–Ernest Boyer

The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different—to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind, and spirit he or she possesses.

–John Fischer

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

–Albert Einstein

The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.

–Ellen Kay


An old man going a long highway

Came at the evening, cold and gray,

To a chasm vast and wide and steep,

With water rolling cold and deep.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim

The sullen stream had no fears for him;

But he turned when safe

on the other side,

And built a bridge to span the tide.

‘Old man,’ said a fellow pilgrim near,

‘You are wasting your strength

with building here.

Your journey will end

with the ending day,

You never again will pass this way.

You’ve crossed the chasm,

deep and wide,

Why build you this bridge at


The builder lifted his old gray head.

‘Good friend, in the path

I have come,’ he said,

‘There followeth after me today

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

The chasm that was as nought to me

To that fair-haired youth

may a pitfall be;

He, too, must cross in twilight dim—

Good friend, I am building

this bridge for him.’

–Will Allen Dromgoole

No calling in our society is more demanding than teaching; no calling in our society is more selfless than teaching; and no calling is more central to the vitality of a democracy than teaching.

–Roger Mudd

Awaken people’s curiosity…Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire.

—Anatole France

Facts by themselves are nothing…It is through teaching that they become something real, something students can grasp and use to shape their tomorrows.


Every child, regardless of the disguise, knows what he or she is not. We must teach each child what he or she can be.


Decades of research and reform have not altered the fundamental facts of teaching. The task of universal, public, elementary education is still usually being conducted by a woman alone in a little room, presiding over a youthful distillate of a town or city. If she is willing, she tries to cultivate the minds of children both in good and desperate shape. Some of them have problems that she hasn’t been trained even to identify. She feels her way. She has no choice.

–Tracy Kidder

Good teaching is not easily packaged. It escapes easy definition and has no cookie-cutter stamp. People often reminisce about a special teacher who changed their lives: instead, I’d like you to think of three or four teachers who seemed to you to do a good job. It would be a good bet that their styles—their relationship to you as a student, to the whole class, to their material, to the books—differed widely. One teacher might be authoritarian, commanding you to pull your mental socks up. Another might so obviously love the poem or story he’s teaching that the passion infected you and the other hard-boiled adolescents, and you began to think there might be something in this sissy stuff. Still another might insist that you come up with ideas, with responses, gently instilling in you the sense that you too can think big thoughts. You reacted differently to the various styles and personalities, but you weren’t bored in these classes.

–Ruth Mitchell

Youngsters and adults cannot learn if information is pressed into their brains. You can teach only by creating interest, by creating an urge to know. Knowledge has to

be sucked into the brain, not pushed into it. First, one must create a state of mind that craves knowledge, interest, and wonder.

–Victor Wiesskopf

Education does not cease the day we leave the classroom, nor are teachers only those who lecture us in front of blackboards. Teachers come in all conceivable forms: the newspaper columnist who examines an issue in a way you have never seen before, the basketball coach who makes you truly understand the value of discipline and teamwork, the child who trots home from school and tells you something you never knew about astronomy, Guatemala, or snowflakes.

–Bridget Sullivan

The only good advice is a good example. You don’t tell them a whole lot of anything. You show them by doing. You teach values by making choices in their presence. They see what you do and they make judgments on it.

–Ossie Davis

Just as a person is commanded to honor and revere his father, so he is under an obligation to honor and revere his teacher, even to a greater extent than his father; for his father gave him life in this world, while his teacher instructs him in wisdom, secures for him life in the world to come.


In ancient times a king decided to find and honor the greatest person among his subjects. A man of wealth and property was singled out. Another was praised for his healing powers; another for his wisdom and knowledge of the law. Still another was lauded for his business acumen. Many other successful people were brought back to the palace, and it became evident that the task of choosing the greatest would be difficult.

Finally, the last candidate stood before the king. It was a woman. Her hair was white. Her eyes shone with the light of knowledge, understanding, and love.

‘Who is this?’ asked the king. ‘What has she done?’

‘You have seen and heard all the others,’ said the king’s aide. ‘This is their teacher.’

The people applauded and the king came down from his throne to honor her.

–The Best of Bits & Pieces

If the teacher be corrupt, the world will be corrupt.

–Persian Proverb

We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.

—Will Richardson

Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.

—Fred Rogers

You might be just one person to the world, but you might be the world to one young student.

—Robert John Meehan

No man says of another: ‘I educated him.’ It would be offensive and would suggest that the victim was only a puppy when first taken in hand. But it is a proud thing to say, ‘I taught him’—and a wise one not to specify what.

–Jacques Barzun

Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.

—Diane Ravitch

No conqueror can make the multitude different from what it is; no statesman can carry the world affairs beyond the ideas and capacities of the generation of adults with which he deals: but teachers…can do more than either conqueror or statesman; they can create a new vision and liberate the latent powers of our kind.

–H. G. Wells

The most extraordinary thing about a really good teacher is that he or she transcends accepted educational methods. Such methods are designed to help average teachers approximate the performance of good teachers.

–Margaret Mead

I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager to get knowledge…When I have presented one corner of a subject to anyone, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.


Become the lesson you would teach.

–Leonard Roy Frank

We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.

–Maria Montessori

I care not whether my pupil is intended for the army, the church or the law. Before his parents chose a calling for him, nature called him to be a man…When he leaves me, he will be neither a magistrate, a soldier, nor a priest: he will be a man.

–Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Human beings are full of emotion, and the teacher who knows how to use it will have dedicated learners. It means sending dominant signals instead of submissive ones with your eye’s, body and voice.

–Leon Lessinger


Today I was a nurse binding a hurt with the white bandage of compassion,

A doctor healing a small, broken world,

A surgeon suturing a friendship together.

Today I was an alchemist seeking gold in base metals,

A scientist answering endless whys,

A philosopher pondering elusive truths.

Today, I was an entertainer, refreshing young minds with laughter,

A fisherman dangling learning as a bait,

A pilot guiding youth away from ignorance.

Today, I was a general campaigning against intolerance.

A lawyer speaking out for brotherhood,

A juror weighing right and wrong.

Today, I was a philanthropist sharing the might of the past,

A mother wholly giving love,

A humble follower of truth.

Mine are such varied occupations,

I am ‘just a teacher.’



From the moment we met in class,

I knew you were to be different.

There was something about you

that set me at ease.

When I’m in your class and laboratory,

I’m free to feel important; free to say and do.

Frankly, I feel lucky this year

to have found a caring teacher like you.

Like me, you speak Spanish,

and I believe you understand me.

Since elementary school,

no one has touched me like you.

So, from the moment we met,

I knew you were going to be in my corner,

Teacher, I like you; I need you.

May this be a very good year for both of us.

–Carlos Martinez, Grade 10

The essence of real leadership is to allow your people to see your need and desire for learning. Your actions speak more than your words. Today’s leaders must be students of change first, before they become teachers of change to others.

–Jack Kahl

Kid’s views are often just as valid as the teachers’. The best teachers are the ones that know that.

–Morley Safer

As a teacher, you should care about the human heart, not just about education. True compassion is not just an emotional response, but a firm commitment founded on reason. It is an attitude toward others that does not change, even if they behave negatively.

–The Dalai Lama

Your students must see by your behavior that you are genuinely committed and concerned about their well-being and future. If they do, your students will trust and respect you, and the values your behavior reflects will leave an indelible impression on their minds. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situations into beneficial ones.

–The Dalai Lama

The authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn.


Why do I stay? Because of the magic, the joy, and the celebrations. Because the growth and development of the kids is the growth and development of me. It is my way to make the world more beautiful.

–Judith Shively

A pupil receives but a fifth of the reward that accrues to the teacher.


Teaching is the fine art of imparting knowledge without possessing it.


What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?


Educators should be chosen not merely for their special qualifications, but more for their personality and their character, because we teach more by what we are than by what we teach.

–William James Durant

Definition of the essence of teaching: ‘It is a matter of getting little fires started. And how to do it? What is required is to have a fire in the belly.’

–Thomas Carlyle

My teacher thought I was smarter than I was; so I was.

–Six-Year-Old Student

Only the brave. Only the brave should teach.

Only those who love the young should teach.

Teaching is a vocation.

It is as sacred as the priesthood; as innate a desire as inescapable as the genius which compels a great artist.

If he has not the concern for humanity,

the love of living creatures,

the vision of the priest and the artist,

he must not teach.

–Pearl Buck

There is no office higher than that of a teacher of youth, for there is nothing on earth so precious as the mind, soul, character of the child. No office should be regarded with greater respect. The first minds of the community should be encouraged to assume it. Parents should do all but impoverish themselves, to induce such to become the guardians and guides of their children.

–William Ellery Channing

The Russian writer Anton Chekhov once told a story about a man who tried to teach a kitten to catch mice. Whenever the kitten refused to give chase, the man beat it. After the animal grew into an adult cat, it always cowered in terror in the presence of a mouse. ‘That,’ said Chekhov, ‘is the man who taught me Latin.’

–Patrick Welsh

I do not know that I could make entirely clear to an outsider the pleasure I have in teaching. I had rather earn my living by teaching than in any other way. In my mind, teaching is not merely a life-work, a profession, an occupation, a struggle: it is a passion. I love to teach. I love to teach as a painter loves to paint, as a musician loves to play, as a singer loves to sing, as a strong man rejoices to run a race. Teaching is an art—an art so great and so difficult to master that a man or woman can spend a long life at it, without realizing much more than his limitations and mistakes and his distances from the ideal.

–William Lyon Phelps

The teacher must be a Leader, a Master, in many cases a Lion-Tamer, a manager of wild beasts. It is essential, then, that the man or woman who teaches should have a strong personality, a dominant, fearless disposition. He is the Captain of the ship, and is as much alone in the schoolroom as the captain is alone with his crew on the high seas. Those who have never taught have no idea of the loneliness and responsibility of a school-teacher shut up in a big schoolroom with a pack of wild boys and girls. The teacher can consult outside of hours with his superiors or colleagues; he can get advice and talk over his difficulties. But when he goes into the classroom, shuts the door, takes the lonely seat behind the desk, and looks into the shining morning faces, then he is thrown back absolutely on himself. No power on earth can help him, and nothing can save the situation if he makes a blunder. There he needs all his resources, all his courage, and infinite patience.

–William Lyon Phelps

To be sure, there is an age-old prejudice against teaching. Teachers must share with doctors the world’s most celebrated sneers, and with them also the world’s unbounded hero-worship. Always and everywhere, ‘He is a schoolteacher’ has meant ‘He is an underpaid pitiable drudge.’ Even a politician stands higher, because power in the street seems less of a mockery than power in the classroom. But when we speak of Socrates, Jesus, Buddha, and ‘other great teachers of humanity,’ the atmosphere somehow changes and the politician’s power begins to look shrunken and mean. August examples show that no limit can be set to the power of a teacher, but this is equally true in the other direction: no career can so nearly approach zero in effects.

–Jacques Barzun

One might as well say he has sold when no one has bought as to say he has taught when no one has learned.

–John Dewey

People sometimes say, ‘I should like to teach if only pupils cared to learn.’ But then there would be little need of teaching.

–George Herbert Palmer

The master who has forgotten his boyhood will have poor success.

–A. Maclaren

You could stand all day in a laundry…still in possession of your mind. But this teaching utterly obliterates you. It cuts right into your being; essentially, it takes over your spirit. It drags it out from where it would hide.

–Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Everyone who remembers his own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods and techniques.

–Sidney Hook

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

–Kahlil Gibran

A teacher is an answer in search of a question.


We teach who we are.

–John Gardner

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

–Thomas Jefferson

If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others.

–Tryon Edwards

Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.


The question is not whether teachers will change, but when and how. The present education system cannot be tolerated. Teaching based on traditional methods is not just inadequate, it is actually injurious.

–Bill Page

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.

–Haim G. Ginott

Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.

–Bob Talbert

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

–Jacques Barzun

Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside their classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.

–Tracy Kidder

He that teaches himself hath a fool for a master.

–Benjamin Franklin

Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the ‘naturals,’ the ones who somehow know how to teach.

–Peter Drucker

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.

–Gail Godwin

The business of the American teacher is to liberate American citizens to think apart and act together.

–Stephen S. Wise

A good teacher is one who can understand those who are not very good at explaining, and explain to those who are not very good at understanding.

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

I am a teacher.

A teacher is someone who leads.

There is no magic here.

I do not walk on water,

I do not part the sea.

I just love children.

–Marva Collins

You can’t teach people anything. You can only draw out.

–George Washington Carver

What is the greatest sign of success for a teacher…? It is to be able to say ‘the children are now working as if I did not exist’.

–Maria Montessori

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

–Thomas J. Carruthers

You are not the kind of


who only teaches the things on

written pages.

You’ve taught me how to live

my life and how to think for


I can never repay You, I can

only thank you

and try to make you proud of


But I want you to know that

whatever I become,

however far I go in life,

I owe so much to you.

You are a treasure, never to be



The test of great teachers is whether they have helped their students to independence, to doing without them.

–Edgar Dale

I did my best,

But the teacher wrote,

In bright red,

‘You can do better.’

Now I’m sitting here


How can I do better

Than my best?

–Kalli Dakos

Teacher, could you?


Could you do

What you ask us to do?

Could you

Sit beside a friend,

and not speak too?

–Kalli Dakos

Everyday, an old man walked the beach with a pail, picking up starfish that had been washed in by the tide, and throwing them back into the sea. One day a young boy stopped the old man and asked, ‘Why do you throw the starfish back? It doesn’t matter. They will only wash up on the shore again tomorrow.’ The old man picked a starfish out of his pail, threw it as far as he could into the sea, and replied… ‘It mattered to this one.’


Great teachers see the dreams and yearnings of every student as an opportunity to motivate and guide each toward a tomorrow of great promise.


One teacher can shape a child;

One child can shape the world.


You cannot teach a person anything. you can only help him to find it in himself.


He is not necessarily the best teacher who performs the most labour; makes his pupils work the hardest, and bustles the most. A hundred cents of copper, though they make more clatter and fill more space, have only a tenth of the value of one eagle of gold.

–Emma Willard

A mother gives birth to the child; a teacher gives birth to the mind.


When you work for a corporation, you get financial rewards, but you never see the results of all your hard work. With teaching, you see the results every day and the rewards are immediate.

–Margaret Coppe

Teachers are the wagonmasters for the pioneers of the future.

–Greg Henry Quinn

The best flower won’t grow in the worst dirt, but the poorest flower will thrive in the richest loam.

–Greg Henry Quinn

The heart of teaching is teaching from the heart.

–Cornel Pewewardy

The higher calling we coaches and teachers have is to go beyond the immediate satisfaction of being liked. The question is, Can you wait 10 years for praise? Because it might take that long for a 15-year-old kid to see hat the steps you put him through were worthwhile in the long run.

–Ron Butler

Teaching is the most difficult of all arts, and the profoundest of all sciences. In its absolute perfection, it would involve a complete knowledge of the whole being to be taught, and of the precise manner in which every possible application would affect it.

–Horace Mann

We teach, not to make money but rather to make a difference.


A Teacher’s Motto:

Each and every day…

Each and every child.

I have the power, the passion, the skill, and the knowledge

to make a difference.

Each and every day…

Each and every child.

–Sandra McBrayer

Few have more opportunities to be heroes than do teachers.

–Greg Henry Quinn

The man who can make hard things easy is the educator.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.

—John Cotton Dana

It isn’t what you’re teaching, it’s who you are!

–Bill Milliken

I care, therefore, I teach.


A teacher, like a playwright, has an obligation to be interesting or, at least, brief. A play closes when it ceases to interest audiences.

–Haim G. Ginott

The greatest success of any life is that moment when a teacher touches a child’s heart and it is never again the same.

–Frosty Troy

No other intervention can make the difference that a knowledgeable, skillful teacher can make in the learning process.

–National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, Grow.’

–The Talmud

Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself.

–Jean Piaget

Teachers are more than any other class the guardians of civilization.

–Bertrand Russell

What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable, than that of teaching?

–Harriet Martineau

Teaching is the royal road to learning.

–Jessamyn West

The teacher can consult outside of hours with this superiors or colleagues; he can get advice and talk over his difficulties. But when he goes into the classroom, shuts the door, takes the lonely seat behind the desk, and looks into the shining morning faces, then he is thrown back absolutely on himself. No power on earth can help him, and nothing can save the situation if he makes a blunder. There he needs all his resources, all his courage, and infinite patience.

–William Lyon Phelps

Teachers who have plugged away at their jobs for twenty, thirty, and forty years are heroes. I suspect they know in their hearts they’ve done a good thing, too, and rare more satisfied with themselves than most people are. Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.

–Andy Rooney

Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them.

-Anatole France

No bubble is so iridescent or floats longer than that blown by the successful teacher.

–Sir William Osler

What constitutes the teacher is the passion to make scholars.

–George Herbert Palmer

I have never heard anyone whom I consider a good teacher claim that he or she is a good teacher—in the way that one might claim to be a good writer or surgeon or athlete. Self-doubt seems very much a part of the job of teaching: one can never be sure how well it is going.

–Joseph Epstein

Teacher: The child’s third parent.

–Hyman Maxwell Berston

Teachers should unmask themselves, admit into consciousness the idea that one does not need to know everything there is to know and one does not have to pretend to know everything there is to know.

–Esther P. Rothman

What was the duty of the teacher if not to inspire?

–Bharati Mukherjee

Let no child be demeaned, nor have his wonder diminished because of our ignorance or inactivity. Let no child be deprived of discovery because we lack the resources to discover his problem. Let no child—ever—doubt himself or his mind because we are unsure of our commitment.

–Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs nd pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.

–Dan Rather

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.

–Theodore Roethke

Continuous learning is not an option for educators; it is a mandatory and professional responsibility.

–Adam Urbanski

Imparting knowledge is only lighting other men’s candles at our lamp, without depriving ourselves of any flame.

–Jane Porter

Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.

–Colleen Wilcox

The new kind of teaching espoused by Rousseau and Dewey…encourages the natural development of the child on analogy with the development of an acorn into an oak….(But) a child is not…an acorn. Left to itself, a child will not grow into a thriving creature….A child needs to learn the traditions of the particular human society and culture it is born into.

–E. D. Hirsch

Teaching is touching life.

–Jaime Escalante

Those people who fill the curriculum with thousands of courses on Shakespeare would have denied Shakespeare a job because he lacked a degree. 

–Ishmael Reed

For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty who don’t want to learn.

–W. C. Sellar

Schoolteachers seemed determined to persuade me that ‘classic’ is a synonym for ‘narcotic’.

–Russel Baker

You cannot teach a child you fear.

–Jawanza Kunjufu

It is the work of time, a labor of patience, to become an effective schoolteacher; and it should be a work of love in which they who engage should not abate heart or hope until it is done. And after all, it is one of woman’s most sacred rights to have the privilege of forming the symmetry and rightly adjusting the mental balance of an immortal mind. 

–Francis Watkins Harper

I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

–Winston Churchill

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

–Albert Einstein

Teaching is an instrumental art, mindful of potential, craving of realizations; a pausing, seamless process.

–A. Bartlett Giamatti

Good teachers are usually a little crazy.

–Andy Rooney

The world talks to the mind. A teacher speaks more intimately; he talks to the heart.

–Haim Ginott

It is easy to love children in general, and it is easy to love almost all children individually. Once in a great while there is a child who is difficult to love. It takes a compassionate heart. To ensure that the limitations of the negative ‘don’ts’ and ‘never haves’ are erased from every child’s learning experience, a teacher needs to cultivate a mule-headed determination. Determination demands that every child will learn. These two, compassion and determination, are my guidelines as I work with every child every day.

–Jean Parmer

One can do anything, anything at all…if provided with a passionate and gifted teacher.

–Pat Conroy

I delight in learning so that I can teach.



Let me see if I’ve got this right.

You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning.

Not only that, I’m to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, behaviorally modify disruptive behavior, and observe them for signs of abuse, drugs, illness while checking to see that all T-shirt messages and clothing fall within the established guidelines.

I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for guns and raise their self-esteem.

I’m to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, how and where to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, buy a car and how to apply for a job, but I am never to ask if they are in this country illegally.

I am to check their heads occasionally for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of potential antisocial behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others, and oh yeah, teach, always making sure that I give the girls in my class fifty percent of my attention.

Evenings and weekends I am supposed to plan lessons and homework for the next school day that will be so exciting and entertaining that my students will prefer school work to watching MTV or playing video games. Before I can do this however, I must grade homework, papers and other assignments.

I’m required by my contract to be working, on my own time, summer and evenings and at my own expense towards additional certification, advance certification and a master’s degree, to sponsor the cheerleaders or the sophomore class and after school I am to attend committee and faculty meetings and participate in staff development training to maintain my current certification and employment status.

I am to collect data and maintain all records to support and document our building’s progress in the selected state mandated program to ‘assess and upgrade educational excellence’ in the public schools.

I am to be a paragon of virtue larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority.

I am to pledge allegiance to supporting family values, a return to the basics, and my current administration.

I am to incorporate technology into the learning, but monitor all web sites for appropriateness while providing a personal one-on-one relationship with each student.

I am to decide who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit crimes in school or who is possibly being abused and I can be sent to jail for not mentioning these suspicions to those in authority.

I am to make sure ALL students pass the state and federally mandated testing and all classes, whether or not they attend school on a regular basis or complete any of the work assigned.

I am to communicate frequently with each student’s parent by letter, phone, newsletter, and grade card.

I’m to do all of this with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45 minute or less plan time, and a big smile on a starting salary that could qualify my family for food stamps in many states. Is that all?

–Bob Collins Radio Show

The sweetest path of life leads through the avenues of learning, and whoever can open up the way for another, ought, so far, to be esteemed a benefactor to mankind.

–David Hume

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.


The well-meaning people who talk of education as if it were a substance distributable by coupon in large or small quantities never exhibit any understanding of the truth that you cannot teach anybody anything that he does not want to learn.

–George Sampson

Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.

–John Lubbock

If the heavens were all parchment, and the trees of the forest all pens, and every human being were a scribe, it would still be impossible to record all that I have learned from my teachers.

–Jochanan Ben Zakkai

The factual teachers were the happiest. They were competent men who knew every detail of their subjects. For them teaching was a job in agriculture. Break up the field of the mind by threats of plowing its wild oats under. Plant the seeds of honest fact—declensions, dates, formulas. Reap the crop at examination time, and woe to the boy with an empty basket.

–Henry Seidel Canby

Even though fathers, grandparents, siblings, memories of ancestors are important agents of socialization, our society focuses on the attributes and characteristics of mothers and teachers and gives them the ultimate responsibility for the child’s life changes.

–Sara Lawrence Lightfoot

Quintilian (educational writer in Rome about A.D. 100) hoped that teachers would be sensitive to individual differences of temperament and ability….Beating, he thought, was usually unnecessary. A teacher who had made the effort to understand his pupil’s individual needs and character could probably dispense with it: ‘I will content myself with saying that children are helpless and easily victimized, and that therefore no one should be given unlimited power over them.’

–C. John Sommerville

Whether or not you have children yourself, you are a parent to the next generation. If we can only stop thinking of children as individual property and think of them as the next generation, then we can realize we all have a role to play.

–Charlotte Davis Kasl

Those of us who are in this world to educate—to care for—young children have a special calling: a calling that has very little to do with the collection of expensive possessions but has a lot to do with the worth inside of heads and hearts. In fact, that’s our domain: the heads and hearts of the next generation, the thoughts and feelings of the future.

–Fred Rogers

Kids forget much of what we teach them. They never forget how we treat them.

–James Fitzpatrick

Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and the way he understands it.


If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and what he could be.


When I transfer my knowledge, I teach. When I transfer my beliefs, I indoctrinate.

–Arthur Danto

Teachers should unmask themselves, admit into consciousness the idea that one does not need to know everything there is to know and one does not have to pretend to know everything there is to know.

–Esther P. Rothman

Wonderful teachers, and especially the teachers of young children, have much more, I think, than what technicians might refer to as ‘proficiency.’ Their calling, when it’s filled with merriment and beauty, makes me think of joyful priests in Sunday robes when they prepare to give communion. Their gestures—even mundane classroom operations like the passing out of textbooks or the rapid, energetic ‘tap-tap’ of the chalk against the board—become infused with mystery, authority, and elegance, like secular epiphanies. Teaching children of this age, when it’s done right, is more than craft; it’s also partly ministry and partly poetry.

–Jonathan Kozol

I find teaching extraordinarily satisfying. I’m teaching young people who will move into local, state, and federal positions of power.

–Barbara Jordan

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.

–Japanese Proverb

As your teacher, I work for you, for the tilling of your minds and the fruit of your ever-growing souls.

–George Ella Lyons

What is to give light must endure burning.

–Viktor Frankl

As you well know, there are few professions as challenging as teaching. Families, businesses, and communities in general entrust teachers with the weighty task of preparing students to be lifelong learners, productive workers and responsible citizens. The increasing complexity of the world, with burdensome social issues and shifting economic demands, makes the work more difficult than ever before. Yet, for those like you who choose the profession and dedicate themselves to doing it well, the rewards make the journey worthwhile.

–Peter McWalters

To teach is to transform by informing, to develop a zest for lifelong learning, to help pupils become students—mature independent learners, architects of an exciting, challenging future. Teaching at its best is a kind of communion, a meeting and a merging of the minds.

–Edgar Dale

Most people believe that all that is required of teachers is knowledge of the subject matter. We know much better. We have seen many experts in the content who cannot teach. The world is full of people who can do, but can’t teach. We can.

–Albert Foshay

The task of the best teacher is to balance the difficult juggling act of becoming vitally, vigorously, creatively, energetically, and inspiringly unnecessary.

–Gerald O. Grow

As adults, when we think back to our years in school, we remember teachers, not instructional methods and techniques. We remember the teachers who saw something special in us and made a connection, planting those cherished memories and good feelings that continue to live within us where ever we are or what ever we’ve become.

–John Blaydes

But let us never forget that the true heroes of our society are not to be found on a movie screen or football field. They are to be found in our classrooms.

–Elizabeth Dole

Within even the reluctant student there is a small part that wants desperately to learn. The strengh of the desire is determined by the teacher’s belief in him or her.


Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.

–C. Everett Koop

Your daily walk alongside children has taught them how to walk, and by your example…where to walk. Your FOOTPRINTS will be the stepping stones to their future.

The Master Teacher

When traveling in unfamiliar territory, explorers frequently consult their compasses to ensure they have not lost their way or are not headed in a direction away from their destination. The value of a compass is that it defines one direction—north. All other directions can be determined and selected or rejected based on this knowledge. As educators, we also need to consult our professional compass. Rather than showing north, our compass needs to point directly at helping students learn. Every issue, every decision, and every expenditure of an organizational resource—human or financial—must be judged on its consistency with the point of our compass. If we are clear and consistent in our pursuit of and support for student learning, we can monitor our direction and adjust our course with relative ease. Like explorers, we need to frequently consult our compass and adjust our course accordingly. However, our compass is not something we can carry in our pociet. We must keep it in our hearts and minds.

The Master Teacher

Turning darkness into light,

Like a beacon in the night.

Guiding students as they sail

through each school day’s travail.

Leading them to self-confidence

as they weather each experience.

And when they safely reach the shore,

you light the world they explore.

The Master Teacher

Every child, regardless of the disguise, knows what he or she is not. We must teach each child what he or she can be.


Our lives are shaped by those who love us…by those who refuse to love us.

–John Powell

A child’s mind is like a bank. Whatever you put in, you get back in ten years, with interest.

–Frederic Wertham

I dreamed I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there.

The clay they used was a young child’s mind,

They fashioned it with care.

One was a Teacher—

The tools he used were books, music, and art.

One was a Parent with a guiding hand,

With a gentle loving heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled,

With touch that was deft and sure;

While the parent labored by his side

To polish and smooth it over.

And when at last their task was done,

They were proud of what they had wrought

For the things they molded into the child

Could neither be sold or bought.

Each agree he might have failed

If he had worked alone

For behind the parent stood a school

And behind the teacher a home.


Today society asks more of educators than ever before. You are required to be social workers, computer experts, juvenile officers, mediators, researchers, business partners, interdisciplinary team members and chemical dependency counselors. You must provide for children who don’t speak English; who are gifted learners, visual learners; kinesthetic learners, voracious learners, and reluctant learners; who are emotionally disturbed, hungry and homeless. We ask you to teach children how to drive, get along with others, balance a checkbook, make healthy choices, use new technologies—and, yes, how to read, write and do arithmetic.

–Jim Tunney

Great teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon.

–Ann Lieberman

Teaching is an intellectual conversation. It’s a chance to share your passions for books and ideas with others. For me, it’s a great joy to watch people’s minds expand and mature.

–Barbara Newman

The molding of minds is about the noblest work that man or angel can do.

–Horace Mann

You always remember the teacher who said, ‘Bill, you’re a unique moment in history. You are a unique being. What are you going to do to deserve that uniqueness?’

–Vartan Gregorian

Our teachers, the best ones, did they not love what they did? Was it not their love that made us feel we wanted more? Their love made learning come alive.

–Wayne Muller

I don’t think there’s any way you could be in this business and not have an optimistic spirit.

–Teacher Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot

First teach a person to develop to the point of his limitations and then—pfft!—break the limitation.

–Viola Spolin

No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true educator should be to unlock that treasure.

–Emma Goldman

We work for the children because children are the world’s hope.

–José Marti

Parents have to be recognized as special educators, the true experts on their children; and professional people…have to learn to be consultants to parents.

–Nicholas Hobbs

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

–C. S. Lewis

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.

–Clarence Darrow

A child miseducated is a child lost.

—John F. Kennedy

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.

–Carol Johnston

Some say, ‘To teach is to touch the life of a child.’ I believe, ‘To teach is to let a child touch your life.’

–Kelly Ekedahl

A student wants to feel that the instructor is not simply passing on dead knowledge in the form that it was passed on to him, but that he has assimilated it and has read his own experience into it, so that it has come to mean more to him than almost anything in the world.

–Randolph Bourne

By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn.

–Latin Proverb

He who wishes to teach us a truth should not tell it to us, but simply suggest it with a brief gesture which starts an ideal trajectory in the air along which we glide until we find…the new truth.

–Jose Ortega Gasset

A man who knows a subject thoroughly, so soaked in it that he eats it, sleeps it, and dreams it—this man can always teach it with success.

–H. L. Mencken

Surely the highest charge in teaching is to teach what we ourselves have loved.

–Willian Bennett

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

–Robert Louis Stevenson

Schoolteachers are not fully appreciated by parents until it rains all day Saturday.

–E. C. McKenzie

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

–George Eliot

Teaching is the world’s most important job.

–United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.


Child, give me your hand that I may walk in the light of your faith in me.

-Hannah Kahn

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

–Kahlil Gibran

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.

–Albert Einstein

Sharing is the essence of teaching. It is, I have come to believe, the essence of civilization….Without it, the imagination is but the echo of the self, trapped in a soundproof chamber, reverberating upon itself until it is spent in exhaustion or futility.

–Bill Moyers

I do not teach children. I give them joy.

–Isadora Duncan

When the uncapped potential of a student meets the liberating art of a teacher, a miracle unfolds.

–Mary Hatwood Futrell

Teaching is a potent drunkenness, an exhilaration, and it is one that does not leave depression in its wake.

–Sylvia Ashton-Warner

I was only a little mass of possibilities. It was my teacher who unfolded and developed them…She never since let pass an opportunity to make my life sweet and useful.

-Helen Keller

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.

–Tom Brokaw

Above all, teaching is about relationships. And because it’s about relationships, it’s also characterized by questions that can never be fully resolved. Relationships, even as we try to build them, are subject to erosion, breakage, various ills. That’s why relationships are hard to create and harder still to sustain, and why it’s much more difficult to be a good teacher than most people imagine.

–David Ruenzel

It seemed to me the supreme, heartbreaking happiness to enter a classroom and start a lesson with the mysterious air of one about to unfold wonders.

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

It is a luxury to learn; but the luxury of learning is not to be compared with the luxury of teaching.

–Roswell Dwight Hitchcock

A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded that he cannot do, never does all he can.

–John Stuart Mill 

The schoolmaster is abroad, and I trust more to him, armed with his primer, against the soldier in full military array, for upholding and extending the liberties of his country.

–Henry Brougham

The teacher’s life should have three periods—study until 25, investigation until 40, profession until 60, at which age I would have him retired on a double allowance.

–Sir William Osler

Two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just give you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.

–Robert Frost

An error means a child needs help, not a reprimand or ridicule for doing something wrong.

–Marva Collins

Let the radiance of my enthusiasms envelop the poor courtyard and the bare classroom. Let my heart be a stronger column and my goodwill purer gold than the columns and gold of rich schools.

–Gabriela Mistral

One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.

–Maria Montessori

No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.

–James Comer

Never be discouraged though your task seems overwhelming; keep kindling young minds—the flame of learning will soon ignite.


The best of teachers are those who have labored to be understood by the dullest capacities.

–Charles H. Spurgeon

Everything I learn about teaching I learn from bad students.

–John Holt

Helping students live up to their potential is how we, as professional educators, live up to ours.


It’s important to come into the classroom each day knowing you are going to touch a child….All the math and stuff is important. But it’s the relationships, the humanity, that’s important….If you can actively engage them, they want to be here, and you’ve won the battle. I often get kids who I call the wounded ones. They need confidence. Once they have that confidence, they just fly. It’s the joy of the job.

–Jill Hall

‘Where are the heroes of today?’ a radio talk show host thundered. He blames society’s shortcomings on education.

Too many people are looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Movie stars and rock musicians, athletes, and models aren’t heroes; they’re celebrities.

Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn’t make the news.  There is no precedent for the level of violence, drugs, broken homes, child abuse, and crime in today’s America. Education didn’t create these problems but deals with them every day.

You want heroes?

Consider Dave Sanders, the school teacher shot to death while trying to shield his students during a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. He and other less heralded heroes demonstrated that day a concern for others that transcended a concern for their own life.

You want heroes?

Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, NC teacher, was moved by the plight of one of her students, a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant. So this woman told the family of a 14 year old boy that she would give him one of her kidneys. And she did. When they subsequently appeared together hugging on the Today Show, even Katie Couric was near tears.

You want heroes?

Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could wring the best out of every single child. One of her fellow teachers in San Jose, Calif. said, ‘She could teach a rock to read.’ Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is always fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on job – and did. When her voice was affected she communicated by computer. Did she go home? Absolutely not! She is running two elementary school libraries! When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach – that dying is a part of  living. Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.

You want heroes?

Bob House, a teacher in Gay, Georgia, tried out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire. After he won the million dollars, a network film crew wanted to follow up to see how it had impacted his life. New cars? Big new house? Instead, they found both Bob House and his wife still teaching. They explained that it was what they had always wanted to do with their lives and that would not change. The community was both stunned and gratified.

You want heroes?

Last year the average school teacher spent $468 of their own money for student necessities – workbooks, pencils – supplies kids had to have but could not afford. That’s a lot of money from the pockets of the most poorly paid teachers in the industrial world. Schools don’t teach values? The critics are dead wrong. Public education provides more Sunday School teachers than any other profession. The average teacher works more hours in nine months than the average 40-hour employee does in a year.

You want heroes?

For millions of kids, the hug they get from a teacher is the only hug they will get that day because the nation is living through the worst parenting in history. An Argyle, Texas kindergarten teacher hugs her little 5 and 6 year-olds so much that both the boys and the girls run up and hug her when they see her in the hall, at the football games, or in the malls years later. A Michigan principal moved me to tears

with the story of her attempt to rescue a badly abused little boy who doted on a stuffed animal on her desk – one that said, ‘I love you!’ He said he’d never been told that at home. This is a constant in today’s society – two million unwanted, unloved, abused children in the public schools, the only institution that takes them all in.

You want heroes?

Visit any special education class and watch the miracle of personal interaction, a job so difficult that fellow teachers are awed by the dedication they witness. There is a sentence from an unnamed source which says, ‘We have been so eager to give our children what we didn’t have that we have neglected to give them what we did.’ What is it that our kids really need? What do they really want? Math, science, history and social studies are important, but children need love, confidence, encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to listen, standards to live by. Teachers provide upright examples, the faith and assurance of responsible people.

You want heroes?

Then go down to your local school and see our real live heroes – the ones changing lives for the better each and every day! Now, pass this on to someone you know who’s a teacher, or to someone who should thank a teacher today.

I’d like to see this sent to all those who cut down the importance of teachers. They have no idea who a public school teacher is or what they do.

–Frosty Troy


The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.


How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:  The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.  ‘Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.’

–Charles Schultz

I will not measure the success of my life by the money I have made or the value the public puts on my profession. The purpose of my life has been to encourage, teach, and give hope.

–Laurie Barnoski

I continue to teach because every August I still get butterflies thinking about that first day of school. I hope I will be a better teacher than the year before, and I hope I will remember how profoundly confusing it is to be 13. I also hope that each new teacher will be smitten and stay.

–Linda Kovaric

I work in a profesison I call my passion. I work with colleagues I call my friends. I work with leaders I call my heroes. I work with kids I call my babies. There is no other job on this planet that can make me feel that alive.

–Jodi Grossner-Gonzalez

I just try and think. ‘How can I make teaching fun for my kids?’ I want to make it lasting learning, and I try to just be as creative as I can.

–Samuel Bennett

Kids that have hope, do well. Kids that don’t, struggle. I think our major responsibility is to create legitimate pathways to hope.

–Scott Mendelsberg

When teachers recognize that knowledge for improvement is something they can generate, rather than something that must be handed to them by so-called experts, they are on a new professional trajectory. They are on the way to building a true profession of teaching, a profession in which members take responsibility for steady and lasting improvement. They are building a new culture of teaching.

–Hiebert and Stigler

Effective teaching is quite different from the teaching that is typically found in most classrooms.

–Allen Odden and Carolyn Kelley

Having an above average teacher for five years running can completely close the average gap between low-income students and others.

–John Kain and Eric Hanushek

Recipe for a Teacher—Select a young and pleasing personality, trim off all mannerisms of voice, dress or deportment. Pour over it a mixture of equal parts of the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of young Daniel, the strength of Samson and the patience of Job.

Season with the salt of experience, the pepper of animation, the oil of sympathy and a dash of humor.

Stew for about four years in a hot classroom, testing occasionally with the fork of criticism thrust in by a principal or superintendent.

When done to a turn, garnish with a meager salary and serve hot to the community.


The quality of the relationship between teachers and students is the single most important aspect of middle level education.

–Van Hoose


Three businessmen and three business women will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 6 weeks. Each businessperson will be provided with a copy of the school district’s curriculum and have a class of 28 students to teach.

Each class will have five learning disabled children, three with ADD, one gifted child, and two who have limited English proficiency. And three will be identified a having severe behavior problems.

Each businessperson must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives, and modify, organize, or create materials accordingly. He or she will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences.

They must also supervise recess and monitor the hallways. In addition, they will complete drills for fire, tornadoes, or shooting attacks. They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, union meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their non-English-speaking students proficient enough to take the state assessment exams.

If the businesspeople are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, wring, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times.

They will have access to the golf course only on the weekends, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford golf anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them to lunch—and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes. 10 of which must be spent walking students to the cafeteria, getting them through the lunch lines, and seating them at the correct table.

On days when they do not have recess duty, the businesspeople will be permitted to use the staff restroom—as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

They will be provided with two 40-minute planning periods per week while their students are at ‘specials.’ If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials at this time.

The businesspeople must continually advance their education on their own time and pay for this advanced training themselves. This can be accomplished by moonlighting at a second job or marrying someone with money. The winner will be allowed to return to his/her job in the business world.



Teachers are paid too much! I’m fed up with teachers and their hefty salaries for only 9 months’ work! What we need here is a little perspective. If I had my way, I’d pay teachers babysitting wages.

That’s right. Instead of paying these outrageous taxes, I’d give them $3.00 an hour. And I’m only going to pay them for 5 hours, not planning time. That would be $15.00 a day. Each parent should pay $15.00 a day for these teachers to babysit their children. Even if they have more than one child, it’s still cheaper than private day care.

Now how many children do they teach a day—maybe 20? That’s $15.00 x 20 = $300.00 a day. But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I’m not going to pay them for all the vacations: $300.00 x 180 = $54,000.

Just a minute, my calculator must need batteries.

What will teachers say about those who have 10 years of experience and a Master’s degree? Well, maybe (just to be fair) they could get the minimum wage. We can round that off to about $6.00 an hour, times 5 hours, times 20 children. $6.00 x 5 20. That’s $600 a day times 180 days. That’s only $108,000.

Wait a minute! There is something wrong here.


Teaching is a smiling public-service vampire that drinks blood and brain without a thank you.

–Sylvia Plath

Giver Of A Lifelong Gift

You are the

giver of a lifelong gift.

An impulse;

an enduring tool; a prolific engine called learning. The infectious transfer of enthusiasm.

A glittering implosion…

the exhilaration of thinking!

And because

the price

can be

so very


there are


who risk

the full


of caring,



as you do.

It is



your sacrifice

your courage

through which




the fruits

of your








for sharing.

So please know, and remember always,

that in the giving of your priceless

loving gift, boundless, limitless, you make their future

and ours.

It is

for this

that forever,


the world

will be

in your


For you

are the


of a



And we…

we thank you; we …




—Francis Xavier Trujillo


I feel sometimes powerless and small overwhelmed and inadequate engulfed in thoughts and feelings that perhaps what I am doing is insignificant, that my life’s pursuit, that my teaching, is futile.

And I say, ‘Who am I to change the world? Who am I to think that I can make a difference?’

And then I reflect on the young people under my charge, and I think about my role and shout what power, if any, I have.

And I find that I am not devoid of resources or strength, that I am, indeed, endowed with talent and ability and strength.

I do, after all, decide what will be taught. No one else. And it is largely my prerogative when it will be taught and how, and where. And why it will be taught.

To a great extent I determine the curriculum. And the richness and intensity with which it is taught is in my hands.

I have that power.

And I have the ability to think and to plan and then to implement; to select from my repertoire of skills the one best suited to my purpose, yet still able to adapt myself to student needs with the dexterity of an artisan.

Most adults would be fortunate to perhaps last out one day overseeing a roomful of kids. My orchestration makes enlightened music of the chaotic din.

I guess you could say that is power!

I have the power. I have the vigor to motivate, the fullness to laugh, the courage to control. I have the power to uplift and to create and, when I’m red-hot, the intensity to inspire!

I can form my students into lines or circles triangles or squares.

My influence is such I can turn their very feelings into F’s or A’s.

With lust one look I can let a student know that everything is well with the world and that he or she has a perfect right to aim for the very top of it all!

And I can use my hands! Turned up to lift them up. Or turned down to keep them down.

What power do I have in the system? In the eyes of my students I am the system.

And I have the power to lead them places they did not know existed, to build them back up when society tears them down, to catapult them higher than I myself will ever reach, and to push them gently, but assuredly, into the unknown, painting for them in broad brush strokes a future I can never hope to see.

And every day I have the wherewithal in my classroom to build walls or to build bridges between the generations.

And it is within my discretion to design a rigid, competitive structure or a cooperative, helping network in my classroom.

I even affect the weather! What I do every day determines whether their world will be indifferent cold, or sweathouse hot, or warm, inviting, alive, and vibrant with learning.

I have an awesome power.

If I succeed, I pass knowledge about what is important to the next generation.

And, because their world will be the better for my labor, mine is an important service to a just cause.

Mine is a present power and a future power.

If I can reach the children of today, I touch the children of tomorrow.

Mine is a giving power.

All that I know about the world and about how one learns about the world must give.

And in the giving of my gift, I receive my greatest power: The power to teach my students

To learn how to learn. Empowering them is of the essence, for if their teacher feels sometimes powerless and small, how insignificant must they sometimes feel?

And when the last day comes, and it is time for us to part we gather together say our goodbyes and separate.

After that there is sadness but a certain contentment that I am sure only teachers feel.

It is a happiness that comes from knowing that a part of us forever, transplanted, lives. No, thrives! inside of each individual who has gazed at us across tired brown desks and called us ‘Teacher.’

Even on a down day —when I’m feeling puny and insignificant—even then I try hard to remember that all it takes is one person—just one person!—to make a difference in their lives.

And, there is no reason in the world that that person can not and should not be me!

I can make a difference!

That is my power.

That is the power to teach.

–Francis Xavier Trujillo


By Richard Peck


and it’s lonely work because I’m the only member of my species in the room.

I like kids, and I love my subject matter,

and I have higher hopes for these kids of mine than they have for themselves:

I want them to create. They want to consume.

I want them to love the world. They want the world to love them.

I want every day to be different. They want every day to be the same.

I want them to burn with zeal, about something. They want to be cool, about everything.

I want them to think. They want me to tell them.

I want the bell to ring. They want the bell to ring.


I’m not their buddy, I don’t want to be. I’ve seen what they do to their buddies.

I’m not their parent, and yet they’re looking high and low for parents and can’t seem to find them.

I’m their teacher. I don’t want them to take me at my word.

I want them to find the words.


So I’m perfectly willing to move mountains. If you’ll send me some hands for my end of the lever:

Send me a couple of administrators who care more about standards than they do about their jobs.

Send me an occasional parent who sees in me a colleague, not a scapegoat.

Send me a few kids every year, willing to brave their peers in order to learn. 


I want to make bricks. Could you send me some straw?


—Richard Peck

A Teacher Is–

A teacher is

the center link

in a branched chain.

FASTENING . . . helping others put even little things together.

SUPPORTING . . .. like someone strong helping someone frail; only across the blaring and crowded avenues of the mind.

CONVEYING … as in taking others places they have never been.

TRANSMITTING . . . like a foghorn in a stormy sea.

SECURING … as a grandma caresses her grandchild.

BONDING . . . a human glue that sticks us all together.

LINKING . . . people to things and things to people; and all of us to one another.

INTERRELATING . . . like a translator, serving two heads of state.

CONNECTING . . . people and ideas; like when two wires touched, produce light.

UNITING … constantly bringing the far apart together.

BINDING …as in for all eternity, forever.

A teacher is

the pivotal link

connecting children to adults

and children

yet to be.

A teacher is the crucial link

in the chain from the past to the future.

And from the unknown

to the known.

Holding together

for all the world

what was

what is



one day




and must


It is this,

and more,


a teacher is.

–Francis Xavier Trujillo

Unless one has taught…it is hard to imagine the extent of the demands made on a teacher’s attention.

–Charles E. Silberman

Teaching is painful, continual, and difficult work to be done by kindness, by watching, and by praise, but above all by example.

–John Ruskin

The mind can only absorb what the seat can endure.


If at first you don’t succeed, you’re probably just like the teacher in the next classroom.

–Mary Shanley

Bringing the student’s world into the classroom is the most relevant act a teacher can perform.

–Marc Robert

When I give a lecture, I accept that people look at their watches, but what I do not tolerate is when they look at it and raise it to their ear to find out if it’s stopped.

–Marcel Archard

To teach, to guide, to explain, to  help, to nurture—these are life’s noblest attainments.

—Frank Tyger

Chiildren know how to learn in more ways than we know how to teach them.

–Ronald Edmonds

If a child doesn’t learn the way you teach, teach the way the child learns.


Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.

–Alex Haley

The good teacher…discovers the natural gifts of his pupils and liberates them.

–Stephen Neill

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple.

–Amos Bronson Alcott

If we treat students as they can be rather than as they now are, we are most likely to see them become that kind of person.

–Haim Ginott

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

–Albert Schweitzer

In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.

–Lee Iacocca

Teach children what to think and you limit them to your ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited.


Most ideas about teaching are not new, but not everyone knows the old ideas.

–Euclid, c. 300 BC

What math education will be for one child for one year will depend on what the child’s teacher believes, knows and does—and doesn’t believe, doesn’t know and doesn’t do.

–Eric Muller

As teachers we must believe in change, must know it is possible, or we wouldn’t be teaching—because education is a constant process of change. Every single time you ‘teach’ something to someone, it is ingested, something is done with it, and a new human being emerges.

—Leo Buscaglia

The ultimate test of teaching is not what you do or how well you do it, but what and how well the learner does.

–Howard Hendricks

It takes a special person

With patience and wisdom to share

To unlock the treasure awaiting

Within children everywhere.

–Joan Zatorski

A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.


Good teaching is more asking of right questions than giving of right answers.

–Josef Albers

The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves.

–Joseph Campbell

Teaching is not just a job. It is a human service, and it must be thought of as a mission.

–Dr. Ralph Tyler

Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional effort affects the fate of the earth.

–Helden Caldicott

We learn by example and by direct experience because there  are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.

—Malcolm Gladwell

I teach with my heart and my soul and not with my mouth alone.

–Jaime Escalante

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.

–Rachel Carson

How lucky am I? At work each day

I get to help children learn and play,

And keep them safe so they will grow

Into adults I’ll be glad to know!

How proud am I? I guide today’s youth

To strive for knowledge, goals, and truth.

I know I play an important part

In inspiring them to take learning to heart.

How grateful am I? I value so much

The smiles that I win and the lives that I touch.

I love earning the trust of each girl and boy.

Kids are my business, as well as my joy!

–Robyn Squire

And once I had a teacher who understood. He brought with him the beauty of mathematics. He made me create it for myself. He gave me nothing, and it was more than any other teacher has ever dared to give me.

—Lex Cochran

We need to make room for every child in the classroom. It’s a belief system. Without unconditional acceptance of each child, a teacher will have difficulty reaching all children.

–Anne Sabatini

If you want people to think, ask them a question.

–Lenay Smith

Don’t be in a rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us are perfectly qualified.

James 3:1-2

The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.

–Ellen Key

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.

–Willa Cather

The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person.

–Paul D. Shafer

Students are more likely to believe in themselves if a teacher truly believes in them.

–Jean Holley

We think of our efficient teachers with a sense of recognition, but those who touched our humanity we remember with gratitude. Learning is the essential mineral, but warmth is the life-element for the child’s soul, no less than for the growing plant.

–Carl Gustav Jung

You can’t be burned out if you were never on fire.

–Lola May

In education the closeness of students to a good or great man or woman is the finest we can offer our children.

–Seymour St. John

If it works, copy it.

–Tony Schwartz

That which we are, we are all the while teaching, not voluntarily, but involuntarily.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

We must choose the scenic, instructional route for success in the middle grades. We must enliven to enlighten!

–Nancy McIntyre Doda

Good teachers perceive their purpose in teaching as being one of freeing, rather than controlling, students. That is to say, the teacher perceives the purpose of the helping task as one of freeing, assisting, releasing, facilitating, rather than as a matter of controlling, manipulating, coercing, blocking, or inhibiting behavior.

–Arthur Combs

Significant contact with pupils is most effectively established and maintained when the content and method have an affective basis. That is, if educators are able to discover the feelings, fears, and wishes that move pupils emotionally, they can more effectively engage pupils from any background.

–Gerald Weinstein and Mario Fantini

There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.

–Sister Mary Rose McGeady

A teacher’s most important role is that of ‘creator.’ To create something is to produce something new, unique, original, or nonexistent. Every time a student sees a new concept or says, ‘Hey, that’s right!’ about a point being discussed in class, I as a teacher feel as though I’ve created something, in that the student now understands something that for the student did not exist before that moment.

–Dan L. Miller

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.

–Charles Kettering

I can’t say that I’ve changed anybody’s life, ever, and that’s the real work of the world, if you want a better society.

–Charles Kuralt

I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

–Maya Angelou

The older I get the more I realize that the only thing a teacher has to go on is that rare spark in a boy’s eye. And when you see that…you’re an ass if you worry where it comes from. Whether it’s an ode of Horace or an Icelandic saga or something that goes bang in a laboratory.

–Louis Auchincloss

When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.


Good teaching, effective teaching, is not just about using whatever science says  ‘usually’ works best, it is all about finding out what works best for the individual child and the group of children in front to you.

–R. Allington

A teacher is a person who never says anything once.

–Howard Nemerov

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

–Albert Einstein

It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.

–Albert Einstein

Love is a better teacher than duty.

–Albert Einstein

On being a good teacher:

You are selling. That’s part of what it is to be a good teacher. To be a good teacher, you have to be part stand-up comic, part door-to-door salesman, part expert, part counselor. Do what feels natural. Be yourself. Are your students liking it? Is it working for you?

‘Yes.’ They liked it all right, maybe a bit too much. ‘And I think they’re learning.’

‘Then forget about the rest of it. Just have fun. That’s the best reason for doing it.’

Stendhal wrote: ‘With me it is a matter of almost instinctive belief that when any … man speaks, he lies-and most especially when he writes.’ I still like to tell a good story. But doesn’t everybody who loves teaching? How else are you going to liven up the classroom when students’ eyes are always turning to their iPhones or laptops?

–Clancy Martin

We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.

–Blaise Pascal

People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.

-Samuel Johnson

No calling in our society is more demanding than teaching; no calling in our society is more selfless than teaching; and no calling is more central to the vitality of a democracy than teaching.

–Roger Mudd

Students will not work in classes that do not satisfy their needs.

–William Glasser

It is luxury to learn; but the luxury of learning is not to be compared with the luxury of teaching.

–R. D. Hitchcock

Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.


A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.

–Patricia Neal

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

–William James

When a superior man knows the causes which make instruction successful, and those which make it of no effect, he can become a teacher of others. Thus in his teaching, he leads and does not drag; he strengthens and does not discourage; he opens the way but does not conduct to the end without the learners own efforts. Leading and not dragging produces harmony. Strengthening and not discouraging makes attainment easy. Opening the way and not conducting to the end makes the learner thoughtful. He who produces such harmony, easy attainment, and thoughtfulness may be pronounced a skillful teacher.


He never cracked a joke

He never allowed us to have

a party before a holiday

He graded every bit of homework

He made us work harder

than any other teacher

I was never so confident

taking a final examination

A great teacher is not always


—Robert Ricken

Will you teach me how to sail,

through space upon a comet’s tail?

Will you teach me how to fly,

to sail the skies on wings untried?

Will you teach me how to soar,

to see things never seen before?

But most importantly of all,

Will you teach me how to fall?

Will you teach me how to cry,

to release feelings deep inside?

Will you teach me how to laugh,

and travel off the beaten path?

Will you teach me how to dream,

to face the future sight-unseen?

Will you teach me how to be,

the only thing I can be,


—Robert Ricken

It is what teachers think, what teachers believe, and what teachers do at the level of the classroom that ultimately shapes the kind of learning that young people get.

–Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullen

The top-performing school systems [internationally] attract more able people into the teaching profession, leading to better student outcomes…The top-performing systems we studied recruit their teachers from the top third of each cohort [that graduates] from their school system…Conversely, lower-performing school systems rarely attract the right people into teaching. The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce observes that, ‘We are now recruiting our teachers from the bottom third of high-school students going to college.’

–Mckinsey and Company

The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

–Mckinsey and Company

Teachers knew who would be able to speak for a living, who was going to be curling hair, and who was going to be changing a tire. Teachers would come by the house to tell your mama and daddy what they needed to do for you. My teacher would have me reading Shakespeare, while the boy next to me was learning how to fill out a job application. The kept it very real. That’s not happening today.

–Samuel L. Jackson

I always dreamed of becoming a teacher, ever since my own kindergarten teacher took me under her wing when I was frightened on the first day of school. We are sill in touch today. That’s the kind of teacher I want to be.

–Jessica Lynch

In what other profession…

August 27th, 2010 by David Reber

I’m going to step out of my usual third-person writing voice for a moment. As a parent I received a letter last week from the Kansas State Board of Education, informing me that my children’s school district had been placed on ‘improvement’ status for failing to meet ‘adequate yearly progress’ under the No Child Left Behind law.

I thought it ironic that our schools were judged inadequate by people who haven’t set foot in them, so I wrote a letter to my local newspaper. Predictably, my letter elicited a deluge of comments in the paper’s online forum. Many remarks came from armchair educators and anti-teacher, anti-public school evangelists quick to discredit anything I had to say under the rationale of ‘he’s a teacher.’ What could a teacher possibly know about education?

Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin with the phrase ‘in what other profession….’ and conclude with practically anything the anti-teacher pundits find offensive about public education. Due process and collective bargaining are favorite targets, as are the erroneous but tightly held beliefs that teachers are under-worked, over-paid (earning million-dollar pensions), and not accountable for anything.

In what other profession, indeed.

In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered the LEAST knowledgeable about the job? You seldom if ever hear ‘that guy couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police officer,’ or ‘she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a firefighter.’

In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset? You won’t find a contractor advertising ‘choose me – I’ve never done this before,’ and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure.’

In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job? You won’t hear many say ‘that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care about her clients,’ or ‘that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t care about the team.’

But look around. You’ll find droves of armchair educators who summarily dismiss any statement about education when it comes from a teacher. Likewise, it’s easy to find politicians, pundits, and profiteers who refer to our veteran teachers as ineffective, overpriced ‘dead wood.’ Only the rookies could possibly be any good, or worth the food-stamp-eligible starting salaries we pay them.

And if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken by many as clear evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids. In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they would insist on earning LESS money.

If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other profession is legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? Are police required to eliminate all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases? Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t.

For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world. Crime happens. Fire happens. Illness happens. As for lawyers and coaches, where there’s a winner there must also be a loser. People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education.

If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burns down his house, suffers third degree burns, and then goes to jail; we don’t blame the police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly the teacher’s fault.

And if someone – anyone – tries to tell you otherwise; don’t listen. He must be a teacher.

—David Reber

When I look at the smiles on all the children’s faces, I just know they’re about to jab me with something.

–Homer Simpson

Adventure is just bad planning.

–Roald Amundsen


1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.


I want to be the teacher I would want to have.

–Al Ochsner

If teacher accountability is really the whole key, how can it be that from Comenius—a 17th-century European pioneer in education—through John Dewey and Horace Mann, and going back to the Greeks, everybody missed this secret, and we figured it out just now?

–Governor Jerry Brown

You must be careful how you walk, and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set.

–Robert E. Lee

The debate about homework should not be ‘how much?’ but ‘what kind?’ and ‘what for?’ Using homework merely to cover material there was no time for in class is less helpful, for example, than ‘distributed practice’: reinforcing and reviewing essential skills. Independent reading is also important. There are many more rare and unique words in even relatively simple texts than in the conversation of college graduates. Reading widely and with stamina is an important way to build verbal proficiency and background knowledge, keys to mature reading comprehension.

–Robert Pondiscio

I Hate: A Poem by a First-Year Teacher

I hate preparing lessons.

I hate that feeling of panic of ‘what am I going to do tomorrow?’

I hate vomiting in the morning.

I hate kids who try to slime out of doing things like Steve and Billy do.

I hate getting up at five o’clock (or four forty-five, or four thirty).

I hate it when Pamela reminds me of Stacy Jefferson, the girl who made my life hell in seventh grade.

I hate it when Elizabeth Milios yells at a kid who is crying because he is having problems with his ex-girlfriend.

I hate it when Cindy Tuppan looks at me with that bitchy smirk and I know she would love to see me fail.

I hate territorial teachers.

I hate feeling incompetent.

I hate crying when I feel like this.

I hate not having any friends here.

I hate feeling lost.

I hate it when a 14-year-old can make me feel exactly the way I felt when I was 14 years old.

I hate it when kids talk when I am trying to tell them something.

I hate it more when kids who were talking ask me, ‘Now what are we supposed to do?’

I hate Fridays because that means Monday is only three days away.

I hate Sundays because that means Monday is tomorrow.

–Anonymous Teacher


I don’t feel courageous as I enter my classroom. I feel tired. Tired from spending hours rehearsing my class for the spring festival. Tired from trying to make the performance work when only half the students show up. Tired from hurrying home to write my students’ progress reports.

I don’t feel courageous as I dial the telephone. I feel sad. Sad that I need to tell a parent that her child is being teased by other children. Sad when I asked how I can help, the mother calls me names and tells me that it’s all my fault that her child smells bad, steals from other children, and can’t write a good sentence.

I don’t feel courageous as I listen to a student struggle to read. I feel discouraged. Discouraged because I’ve done everything that I know how to teach him to read. Discouraged that no one at his home reads to him, helps him with his homework, or even listens to him talk about his day at school.

I don’t feel courageous as I sit in the teachers’ meeting. I feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because my colleagues argue over committee assignments. Uncomfortable because no one collaborates. Uncomfortable because it seems that we’ve forgotten why we’re here.

Tired. Sad. Discouraged. Uncomfortable. And I still teach.

I teach for that moment when a student believes in himself. I teach for the teachers’ meeting when we discover how much we have in common. I teach for the chance to speak honestly and to listen openly while others do the same. I teach to become vulnerable, to be questioned and to question, to feel the sense of danger that comes with molding futures.

I teach because teaching is the job the demands the most courage. I have the courage to teach.

–Shirley A. Riddle Bendau

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

— Albert Einstein

I love the most the students with troubled lives.

–Wally Lamb

We expert teachers know that motivation and emotional impact are what matter.

–Donald Norman

If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him.

–John W. Holt, Jr.

Limited expectations yield only limited results.

–Susan Laurson Willig

Many creative people are autodidacts. They like to teach themselves, rather than be spoon-fed information or knowledge in standard education settings.

–Nancy Andreasen

Many creative people are polymaths, as historic geniuses including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were….The arts and sciences are seen as separate tracks, and students are encouraged to specialize in one or the other. If we wish to nurture creative students, this may be a serious error.

–Nancy Andreasen

Teaching dwarfs every other profession that requires a college degree. Nationwide, 3.7 million schoolteachers serve grades K-12—more than all the doctors, lawyers, and engineers in the country combined.

–Sara Mosle

Teaching is not some mystical talent but a set of best practices that can be codified and learned through extensive hands-on coaching, self-scrutiny, and collaboration.

–Elizabeth Green

Every single country that outperforms us has significantly smaller teacher workloads. Indeed, on the scale of time devoted by teachers to in-class instruction annually, the United States is off the charts. We spend far more hours in the classroom on average, twice and nearly three times more in some cases, than teachers in any other OECD country save Chile. Finnish high-school teachers, for example, clock 553 hours in the classroom each year. In Japan, home of jugyokenkyu, that number is 500. In the U.S., it’s 1,051.

–Sara Mosle

Most teachers in this country have zero time to work together on new pedagogical approaches and share feedback….They rarely have an opportunity to watch other teachers teach, the single best kind of training, in my experience; they’re too busy in their own classrooms (not to mention outside them).

–Sara Mosle

Teaching isn’t the relatively leisurely occupation many people imagine, enviously invoking a nine-to-three school day and long summer vacations, which in reality seldom exist. We think of no other white-collar profession in terms of a single dimension of job performance. We don’t for example, regard lawyers as ‘working’ only during the hours they’re actually presenting a case before a judge; we recognize the amount of preparation and subsequent review that goes into such moments. If teaching is such a plum post, we might ask ourselves why attrition rates are so high.

–Sara Mosle

Deborah Ball remarks that what she loves about teaching is that it is so hard—by which she means intellectually challenging and rewarding. Teaching is all-consuming, and that absorption is part of the joy of the job.

–Sara Mosle

When Eric Bonabeau assigned the reading for his class on induction, he barely bothered to tell us what induction was, or how it related to North Atlantic cod. When I asked him afterward about his decision not to spend a session introducing the concept, he said the Web had plenty of tutorials about induction, and any student ought to be able to learn the basics on her own time, in her own way. Seminars are for advanced discussion.

–Graeme Wood

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be lit.


Count it one of the highest virtues upon earth to educate faithfully the children of others.

—Martin Luther

Describing her first day back in grade school after a long absence, a teacher said, It was like trying to hold 35 corks under water at the same time.

—Mark Twain

Low-income parents as a group tend toward a firmly directive approach with their children, whereas middle-class parents typically favor a more solicitous tack, encouraging their kids to question adult authority….the different effects on behavior: dutiful respect versus a sense of entitlement.

—Sarah Carr

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.

—Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Teaching writing is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It requires patience, diplomacy, firmness and a strong belief that writing can be taught. I’ve had my doubts. Can everyone sing? Can everyone paint or dance? Why should writing be the one art everyone can learn? Those questions hover and haunt every time I step into a classroom.

—T. R. Joyce

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.

—Ignacio Estrada

An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. 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

We think of our efficient teachers with a sense of recognition, but those who touched our humanity we remember with gratitude. Learning is the essential mineral, but warmth is the life-element for the child’s soul, no less than for the growing plant.

—Carl Jung

One can make a case that says that since 85% of children being brought up in single family homes are being brought up by women that about 85% of elementary school teachers should be males to balance out the feminization that the boys and girls receive.

—Warren Farrell

It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

—W. Somerset Maugham

I take advantage of what he knows to attempt to teach him what he does not know. Suspended between total ignorance and all-knowingness, he has a definite stock of knowledge which varies from moment to moment and which is enough to reveal his historicity.

—Jean-Paul Sartre

Too much learning, too soon, before the child is ready and dealt out too hard is a 100% guarantee of failure both for the child as he attempts to learn, and for the school which is attempting to teach. Too little learning, too late after the learner is ready for it and needs it, and too lightly presented without depth and emphasis upon its worthwhileness, is a 100% guarantee of producing a whole new generation of mediocre achievers, regardless of their capacities and abilities.

—Genevieve B. Syverson

It is not the role of the teacher today, as it has been in the past, to recite answers and force the child to memorize them. Instead, the teacher must provide the means by which the child himself will find the answers.

—W. R. Wees

It all started with boredom, boredom and disappointment. Immature thoughts, immature expression, immature writing—oh dear!

I felt that the children were using a medium which was unnatural to them—a stultifying, deadening medium, which made all their expression come out as from a sausage machine, in a string of dull, stodgy sausages of things which they thought they ought to write, and say, and think.

The only reason why I didn’t resign there and then was the friendliness of the children. Away from the dry-as-dust atmosphere of the classroom, the children would chat freely of their adventures, thoughts, ideas, dreams, and fears. I would listen with interest as their young, excited voices clamored to be heard. Here was no stiffness of expression, dullness of phrase, no stilted, lifeless thought. Here, pouring out, was the very stuff of life, pulsating and vibrating with vigor and individuality. They were eager to express, to tell, to put into words.

—Margaret Landgon

I have defined teaching as the nurturing of the power of thought, and thought as the process of creating form. And form is the product of the mind’s search for relationships. When the mind perceives, it invariably perceives a relationship; even when two ideas seem to be quite opposite, as in ‘the quick and the dead,’ the mind invents a relationship. Nobody can perceive and form ideas and concepts for anyone else, which is what Carl Rogers meant when he said that nobody can teach anybody else.

—W. R. Wees

A discipline was defined as a compartment of knowledge, and the way to teach the discipline, whether in elementary or secondary schools (or at university), was to get a certain segment of the compartment into the students’ heads each year. This segment was presented in a textbook, usually written by university specialists in the discipline. Education was (and often still is) imparting knowledge of the disciplines.

The first consequence of this way of thinking may be observed in a brief conversation:

‘And what do you teach?’

‘I teach history.’

I have never heard anyone ask, ‘Whom do you teach?’ Nor have I heard any high school teacher say, ‘I teacher people.’

—W. R. Wees

Except as the child reveals himself to us we can never know him; and to obtain these revelations requires the most sensitive tuning of the teacher’s own mind. The key to knowing is acceptance, and the key to acceptance lies in the second of the two meanings of nurture: to cherish. To cherish a child does not mean to smother him with affection. To cherish means to hold dear, to value the child not only as one must value a human being for his social potential, but as one must value a human being for his own sake.

—W. R. Wees

No printed word nor spoken plea

Can teach young minds what men should be,

Not all the books on all the shelves

But what the teachers are themselves.

—Rudyard Kipling

We all make mistakes. But to commit a wrong, to lower the dignity of a child and not be aware that the dignity has been impaired, is much more serious than the child’s skipping of words during oral reading.

—C. Moustakas

When I see birches bent to right and left

Across the line of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.

Ice storms do that….

     Once they are bowed.

So low for so long, they never right themselves.

—Robert Frost

Although the teachers or the students are not the same, the person in charge of education is being formed or reformed as he/she teaches, and the person who is being taught forms him/herself in the process. …There is, in fact, no teaching without learning.

—Paulo Freire

Human beings are full of emotion, and the teacher who knows how to use it will have dedicated learners. It means sending dominant signals instead of submissive ones with your eyes, body and voice.

—Leon Lessinger

Learning needs to be conceived of as something a learner does, not something that is done to a learner.

—Catherine Fosnot

Is it realistic to expect teachers to teach enthusiastically hour after hour, day after day, sensitively diagnosing and remedying learning difficulties? During each of these hours…teachers make 200 or more decisions.

—John Goodlad

The processes of teaching and learning stimulate one another.


Children don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.


Almost all youngsters—and apparently oldsters as well—are capable of attaining the same standards within a reasonable period of time. All but a few babies, for instance, learn to walk by the age of two and to talk by the age of three. But no two get there quite the same way, as parents have known for eons.

So too at higher levels. Some children learn best by rote, in structured environments with high certainty and strict discipline. Others thrive in the less-structured permissive atmosphere of a progressive school….Some students need prescribed daily doses of information; others need challenge, the ‘broad picture,’ and a high degree of responsibility for the design of their own work. But for too long, educators have insisted that there is one best way to teach and learn, even thought they have disagreed about what the way is.

—Peter Drucker

Without an understanding of the unique meanings existing for the individual, the problems of helping him effectively are almost insurmountable.

—Arthur Combs

Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and the way he understands it.


Understanding one’s own magical mystery is one of the teacher’s most important assets if he is to understand that everyone is thus differently equipped.

—Buckminster Fuller

What gets measured gets done.

—Tom Peters

There is no other profession where you are required to obtain a college degree, to take multiple certification tests, and prove yourself through a residency program only to not be allowed to perform your job as you know best once you are in it. We trust our doctors to treat our ailments and our lawyers to try our cases. Our teachers are professionals, and it is time we started treating them as such.

—Stephanie Giese

I’m all caught up! Said no teacher ever.


I Am a Teacher

I was born the first moment that a question leaped from the mouth of a child. Throughout the course of a day I am called upon to be an actor, friend, nurse and doctor, coach, finder of lost articles, money lender, psychologist, substitute parent and a keeper of the faith. I am the most fortunate of all who labor. I know that what I build with love and truth, will last forever. I am privileged to see that life is reborn each day with new questions, ideas and friendships.

And who do I have to thank for this wonderful life I am so fortunate to experience? You, the public and the parents who entrust to me their greatest contribution to eternity, their children.

I have wept for joy at the weddings of former students, laughed with glee at the birth of their children and stood with head bowed in grief and confusion by graves dug too soon for bodies far too young.

I have a past that is rich in memories, I have a present that is challenging, and fun, because I am allowed to spend my days with the future.

I am a teacher and I am thankful for every day.

—John W. Schlatter

Teaching seems to require the sort of skills one would need to pilot a bus full of live chickens backwards, with no brakes, down a rocky road through the Andes while providing colorful and informative commentary on the scenery.

—Franklin Habit

Morning is God’s way of saying one more time, go make a difference, touch a heart, encourage a mind, inspire a soul and enjoy the day.


‘I am such an amazing teacher, they should pack as many students as possible into my classroom.’ Said no teacher ever.


I wish my employee performance evaluation had a line for ‘sacrificing my entire social life’—in which case I have exceeded expectations.


When you question your decision to go on teaching, look into the eyes of a student who needs you. That’s where you’ll find your passion again.

First Grade Fun Times

Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.

—Madeline Hunter

I’m a schoolteacher. That’s even worse than being an intellectual. Schoolteachers are not only comic, they’re often cold and hungry in this richest land on earth.

—Joseph L. Mankiewicz

We are not ‘just’ teachers. We are the managers of the world’s greatest resource: children!

—Robert John Meehan

One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.

—Malala Yousafzai

What we learn with pleasure we never forget.

—Alfred Mercier

If there’s anyone who is in a position to bring positive change into the world every day, it’s a teacher. Don’t ever think that your efforts as a teacher are insignificant and make no difference. There is no telling what positive effect you will have on someone’s live, especially a student’s. Be brave, stay passionate about your kids and your work, and don’t give up—ever.

—Ross Crockett

How do we evaluate our teachers? We never speak of this. It is irrelevant in our country. Instead, we discuss: ‘How can we help them?’

—Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Educator

My school has this cute thing they do where if you’re good with classroom management they give you most of the behavior problems.

First Grade Fun Times

It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

—L. R. Knost

In one school year a child spends: 7800 hours at home & 900 hours at school. Which teacher should be the most accountable?

—Jim Trelease

Teacher Rule #1: NEVER offend the janitor, the school secretary or the library media specialist. You’ll need them far more than you think, but they don’t need you!


It shouldn’t matter how slowly a child learns as long as we are encouraging them not to stop.

—Robert John Meehan

Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.

—Oscar Wilde

Instead of seeing these children for the blessings that they are, we are measuring them only by the standard of whether they will be future deficits or assets for our nation’s competitive needs.

—Jonathan Kozol

Teachers don’t teach for the income. Teachers teach for the outcome.

http://www.reallygoodstuff .com

The influence of a good teacher can never be erased.


So how should we reward teachers? We shouldn’t. They’re not pets. Rather, teachers should be paid well, freed from misguided mandates, treated with respect, and provided with the support they need to help their students become increasingly proficient and enthusiastic learners.

—Alfie Kohn

Students who are loved at home, come to school to learn, and students who aren’t, come to school to be loved.

—Nicholas A. Ferroni

We don’t blame dentists when we don’t brush properly and we get a cavity. So why do we blame teachers when kids don’t pass because they don’t study?

—Dr. Michael Owens

I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.

—Matt Damon

I’ve got to relearn what I was supposed to have learned.

—Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Understanding sometimes is not enough to explain something.

—Robert Ley

Sunday is a teacher’s day of REST:

the REST of the laundry,

the REST of the housework,

and grade the REST of the papers.

—Heidi McDonald

Be the teacher you’d want for you own children. It’s as simple as that.

First Grade Fun Times

Teacher: The only job that makes you rethink names for your future children.

Teaching reading IS rocket science.

—Louisa Moats

The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.

—Robert John Meehan

Be nice to teachers. They’re the reason you can read this!


It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good – and less trouble.

—Mark Twain

Our most highly qualified teachers should be those in the lowest grades. But until we make elementary-school teaching an honored career that attracts those who could be our most talented teachers and rewards them adequately with pay and respect, we will continue struggling to fix or remediate problems of students’ interest and competence in the higher grades.

—W. Barkley Butler

No matter how sagacious or how revered the teacher, at some point you will find yourself beginning to diverge from him. For sooner or later, every individual has to fall back on that residual and personal parcel of conviction which is true for himself alone.

—Christopher Morley

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

—C. S. Lewis

I had the best teachers a library card could pay for.

—Reginald Dwayne Betts

The truth, as many American teachers know firsthand, is that low-income children can be harder to educate than children from more comfortable backgrounds. Educators often struggle to motivate them, to calm them down, to connect with them. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to teach, of course; plenty of kids who grow up in poverty are thriving in the classroom. But two decades of national attention have done little or nothing to close the achievement gap between poor students and their better-off peers.

—Paul Tough

Teacher who love teaching…teach children to love learning.

—Robert John Meehan

The best teachers are those how show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.

—Alexandra K. Trenfor

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.


The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate ‘apparently ordinary’ people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people.

—K. Patricia Cross

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

—Lily Tomlin

A good teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others.

—Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.

—Karl Menninger

A truly special teacher is very wise, and sees tomorrow in every child’s eyes.


What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased.


Summer vacation is the time when parents realize that teachers are grossly underpaid.


Your life as a teacher begins the day you realize that you are always a learner.

—Robert John Meehan

As a teacher you may teach a class, but each child should feel uniquely taught.

—Robert John Meehan

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.

—Benjamin Disraeli

If a seed of a lettuce will not grow, we do not blame the lettuce. Instead, the fault lies with us for not having nourished the seed properly.

—Buddhist Proverb

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

—Peter F. Drucker

Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.

—W. E. B. DuBois

Almost every student you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about. Stop, think, then make your response accordingly.

—Robert John Meehan

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.


Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sadly, children’s passion for learning often ends when they encounter a world that seeks to educate them for conformity and obedience only.

—Robert John Meehan

All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

—John Gardner

The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.

—Marva Collins

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.


The great teacher is not the man who supplies the most facts, but the one in whose presence we become different people.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

We teach what we like to learn and the reason many people go into teaching is vicariously to reexperience the primary joy experienced the first time they learned something they loved.

—Stephen Brookfield

Find a way to delight in all students. Look for the best, expect the best, and find something in each child [you] can treasure.

—Steven Levy

To stimulate life, leaving it then free to develop, to unfold, herein lies the first task of the teacher.

—Maria Montessori

Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.


The most extraordinary thing about a really good teacher is that he or she transcends accepted educational methods. Such methods are designed to help average teachers approximate the performance of good teachers.

—Margaret Mead

In teaching it is the method and not the content that is the message.

—Ashley Montague

Great teachers have high expectations for their students, but higher expectations for themselves.

—Todd Whitaker

The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.

—Alice Wellington Rollins

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.

—John Dewey

Seldom will you find a person happy with their successes in life but who can’t name a teacher that inspired them along the way.

—Robert John Meehan

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

—Albert Einstein

No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.

—Bertrand Russell

The best learners… often make the worst teachers. They are, in a very real sense, perceptually challenged. They cannot imagine what it must be like to struggle to learn something that comes so naturally to them.

—Stephen Brookfield

Compassionate teachers fill a void left by working parents who aren’t able to devote enough attention to their children. Teachers don’t just teach; they can be vital personalities who help young people to mature, to understand the world and to understand themselves. A good education consists of much more than useful facts and marketable skills.

—Charles Platt

There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.

—Pat Conroy

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.

—Albert Einstein

School improvement is most surely and thoroughly achieved when teachers engage in frequent, continuous and increasingly concrete talk about teaching practices… capable of distinguishing one practice and it’s virtue from another.

—Judith Warren

It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted.

—Linda Conway

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it for himself.

—Galileo Galilei

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.

—Forest Witcraft

True teachers illuminate the path to achievement, believing the best way to predict a child’s future is to help create it.

—Robert John Meehan

Teachers are the only professionals who have to respond to bells every forty five  minutes and come out fighting.

—Frank McCourt

One mark of a great educator is the ability to lead students out to new places where even the educator has never been.

—Thomas Groome

Teach a child how to think, not what to think.

—Sidney Sugarman

Modern cynics and skeptics… 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

Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.

—Nikos Kazantzakis

More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given.

—Bertrand Russell

To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.

—George Bernard Shaw

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If students don’t feel teacher appreciation, their whole education has failed.

—Michael Balkers

We must shift the focus of our classrooms from obedience to understanding.

—Robert John Meehan

By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand.

—Latin Proverb

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.

—Ben Sweetland

When you love people and have the desire to make a profound, positive impact upon the world, then will you have accomplished the meaning to live.

—Sasha Azevedo

Dear Parents: 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.


If you really want to know about the future, don’t ask a technologist, a scientist, a physicist. No! Don’t ask somebody who’s writing code. No, if you want to know what society’s going to be like in 20 years, ask a kindergarten teacher.

—Clifford Stoll

Instead of saying Impossible, let’s teach our students to say: I’m Possible!

—Heidi McDonald

I teach. What’s your superpower?


I think a secure profession for young people is history teacher, because in the future, there will be so much more of it to teach.

—Bill Muse

Just so you know, teachers don’t ‘Have the summer off.’ They just do a year’s worth of work in 10 months.


Summer: The time of the year when parents realize just how grossly underpaid teachers actually are.


The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children.

—Louis Johannot

The wise teacher knows that 55 minutes of work plus 5 minutes laughter are worth twice as much as 60 minutes of unvaried work.

—Gilbert Highet

To survive as a teacher you need 3 bones: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone.


Teaching: The only profession where you steal things from home and bring them to work.


Be the teacher who when given the ‘hard’ class says, ‘These aren’t hard kids, these are my kids.

—Teresa Kwant

In one school year a child spends: 7800 hours at home & 900 hours at school. Which teacher should be more accountable?

—Jim Trelease

Teachers make all other professions possible.


Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.


Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

—Steven Covey

Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.

—Scott Hayden

[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.

—Jim Henson

When you study great teachers… you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style.

—William Glasser

Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.

—Dalai Lama

If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.

—John Dewey

Your heart is slightly bigger than the average human heart, but that’s because you’re a teacher.

–Aaron Bacall

It’s too bad that the people who know how to run the country are busy teaching school.

–Bumper Sticker

Begin with the end in mind.

–Stephen Covey

Calming down a noisy, rebellious group of adolescents is a lot like defusing a bomb. Careful, premeditated, calm responses are crucial to success.

–James Nehring

Have the self-command you wish to inspire….Teach them how to hold their tongues by holding your own. Say little; do not snarl; do not chide; govern by the eye. See what they need, and that the right thing is done.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The hardest thing you can ever ask a teacher to do is to teach in a way they were not taught themselves.

—Ken Jensen

There are three ways of trying to win the young. There is persuasion. There is compulsion and there is attraction. You can preach at them; that is a hook without a worm. You can say ‘you must volunteer.’ That is the devil. And you can tell them, ‘you are needed’ that hardly ever fails.

—Kurt Hahn

An Average Child

Many classrooms were my home,

And dozens of teachers called my name.

While thousands of dittos passed my way.

Each year was much the same.

For I was an average child,

With nothing important to say.

Practicing, practicing, practicing,

Preparing for some mythical day.

A day when I would be ready.

After I learned some other skill.

A day which never came.

After many years of drill.

For I was an average child,

Reminded by each and every one.

Promised that I would write

When the endless lists were done.

But while the chairs got bigger,

And my shirt size too,

I was never quite ready to write,

The stories which I knew.

So during  all those boring years,

A story was embedded in my head,

That I was just an average child,

No matter what I wrote or said.

Yes, many classrooms were my home,

And dozens of teachers called my name,

While I was practicing, practicing, practicing,

For a day that never came.

–Sigmund A. Boloz

Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated.

–Alex F. Osborn

What is taught is dependent upon the educator’s internalized concept of the discipline.

–Dena Stoner

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.

—John Steinbeck

It is… nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreak and ruin. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

—Albert Einstein

The educator must believe in the potential power of his pupil, and he must employ all his art in seeking to bring his pupil to experience this power.

—Alfred Adler

Example has more followers than reason.


Better teaching never comes from a political mandate…it comes from the heart of a prepared and caring teacher.

—-Robert John Meehan

The title which I most covet is that of teacher. The writing of a research paper and the teaching of freshman calculus, and everything in between, falls under this rubric. Happy is the person who comes to understand something and then gets to explain it.

—Marshall Cohen

A 2004 study by Public Agenda, a public opinion research group, indicated that more than one third of teachers had either seriously considered leaving teaching or knew a colleague who left because of intolerable student behavior.

New York Times

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

—Chinese Proverb

Teaching high school, in addition to knowing one’s subject matter thoroughly and being able to convey it to others, requires the grit of a long-distance runner, the stamina of a boxer going 15 rounds, the temperament of a juggler and the street smarts of a three-card monte dealer.

—Professor Larry Cuban

Who takes the child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart.

–Danish Proverb

Who holds the souls of children, holds the nation.


A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching.

–A. Bartlett Giamatti

I’m not a naughty brat. I’m little and I’m still learning. I get overwhelmed and frustrated just like you do. Because nobody is perfect. Help me. Guide me. Love me.

The Learning Station

Substitute teaching has to be education’s toughest job. I’m a veteran teacher, and I won’t do it; it’s just too hard. The role magnifies the profession’s biggest challenges—the low pay, the insufficient time to plan, the ordeals of classroom management—into an experience that borders on soul-crushing. At the same time, the job drains teaching of its chief joy: sustained, meaningful relationships with students.

—Sara Mosle

K-12 education, as the province of children and mostly women, regularly inspires panic, but all too rarely receives the serious, sustained attention it actually merits. It’s not just students who sink under an onslaught of obligations in school, with no moment to think or have an unhurried conversation or discover a new approach to a lesson. So do the adults who serve and prepare and make everything.

—Sara Mosle

It is indeed one of the great ironies of our time, that having designed computers that can perform the function of information storage and retrieval better than any human, we continue to emphasize in our teaching and testing, information storage and retrieval.

–Edward T. Clark

There is no such thing as learning except (as Dewey tells us) in the continuum of experience. But this continuum cannot survive in the classroom unless there is reality of encounter between the adults and the children. The teachers must be themselves and not play roles. They must teach the children and not teach ‘subjects.’ The child, after all, is avid to acquire what he takes to be the necessities of life, and the teacher must not answer him with mere professionalism and gimmickry. The continuum of experience and reality of encounter are destroyed in the public schools (and most private ones) by the very methods which form the institution itself—the top down organization, the regimentation, the faceless encounters, the empty professionalism, and so on.

—George Dennison

That’s all teaching is; arranging contingencies which bring changes in behavior.

—B. F. Skinner

All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil.

—Abraham Maslow

A person cannot teach another person directly; a person can only facilitate another’s learning.

—Carl Rogers

You know that I don’t believe that anyone has ever taught anything to anyone. I question that efficacy of teaching. The only thing that I know is that anyone who wants to learn will learn. And maybe a teacher is a facilitator, a person who puts things down and shows people how exciting and wonderful it is and asks them to eat.

—Carl Rogers

Teach by doing whenever you can, and only fall back upon words when doing it is out of the question.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Do you not know…that a child badly taught is farther from being wise than one not taught at all?

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The kind of teacher who is afraid that they are going to be replaced by a computer should be.

—Michael Fullan

When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.

—Jean Piaget

It is at once the most overwhelmingly frustrating and exasperating task and the most joyous and rewarding experience to make human beings out of children.

—Neil Kurshan

Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.

Maria Montessori

What is desired is that the teacher ceased being a lecturer, satisfied with transmitting ready-made solutions. His role should rather be that of a mentor stimulating initiative and research.

—Jean Piaget

Teachers should serve as mediators rather than lecturers. They should lead the discussion, but allow students to share opinions and relate to their peers ideas. I also think that too many times teachers give their opinions, not verbally, but with non-verbal cues, such as smiles and head nods when they agree with what is being said, and eyebrow raises or scratching of their head when they don’t agree. This is judging the student and shuts down their answers, thinking they will be wrong every time.

—Hilda Taba

The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.

Paulo Freire

Teachers often teach how they were taught. I certainly did at first. Rows, lecture, and unflinching obedience were my models. My job was to keep kids quiet. My job was to talk and command control. Their job was to sit quietly and listen. This is what I thought education was. The cycle must be broken, but one of the most difficult steps in a teacher’s journey is overcoming the way they were taught.

—Tom Monreal

More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given.

—Bertrand Russell

Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside their classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.

–Tracy Kidder

School improvement is most surely and thoroughly achieved when teachers engage in frequent, continuous and increasingly concrete talk about teaching practices… capable of distinguishing one practice and it’s virtue from another.

—Judith Warren

The tragedy of education is played in two scenes — incompetent pupils facing competent teachers and incompetent teachers facing competent pupils.

—Martin H. Fischer

Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.

Albert Einstein

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

—Albert Einstein

The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.

—Alexandra K. Trenfor

No matter how good teaching may be, each student must take the responsibility for his own education.

—John Carolus

I learned most, not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me.

—St. Augustine

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.

—William Blake

I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers.

–Woody Allen

My request is: Help your students to become human. Your efforts should never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths and educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more humane.

–Haim G. Ginott

A word as to the education of the heart. We don’t believe that this can be imparted through books; it can only be imparted through the loving touch of the teacher.

–Cesar Chavez

An educational system is no broader, no deeper, no more humane, no more dynamic, no more qualitative in its aspects that the people who are its architects and leaders. In the last analysis, one quality of education is the quality of each of us.

–Samuel Gould

One of the few ways parents can improve their kids’ academic performance—by as much as eight points on a reading or math test—is by getting them placed in the classroom of a teacher with a good reputation….White parents are at least twice as likely as black and Latino parents to request a specific teacher. Given that the best teachers have been shown to raise students’ lifetime earnings and to decrease the likelihood of teen pregnancy, this is no small intervention.

–Dana Goldstein

Girls seem to be more easily socialized. They get a lot of praise for being perfect says Carol Dweck. In turn, they begin to crave the approval they get for being good. There’s certainly no harm intended by overworked, overstressed teachers (or parents). Who doesn’t want a kid who works hard and doesn’t cause a lot of trouble?

–Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

—Albert Einstein

Those who know how to think need no teachers.

—Mohandas Gandhi

In seeking knowledge, the first step is silence, the second listening, the third remembering, the fourth practicing, and the fifth—teaching others.

–Ibn Gabirol

To understand a man completely, you would sometimes have to be that person.

 –Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Men learn while they teach.


In Rousseau’s view (1762)…most of the problems of education are problems of motivation, as teachers try to rush things. They talk of geography before the child knows the way around his own backyard. They teach history before the child understands anything about adult motivation….It would be far better, to let questions arise naturally….When a child is self-motivated, the teacher cannot keep him from learning.

–C. John Sommerville

There is no correlation between homework and achievement. According to a 2005 study by the Penn State professors Gerald K. LeTendre and David P. Baker, some of the countries that score higher than the U.S. on testing in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study—Japan and Denmark, for example—give less homework, while some of those scoring lower, including Thailand and Greece, assign more. Why pile on the homework if it doesn’t make even a testable difference, and in fact may be harmful?

–Karl Taro Greenfeld

Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.

—Rose Kennedy

I had learned to respect the intelligence, integrity, creativity and capacity for deep thought and hard work latent somewhere in every child; they had learned that I differed from them only in years and experience, and that as I, an ordinary human being, loved and respected them, I expected payment in kind.

—Sybil Marshall

Why are teaches too dot differentiate their instruction but standardize their tests?


Even though fathers, grandparents, siblings, memories of ancestors are important agents of socialization, our society focuses on the attributes and characteristics of mothers and teachers and gives them the ultimate responsibility for the child’s life chances.

—Sara Lawrence Lightfoot

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.

–George Herbert

For the mother is and must be, whether she knows it or not, the greatest, strongest and most lasting teacher her children have.

 –Hannah Whitall Smith

Parents are the first teacher.


I dreamed I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there.

The clay they used was a young child’s mind,

They fashioned it with care.

One was a Teacher—

The tools he used were books, music, and art.

One was a Parent with a guiding hand,

With a gentle loving heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled,

With touch that was deft and sure;

While the parent labored by his side

To polish and smooth it over.

And when at last their task was done,

They were proud for what they had wrought

For the things they molded into the child

Could neither be sold or bought.

Each agree he might have failed

If he had worked alone

For behind the parent stood a school

And behind the teacher a home.

–Ray A. Lingenfelter

Trying to educate the young without help and support from the home is akin to trying to rake leaves in a high wind.

–P. Gough

A child will be better brought up by a wise father however limited, than by the cleverest teacher in the world

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

The teaching from their parents will always be the core; the role of the school teacher is to provide a decent shell around the core.

–Johann Pestalozzi

As a a teacher, I will gladly agree to be evaluated and paid in accordance with my students’ test scores; just as soon as members of Congress agree to be evaluated and paid in accordance with the country’s job and economic growth.


The single most important thing in a child’s performance is the quality of the teacher. Making sure a child spends the maximum amount of time with inspirational teachers is the most important thing.

—Michael Gove

In an ideal world, kids can and should get their morals and value from their parents. But the world in which we live is not ideal. I teach students who are homeless, and their parents are mainly concerned with figuring out the next meal. I teach students who have broken homes, and do not have a consistent family structure in which to thrive. I teach students whose parents don’t know the language and don’t understand our culture to have a voice and to let them know that they belong in our society. I teach students to be better humans, to care for each other, to question authority, to question themselves. I teach students empathy and compassion. I teach students.

I teach students that when someone attacks them or hurts them to stand strong in the face of adversity. To build a community of friends who support them in difficult times and celebrate with them in successful times. I teach students in and out of the classroom. This is my job, a profession I take very seriously.

—Adam Miller

Exemplary teachers will always care more about the people their students will become than the scores on the tests they take.

—Robert John Meehan

Research confirms that great teachers change lives. Students with one highly effective elementary school teacher are more likely to go to college, less likely to become pregnant as teens, and earn tens of thousands more over their lifetimes.

—Wendy Kopp

Prior to being allowed to enter the profession, prospective teachers should be asked to talk with a group of friendly students for at least half an hour and be able to engage them in an interesting conversation about any subject the prospective teacher wants to talk about.

—William Glasser

Ineffective substitute teaching is a problem that means thousands of hours of lost learning for America’s students. It cannot be dismissed with a sigh and ‘Just wait for the teacher to come back on Monday.’

—Adora Svitak

Students never think it can be the teacher’s fault and so I thought I was stupid. I was frustrated and would come home and cry because I couldn’t do it. Then we got a new teacher who made math accessible. That made all the difference and I learned that it’s how you present it that makes it scary or friendly.

—Danica McKellar

My students often say, ‘My roommate read this story and really liked it,’ and it’s hard to convince them that there are things wrong with it. I say, ‘Well, people who love you want you to be happy. But I’m your professor and I’m supposed to be teaching you something.’

—Joyce Carol Oates

In classrooms full of students who range from brilliant to sullen disaffection, it’s games – and often games alone – that I’ve seen engage every single person in the room. For some, the right kind of play can spell the difference between becoming part of something, and the lifelong feeling that they’re not meant to take part. —Tom Chatfield

True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.

—Nikos Kazantzakis

Once in a while our school has half days, and the teachers spend the afternoon ‘in service,’ which I think must be a group therapy for having to deal with us.

—Neal Shusterman

Mr. Klamp laid down the law. No tardiness, no talking above 40 decibels, no untied shoelaces, no visible undergarments, no eating, no chewing gum, no chewing tobacco, no chewing betel nuts, no chewing coca leaves, no chewing out students (unless Mr. Klamp was doing the chewing out), no chewing out teachers (unless ditto), no unnecessary displays of temper (unless ditto), no unnecessary displays of affection (no exceptions), no pets over one ounce or under one ton, and no singing, except in Bulgarian.

—Polly Shulman

If you can’t explain why someone should pay attention to what you’re saying, maybe you shouldn’t be saying it.

—Dave Burgess

I had assumed ‘a man’s character is his fate’ meant if my students worked hard they would get good grades, and if they were lazy they would fail—but any idiot could have seen that interpretation. It took no thought whatsoever, and it isn’t at all what Joe was trying to teach me. No, what Joe meant was this: my character shapes what my students become, and what they become is my fate. I began to see teaching in a whole new light. From that day forward, I knew everything that happened to my students would haunt me or bless me—and I began to teach as if my happiness depended on their happiness, my successes depended on their successes, and their world was the most important part of my world.

—Tucker Elliot

The reality for teachers is we don’t know if we’ve been successful or not. It takes years to see how a kid turns out, and it’s impossible to know what role we’ve played, for better or worse. It’s why so many teachers burn out—our successes are limited and rarely celebrated, but our failures are always out there for everyone to see and judge.

—Tucker Elliot

Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation but as a question.

[A caution he gives his students, to be wary of dogmatism.]

—Niels Bohr

As she gazed into the ball of confession, she questioned, ‘Who will I be in this profession?’

Years of life have come to show she is the portrait of a woman we have grown to love and know. With her heart on her sleeve and the wit that shows, she has inspired them all with her intensity and glow. Not the ordinary woman who walks without purpose, she lives to share her vigor with the children who walk Earth’s surface.

A special woman who has awakened their minds, she has created a class of comfort and pleasure without intensity from father time.

For the knowledge and warmth she brings the children follow her with looks of admiration.

With her critical thoughts and queries she has opened their minds without invitation.

She’s not a preacher of her own thoughts,but rather one who supplies the knowledge,

One who allows their visions to flourish without indifference or carnage.

So as she gazes into the ball of confession, she will no longer question…

For she will be a special woman I must say one beyond her own comprehension.

A woman full of progression and forever a Teacher that will leave a lasting impression…

—Diana Lee Santamaria

It is said, in a fire, everyone runs away from it save for the fireman who run towards it. When dealing with students, be the fireman.

—Patricia Sequeira Belvel

By the time these students enter the workforce, many of the jobs they will apply for ill be in industries that don’t even exist yet. That’s a hard future to prepare someone for. Teachers have their sights set on the real goal: not to produce Ivy League graduates, but to encourage the development of naturally curious, confident, flexible, and happy learners who are ready for whatever the future has in store.

—Taylor Mali

My English teacher has no face. She has uncombed stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her part to her ears and then neon orange to the frizzy ends. I can’t decide if she had pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman.

—Laurie Halse Anderson

We don’t learn anything there [school]. The difference between schoolteachers and philosophers is that school-teachers think they know a lot of stuff that they try to force down our throats. Philosophers try to figure things out together with the pupils.

—Jostein Gaarder

Successful teaching is not head-to-head; it is heart-to-heart.

—Tamara L. Chilver

Most of my teachers wanted to send me to the principal’s office. But my fourth-grade teacher once put her arms around me and said, ‘You sure write well.’ And I’ve had good penmanship until this day. She was the only one who ever said anything nice to me. That’s the kind of motivation that students need.

—Andrew Young

Even fairly good students, when they have obtained the solution of the problem and written down neatly the argument, shut their books and look for something else. Doing so, they miss an important and instructive phase of the work. … A good teacher should understand and impress on his students the view that no problem whatever is completely exhausted.

—George Pólya

When I act tough they listen politely till the spasm passes.

—Frank McCourt

What is a classroom? A place for students and teachers. Students struggle, succeed, fail, give up, try again. Teachers struggle, succeed, fail, give up, try again.

–Esther Wright

There’s a huge difference for taking responsibility for one’s actions, and taking credit, and in this scenario I think we need to give credit where credit is due. I won’t take responsibility for my teacher’s drinking problem, but I will take credit for it.

—Benjamin Tomes

Yet that is considered an excellent school, and I dare say it would be if the benighted lady did not think it necessary to cram her pupils like Thanksgiving turkeys, instead of feeding them in a natural and wholesome way. It is the fault with most American schools, and the poor little heads will go on aching till we learn better.

—Louisa May Alcott

Schools are structured in a manner that allows us to deliver a wealth of information and ideas to young people who lack our experience of and sophistication about the world. For the most part, educators assume that, if we cover something, the students have learned it. We talk, they listen. We present, they absorb. At the end of a year, when we have covered everything according to our plan, the students are deemed ready for the next level —at least most of them are. In some cases, students who do not make progress are subjected to another year of the same material, usually presented in the same way, usually with the same books, and often with the same teachers. Then, if they fail for a second time, we usually move them ahead anyway, because keeping them back at this point makes even less sense.

—Ted Sizer

School in itself is a microcosm of society. These kids bring a lot of baggage with them, and as teachers with 30 plus kids in your classroom you have to take the time to get to know them, and not just see them as people you have to teach. And if they want to learn they will learn, and if they don’t want to, then too bad. But you have to see them as your surrogate children.

—Charles Chuck Mackey

Teaching is, after all, a form of show business.

—Steve Martin

If you don’t find a good teacher, find a good book.

—Amit Kalantri

I have often wondered about two things. First, why high school kids almost invariably hate the books they are assigned to read by their English teachers, and second, why English teachers almost invariably hate the books students read in their spare time. Something seems very wrong with such a situation. There is a bridge out here, and the ferry service is uncertain at best.

–Stephen King

The more elements of good parenting, good teaching, and good schooling children experience, the greater the likelihood that they will achieve their potential as readers.

Becoming a Nation of Readers

First and foremost, we must remind teachers that they are not only teaching how to read, but why to read. They must find ways to share wonder along with linguistic correctness, or else we will raise a generation of students who can read, but will too often choose not to.

–Peter Temes

I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language.

—Pat Conroy

However, I learned something. I thought that if the young person, the student, has poetry in him or her, to offer them help is like offering a propeller to a bird.

–Norman MacCaig

I much prefer working with kids whose life could be completely upended by a reading of a book over a weekend. You give them a book to read—they go home and come back a changed person. And that is so much more interesting and exciting.

–Russell Banks

The list of gifted teachers and librarians who find their jobs in jeopardy for defending their students’ right to read, to imagine, to question, grows every year.

—Judy Blume

Ever wonder why many schoolteachers seem so tired, so mean, so burnt-out on life? They didn’t start that way. Teaching anything year after year, while watching so many students struggle to grasp your lessons, eats away at your soul and can’t help but overtake the love that drove you to teach in the first place.

–Scott Berkun

The teacher has to get out of the way; instead of being the star, he is the facilitator who helps students gain experience. The teacher can achieve this through exercises, games, and challenges where he plays a supporting rather than a primary role.

–Scott Berkun

Many professors and gurus who are fantastic lecturers are somehow awful teachers. When their ‘students’ leave, they don’t know how to apply anything they heard in the lecture. Given the lecturer’s brilliance, the students assume they are the problem and give up.

–Scott Berkun

Highly compressed TV learning modules, especially those of ten-to thirty-second commercials, are affecting attention span. Many teachers have commented on the fact that students of all ages ‘turn off’ when some lesson or lecture takes longer than, say, eight to ten minutes. TV conditioning leads to the expectation that there will be a new point of view or focus of interest or even subject matter every few minutes.

–Neil Postman

I do not like explanatory speeches. Young people pay little attention to them and rarely remember them. Give them facts. I cannot say often enough, that we allow too great power to words. With our babbling education we only make babblers.

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

There are many thousands of teachers who must be frustrated, overloaded and ill equipped. We provide the supermarket checker more technical support today than we do teachers. That’s outrageous!

–Dr. Terrel Bell

In part, the promise of technology is the substitution of physical capital for human capital, using machines to do things that formerly required teachers. But such substitution does not mean the elimination of teachers. Rather, the promise of modern technology is even more dramatic, for it extends the hope of major productivity breakthroughs, something the schools desperately need if they are to flourish. The issue in the schools is the same as on the farm or in the factory—find more efficient and effective ways to accomplish routine tasks, and free teachers to do things machines cannot.

Business Week Magazine

As in the military, technology-based training is now the norm in most corporations, and its promise is extraordinary. It can free teacher and student from much of the drudgery and frustration associated with drill and practice. Free to assign students to imaginative and creative programs, the teacher is also free to manage instruction more creatively. And the student, using modern computers, finds that a machine’s boundless patience, capacity to move at the student’s pace, and memory are enormous advantages.

Business Week Magazine

Society can’t afford the money which would be required to deal with this problem by drastically increasing the teacher-to-student ratio, to one-to-three or so. The only alternative, therefore, is to use technology to help teachers maximize the help and supervision which can be given to the independent work and learning of their students.

New York State Business Council

To gauge the extent to which education has shortchanged the research and development of productive learning technology, consider that the Gillette Company’s high-tech ‘Sensor’ razor blade cost some $200 million in R & D investment over thirteen years to create. Gillette, a company whose annual revenues of more than $3.5 billion are less than the education budgets of three-fourths of the U.S. states, thus spent more to invent a better shave than all the states combined spent during the same period to develop a better technology for teaching and learning than the thousand-year-old ‘Yak in the Box’ (the lecturing classroom professor).

–Lewis J. Perelman

The day may soon come when the concept of student and teacher will be obsolete. All knowledge will be acquired electronically.

—Todd Strasser

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.

—Bill Gates

Children are naturally creative just as they are naturally honest. If we can start early enough, our problem is not how to make them creative but how to keep them from being noncreative….We can fan the flames of creativity instead of throwing water on them. And if we are really good, we can throw gasoline instead.

–D. Kenneth Winebrenner

We need to stop looking to politicians to make our world better. Politicians don’t make the world a better place. Everything that’s ever made the world a better place has come from inventors, engineers, scientists, teachers, artists, builders, philosophers, healers, and people that choose love over hate.

—Don Freeman

Most substitute teachers are nothing more than convenient placeholders who attempt to keep the inmates in order. The majority of substitute teachers arrive in school ill-prepared for the subjects at hand and simply try as best as possible to make it through the day with as little bloodletting as possible.

—Jon Bradley

No other element in our society would tolerate such a contemptible situation. No community would hire a local mother to pinch-hit for a medical doctor, a convenient father does not sit in place of a judge, and a non-elected individual does not replace the mayor. Yet in hundreds of schools across North America every day, we inflict upon our youth untrained adults who demean the real work that classroom teachers actually do.

—Jon Bradley

When our society looks at us and says our schools are troubled, what they are really saying is that our society is troubled and by implication they are saying, ‘Help us, dear teachers. You are our hope.’

–Linda Holt

There is a social burden placed on schools by poverty, drug abuse, violence, and hopelessness. Troubled children carry the ills of their homes and neighborhoods into their classrooms every day. In too many parts of the United States, teachers must feed their students’ bodies and souls before they can even begin to feed their minds.

–Nan Stone

One teacher can make a difference. And not every teacher has to be that teacher. But when a child has at least one adult on campus who they can connect with, their likelihood of success increases and their likelihood of suspension decreases.

—Mary Ellen Flannery

No problem in education is more important than discipline. No other single factor so vitally affects a teacher’s success or failure. If a teacher is poor in what is generally called ‘discipline,’ he is almost certain to fail; if he is skillful in his relations with students, he is equally certain to be effective in other aspects of teaching.

–E. V. Pullias

‘Do you think you can maintain discipline?’ asked the Superintendent.

‘Of course I can,’ replied Stuart. ‘I’ll make the work interesting and the discipline will take care of itself.’

–E. B. White

If a student enters class not knowing algebra, we teach him algebra. If a student enters class not knowing how to behave, we punish him.

–Arnold Langberg

The chief source of the ‘problem of discipline’ in schools is that…a premium is put on physical quietude; on silence, on rigid uniformity of posture and movement; upon a machine-like simulation of the attitudes of intelligent interest. The teachers’ business is to hold the pupils up to these requirements and to punish the inevitable deviations which occur.

–John Dewey

Excessive attention, even if it’s negative, is such a powerful ‘reward’ to a child that it actually reinforces the undesirable behavior. You need to learn restraint, to respond to far fewer situations, to ask yourself questions like,’Is this really important?’ ‘Could I let this behavior go?’ ‘What would happen if I just wait?’ ‘Could I lose by doing nothing?’

–Stanley Turecki

When children and adolescents misbehave, we usually assume that they’re doing so because they have considered the consequences of their actions and calculated that the benefits of misbehavior outweigh the costs. So our natural response is to increase the cost of misbehavior, by ratcheting up punishment. One of the chief insights that recent neurobiological research has provided, however is that young people, especially those who have experienced significant adversity, are often guided by emotional and psychological and hormonal forces that are far from rational. This doesn’t mean that teachers should excuse or ignore bad behavior. But it does explain why harsh punishments so often prove ineffective in motivating troubled young people to succeed.

—Paul Tough

Do not mistake a child for his symptom.

–Erik Erikson

Never argue; repeat your assertion.

–Robert Owen

Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other’s hands – the teacher at the boy’s, or vice versa – who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other’s soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. Yet that’s not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus the struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society’s treasure. But some – and who knows how many? – waste away in quiet obstinacy and finally go under.

—Hermann Hesse

The empathic mindset allows for the educator so see beyond a student’s actions, and to develop strategies to connect with students rather than just say, ‘This kid needs to get out of my classroom.’ The emphasis is: This kid has a need and how can I meet it? How can I understand them as a real person?

—Mary Ellen Flannery

The numbers are stark: One in four U.S. students will witness or experience a traumatic event before the age of 4, and more than two-thirds by age 16. These children do not—the cannot—simply close their eyes to what they’ve seen or experienced. With each forced eviction, each arrest of an adult in their home, each abuse to their own bodies, an instinctive trigger to ‘fight or flee’ is pulled over and again. Over time, a child’s developing brain is changed by these repeated traumatic experiences. Areas that govern the retention of memory, the regulation of emotion, and the development of language skills are affected. The result is a brain that has structurally adapted for survival under the most stressful circumstances‚—but not for success in school.

—Mary Ellen Flannery

Whenever two human beings spend time together, sooner or later they will probably irritate one another. This is true of best friends, married couples, parents and children, or teachers and students. The question is: How do they respond when friction occurs? There are four basic ways they can react:

• They can internalize the anger and send it downward into a memory bank that never forgets. This creates great pressure within and can even result in disease and other problems.

• They can pout and be rude without discussing the issues. This further irritates the other person and leaves him or her to draw his or her own conclusions about what the problem may be.

• They can blow up and try to hurt the other person. This causes the death of friendships, marriages, homes, and businesses.

• Or they can talk to one another about their feelings, being very careful not to attack the dignity and worth of the other person. This approach often leads to permanent and healthy relationships.

—James C. Dobson

I used to smoke pot and go to class. Sneak in ten minutes late with a bullshit excuse. Slink down low at my desk. Pray to god nobody asked me any questions. I was the best teacher ever.

—Nathan Anderson

A single lie the pupil has found his teacher telling him will ruin for ever the fruit of education.

–Jean Jacques Rousseau

High expectations are the key to everything. 

–Sam Walton

Education delivered by a strict councellor, and received with great pains would never brighten the future of any student.

—Michael Bassey Johnson

The commonest error of the gifted scholar, inexperienced in teaching, is to expect pupils to know what they have been told. But telling is not teaching. The expression of facts that are in one’s mind is a natural impulse when one wishes others to know these facts, just as to cuddle and pat a sick child is a natural impulse. But telling a fact to a child may not cure his ignorance of it any more than patting him will cure his scarlet fever.

—Edward Lee Thorndike

Of course present knowledge of psychology is nearer to zero than to complete perfection, and its applications to teaching must therefore be often incomplete, indefinite, and insecure. The application of psychology to teaching is more like that of botany and chemistry to farming than like that of physiology and pathology to medicine. Anyone of good sense can farm fairly well without science, and anyone of good sense can teach fairly well without knowing and applying psychology. Still, as the farmer with the knowledge of the applications of botany and chemistry to farming is, other things being equal, more successful than the farmer without it, so the teacher will, other things being equal, be the more successful who can apply psychology, the science of human nature, to the problems of the school.

—Edward Lee Thorndike

I find myself utterly unable to adopt the indurating policy which seems to be the refuge of all schoolteachers. I must be interested and discharge my conscience of the 80 souls that are waiting on me for instruction and example. These are a terrible weight upon me: I dream for them, I labor for them, I suffer for the thousand brutalities and derelictions of their parents, which it requires all my patience, all my labor, all my ingenuity, all my art and culture and poverty and religion to withstand it all.

–Sidney Lanier (1842-1881)

I am inclined to think that one’s education has been in vain if one fails to learn that most schoolmasters are idiots.

–Hesketh Person

It is when the gods hate a man with uncommon abhorrence that they drive him into the profession of schoolmaster.


No one every got a word of sense out of any schoolmaster. You may, at a pinch, take their word about equilateral hexagons, but life, life’s a closed book to them.

–John Mortimer

A schoolmaster is a man among boys and a boy among men.

–C. E. M. Joad

No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else.

–Henry Adams

The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one’s life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation, and misery on the face of this beautiful earth.

–George Eliot

As a society, our understanding of teenagers has not caught up to the science. In the past 15 years, neuroscientists have discovered that a teenager’s brain is different in important ways from an adult’s brain. It is more receptive to rewards than to punishment, and the parts that control impulses and judgement are still under construction. Which means that back talk and fake burps are predictable teenage acts—to be corrected, not prosecuted.

—Amanda Ripley

‘America generally loves crime and punishment—this idea that punishment somehow corrects behavior, that it teaches kids a lesson,’ says Jenny Egan, the Maryland public defender. In reality, the more involvement kids have with the legal system, the worse their behavior gets. Kids who get arrested and appear in court are nearly four times as likely to drop out of  high school, Gary Sweeten found. But most people in the chain of decision making—from state lawmaker to the teacher to the principal to the school police officer to the prosecutor—do not realize how much damage their actions can do. Egan says: ‘I don’t think a majority of people in the system understand what it does to a child to put him in handcuffs and take him to court—at the very moment when he is trying to figure out who he is in the world.’

—Amanda Ripley

Reporter Shelly Lichen-Horn, a former teacher, posed as a high school student at Cody High School in order to witness firsthand the fractured and fearful lives of teachers in Detroit’s secondary schools. Teachers were portrayed as locking their door against intruders, carrying weapons for protection, even lecturing on their fear of truant students and their planned defenses against assault.

—Chrissie Bamber

Amusement and pleasure ought to be combined with instruction in order to make the subject more interesting. There should be games of various kinds such as a game played with different kinds of coins mixed together. There should also be problems connected with boxing and wrestling matches. These things make a pupil useful to himself and more wide awake.


Teachers have rules, but there are 101 reasons for being late to class. Was the student threatened by a bully and hiding in the bathroom? Never assume; talk to kids. Why was your paper late? Why didn’t you take the makeup test? When kids don’t live up to your expectations, don’t treat it as a crime but as a problem to be solved. The search for solutions begins with getting more information, often from students.

–Anne Wescott Dodd

What motivates kids to go to class? Strong relationships with teachers and coursework they see as relevant and important for the future. That’s what the students themselves said, and what every classroom teacher and curriculum expert needs to understand.

—Richard Laurent

1997-‘Quite passing notes.’

2007-‘Quite texting.’

2017-‘Are you seriously watching Netflix right now?’


Schools have used the team concept classrooms less than any other part of society… you sit and work by yourself, keep quiet, don’t share, don’t relate to one another.

—William Glasser

The way I understand power should be used is that if you’re the head of an
organization—the principal of a school, or the teacher of a class—-there are at least two ways you can use your power that are need-satisfying for both you and for those you’re trying to direct. One way is to provide them with material support: the best possible tools, the best possible workplace. The second is to use your power to facilitate what they do. The more powerful you’re perceived to be, the more you should listen to what other people say; and in this way your power helps them get some power too. It’s really the opposite of the conventional notion of power as exemplified by ‘Sit down and shut up.’ The ultimate use of power should be to empower others. That’s what our Constitution is all about.

—William Glasser

An article in Education Week explored the reasons that teachers quit. Marshall Cohen, a social studies teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, contributed the following story:

l knew one older teacher who kept in it until he was over 60. And one of the ways he did it was. . . every year, he would pick between five and 10 kids that he would really cultivate. And they were a cross-section of the school. They weren’t always the smartest kids. Just some kids that he liked in some way, . . . And then he’d make a significant difference in those kids’ lives. He’d get them in conversations, and he’d start talking with them. . . . Those kids were what kept him in it. And they’d come back and visit him years and years later.

I am touched by this story of a teacher who created an advising system of his own. How wonderful it would be if each of us could contribute similarly each year to the growth of several young people, to their understanding of the culture, and to their desires to become contributing adults.

—Maxine Seibel and Joseph N. Muray

Last year, Shaftsburg (Michigan) Elementary School counselor Teresa Severy met a new fourth grader for the first time. The bright and resilient little girl’s life had been colored by the horrors of neglect, substance abuse, and family incarcerations. ‘I met her as I do all my new students, and she shared much of what was in her heart,’ said Severy. Then, one morning, Severy found on her desk a box — clearly wrapped by a young person — and a card, addressed in the beautiful awkward cursive of a child.

‘The box contained a wind chime for my office, to add special music to my day,’ Severy related. ‘The card touched my heart.’

It read: ‘Thank you for being a special person who really cares to listen and hear me. I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. Your friend…’

I wept when I read her words. Her mom was incarcerated, and [the child] was living with another family. One never knows that what we say or do can be significant in the life of a child.

—Gary Hopkins

Teachers who complain ‘These kids have no work ethic’ couldn’t be farther off the mark. The problem is not that these kids lack a work ethic; the problem is that some of them see no connection between a work ethic and school. None of them would think, for example, to say to a customer at the MacDonald’s drive-up window, ‘Do you think I could get you those Chicken McNuggets some time tomorrow?’ Yet we give sanction to that sort of request when it comes to school assignments.

—Garret Keizer

The computer is a machine that will put you all out of work. Something made of sand—silicon—may turn a lot of you into hod carriers. I hope I’m not the first to tell you this. Your teachers should have; that’s what you’re paying them for.

–Hunter S. Thompson

Most law-enforcement officers are trained to assert authority, to take control of the situation. In a school context, that’s bad advice.

—Mark Soler

There is no zeal blinder than that which is impaired with the love of justice against offenders.

–Henry Fielding

Educational reform must focus on changing teachers, their teaching and their classrooms not because teachers are the problem; but because schools can change only to the extent that teachers change.

–Bill Page

I teach English at a rural high school. The biggest issue for 2017 students is that they have almost zero self-confidence. I don’t know if this is a product of culture, or if this is just a fluke with my students. However, they are unwilling to try anything challenging or new without an extreme amount of one-on-one guidance. And that’s very difficult to give in a classroom of 30.

—Teacher on theChive

Our mission is to teach students not only how to walk, but also where to walk.


For the young are not able to distinguish what is and what is not allegory, but whatever opinions are taken into the mind at that age are wont to prove indelible and unalterable. For which reason, maybe, we should do our utmost that the first stories that they hear should be so composed as to bring the fairest lessons of virtue to their ears.


If we want to educate a person in virtue we must polish him at a tender age. And if someone is to advance toward wisdom he must be opened up for it in the first years of his life when his industriousness is still burning, his mind is malleable, and his memory still strong.


Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.

—Bob Talbert

The best way to teach morality is to make it a habit with children.


Will robot teachers replace human teachers? No, but they can complement them. Moreover, the could be sufficient in situations where there is no alternative––to enable learning while traveling, or while in remote locations, or when one wishes to study a topic for which there is not easy access to teachers. Robot teachers will help make lifelong learning a practicality. They can make it possible to learn no matter where one is in the world, no matter the time of day. Learning should take place when it is needed, when the learner is interested, not according to some arbitrary, fixed schedule.

—Donald A. Norman

It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.

—Harvey S. Firestone

Real success is knowing that you helped others to change their lives for the better.

–Dan Sosa, Jr.

When someone says a child with autism can be hard to connect with, I smile and reply, ‘You can be sure she feels the same way about you.’

—Ellen Notbohm

Teachers have to be in school from the age of 5 until they retire.


We need to allow our children to fail, because struggle builds resilience and grit.

–Liza Mundy

Students rarely disappoint teachers who assure them in advance that they are doomed to failure.

—Sidney Hook

If you have told a child a thousand time and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner.

—Walter Barbie

That is still the case in this country for too many students, the soft bigotry of low expectations. If you don’t expect them to learn, if you don’t expect them to succeed – then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

—Tavis Smiley

Teaching: You laugh, you cry, and you work harder than you ever thought you could. Some days you’re trying to change the world and some days you’re just trying to make it through the day. Your wallet is empty, your heart is full, and your mind is packed with memories of kids who have changed your life. Just another day in the classroom.

—Krissy Venosdale

You can’t train a caterpillar to be a butterfly, and you can’t train a preschooler to be an adult.

—Dr. Gordon Neufeld

It is against the natural order of life to bury our children. As parents and educators, we can, in time, reconcile ourselves to the loss of a child through accident or illness. But the choice of a child to end his or her own life is a different matter. We who are dedicated to nurturing human potential are appalled. Suddenly, part of the future is gone forever.

Tomorrow in the United States approximately 1,000 adolescents will attempt suicide. Eighteen will succeed. During the same period, twice as many young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 will end their lives.

—Maxine Seibel and Joseph N. Muray


How will adults know when a grieving child needs extra help?

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry advises parents and teachers to consider referring a child for therapeutic counseling if these grief related symptoms persist for an extended period:

1. Severe depression that results in little interest in daily activities

2. Inability to eat and sleep normally

3. Fear of being alone

4. Imitation of the deceased

5. Repeatedly wishing to join the deceased

6. Loss of interest in play and friends

7. Refusal to attend school

8. Steady drop in school achievement.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Americans making the investment in education are having to pile up debt with the hope their incomes improve along with it. Earnings can vary significantly based on the program. Engineers often benefit the most from their degrees and teachers the least.

—Agnel Philip

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation.

—Chinese Saying

The ultimate end of education is happiness or a good human life, a life enriched by the possession of every kind of good, by the enjoyment of every type of satisfaction. —Mortimer Adler

To show a child what has once delighted you, to find the child’s delight added to your own, so that there is now a double delight seen in the glow of trust and affection, this is happiness.

–J. B. Priestly

The first duty to children is to make them happy.—If you have not made them so, you have wronged them.—No other good they may get can make up for that.

–Charles Buxton

The best way to make children good is to make them happy.

–Oscar Wilde

The best lesson we can teach our children is to have fun. It’s infectious, it’s contagious.

—Vince Poscente

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.

—William A. Ward

Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I retire, I want to say that I taught 30 years rather than that I taught one year 30 times.

–Steve Freman

As we got older…we discover that the lives of most human beings are worthless except insofar as they contribute to the enrichment and emancipation of the spirit….No one over 35 is worth meeting who has not something to teach us—something more than we could learn by ourselves, from a book.

—Cyril Connolly

I’m 53. I don’t care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed.

—Alan Ball

Time is the best teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all of its students.

—Robin Williams

Our teachers are responsible for our children’s welfare for the six or eight hours they are at school, and we need to know without question that their safety will be paramount on the minds of teachers, faculty and volunteers.

—Mike Fitzpatrick

According to… a well-designed study by Eunice S. Han, an economist at the University of Utah, school districts with strong unions actually do a better job of weeding out bad teachers and retaining good ones than do those with weak unions. This makes sense. If you have to pay more for something, you are more likely to care about its quality; when districts pay higher wages, they have more incentive to employ good teachers (and dispense with the bad ones). And indeed, many of the states with the best schools have reached that position in the company of strong unions. —Erika Christakis

That many top college graduates hesitate to join a profession with low wages is no great surprise. For many years, talented women had few career alternatives to nursing and teaching; this kept teacher quality artificially high. Now that women have more options, if we want to attract strong teachers, we need to pay competitive salaries. As one observer put it, if you cannot find someone to sell you a Lexus for a few dollars, that doesn’t mean there is a car shortage.

Oddly, the idea of addressing our supply-and-demand problem the old-fashioned American way, with a market-based approach, has been largely unappealing to otherwise free-market thinkers. And yet raising salaries would have cascading benefits beyond easing the teacher shortage. Because salaries are associated with teacher quality, raising pay would likely improve student outcomes. Massachusetts and Connecticut have attracted capable people to the field with competitive pay, and neither has an overall teacher shortage.

—Erika Christakis

If you are a teacher, administrator, or parent, you should make a conscious decision to choose to read the literature of the young people with whom you work or live. Reading should be viewed as one of your ‘professional responsibilities’ because it creates the base for making connections to the lives of your students and to your curriculum.

—Donna Bessant

There is no such thing as inherent or built-in relevance; no subject is relevant in itself, because every field of knowledge is equally the center of all knowledge. Relevance is a quality which teachers and students alike bring to a subject of study, and it consists in a vision of the human possibilities connected with that subject. Some subjects, such as car-driving, are obviously and immediately usable; for those that are not, such as the arts and sciences, the question of usefulness moves from an actual into a potential world. They are useful for living a genuinely human life, but of course one can neither prove that a genuinely human life is better than other kinds, or that a certain program of study will necessarily enable one to live it. Teaching is not magic, and it would be a very impudent or self-deceived charlatan who would assert that if we only teach literature properly, certain social benefits are bound to follow. Still, a sense of the worthwhile of what he is doing is what keeps a teacher going, and surely that sense should be made as specific as possible. If he teaches science, he’s trying also to teach intellectual honesty, accuracy, the importance of relying on evidence rather than authority, and the courage to face results that may be negative or unwelcome. If he teaches history, he’s trying also to teach the dimension of consciousness that only the sense of continuity with the past can give, the absence of which makes society as senile as loss of memory does the individual. If he is teaching literature, he is trying also to teach the ability to be aware of one’s imaginative social vision, and so to escape the prison of unconscious social conditioning. Whatever he is teaching, he is teaching some aspects of the freedom of man.

—Northrop Frye

Teaching done in isolation and with no relevant connection to life is forgotten about 24 hours after the words have left my lips. I now understand that when kids simply memorize information, probably as much is 85% is forgotten in three months’ time. This includes vocabulary lists and grammar instruction and abstract mathematical concepts. Skills in isolation rather than application just doesn’t work.

—Jeanneine P. Jones

Although book lists go against my teacherly instincts, I think we could come up with some sort of point system for renewing educators’ contracts and certifying congressmen as eligible to stand for reelection: one point, say, for Steve Garvey’s autobiography or for books by Dick Francis, John Grisham, and Erma Bombeck; five points for Anne Tyler, Tobias Wolff, and Edward Hoagland; 10 points for Stephen Jay Gould, David Halberstam, Gore Vidal, and Kelvin Trilling; 15 points for books in a foreign language, books on modern physics and mathematics, poetry books, and Edward Abbey.

We could argue about how many points dead authors are worth. I worry about people who scream for something they call standards in the schools and then try to convince kids that the only good author is one who’s been dead at least 100 years. I’d also award bonus points for familiarity with Squirrel Nutkin, Miss Nelson, Max, the Scroobius Pip, Henry and Mudge, The Stupids, Ramona, Madeline, Eloise, Amelia Bedelia, The Cat in the Hat, The Pinballs, Anastasia, and the hundreds of their literary fellows.

—Susan Ohanian

When an English teacher doesn’t read poetry, she doesn’t know anything besides what she herself was taught. When she sticks to ‘To a Daffodil,’ her students never know that poetry remains alive. Likewise, the science teacher who is really the football coach and doesn’t know quark from quartz is cheating his students. You can’t inspire others to know what you don’t know yourself.

—Susan Ohanian

As a longtime teacher I reject both the position of the cultural absolutists, who think every ninth-grader should read Great Expectations, and that of the laissez-faire-ists, who pretend that reading about Nancy Drew has the same value is reading about Anna Karenina. Chanting the mantra ‘It doesn’t matter what they read, just so long as the read’ works only in the very short term. It works only to hook reluctant readers on books. Once a teacher has set her hook, then she must nudge, prod, and entice readers into meatier fare. To pretend that it doesn’t matter what people read is to say that they are not capable of growth, that they aren’t worthy of intellectual challenge and discovery.

—Susan Ohanian

The passion to teach, to share deeply experienced ‘lessons from life,’ is embedded in all literature. 

Vera B. Williams

What students lack in school is an intellectual relationship or conversation with the teacher.

—William Glasser

Our approach to education has remained largely unchanged since the Renaissance: From middle school through college, most teaching is done by an instructor lecturing to a room full of students, only some of them paying attention.

—Daphne Keller

Every day more educators are showing that they value students by involving them in meaningful ways in school. These teachers and administrators say that it is not about ‘making students happy’ or allowing students to run the school. Their experience shows that when educators partner with students to improve learning, teaching and leadership in schools, school change is positive and effective.

—Adam Fletcher

Our schools may be educating our children, but for better or worse; it’s television that’s teaching them.

–Peter Herrndorf

When people are smiling they are most receptive to almost anything you want to teach them.

—Allen Funt

I’m cynical about students. The vast majority are philistines. I’m cynical about teachers. The vast majority are uninspiring. I’m cynical about the ‘deciders’—the school officials who control what students study. The vast majority think they’ve done their job as long as students comply.

Those who search their memory will find noble exceptions to these sad rules. I have known plenty of eager students and passionate educators, and a few wise deciders. Still, my 40 years in the education industry leave no doubt that they are hopelessly outnumbered. Meritorious education survives but does not thrive.

—Bryan Caplan

What struck me most is how impossible teaching is, especially in traditional public schools. While those who pursue the profession in other countries are provided with the infrastructure crucial to educating kids effectively—a clear sense of what students need to learn, basic materials necessary to help them learn (such as a curriculum), and a decent training system—teachers in the U.S. are left stranded.

The reason isn’t terrible union contracts or awful management decisions. The fault, I came to see, lies in the often competing edicts issued by municipal, state, and federal authorities, which add up to chaos for the teachers who actually have to implement them. It’s not uncommon for a teacher to start the year focused on one goal—say improving students’ writing—only to be told mid-year that writing is no longer a priority, as happened just the other day at a Boston school I know of. We could hardly have designed a worse system for supporting good teaching had we tried.

—Elizabeth Green

There was a time in our schools when teachers and administrators seemed quite insensible to the fact that children differed in ability, aptitude, interests, and therefore in achievement. If a pupil did not learn well, it was assumed that this was a sign that he was lazy and the way to cure that was by application of the rod. Today we know that children do differ in almost every conceivable way and that these individual differences, very large in some cases, have much to do with school achievement as well as personal adjustment, and success in school as well as out. Modern tests and testing procedures have done much to bring out the fact of such differences and to quantify them. That is, tests not only reveal that the differences exist but also tell us their extent or size.

—J. Wayne Wrightstone

Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be! 

—Arthur C. Clark.


1.     Ordering, directing, commanding: Telling the student to do something, giving an order or command, e.g., ‘Don’t talk to me like that!’

2.   Warning, admonishing, threatening: Telling students what consequences will occur if they do something, e.g., ‘If you do that, you’ll be sorry!’

3.  Exhorting, moralizing, preaching: Telling students what they SHOULD or OUGHT to do, e.g., ‘You shouldn’t act like that.’

4. Advising, giving solutions or suggestions: Telling the student how to solve a problem, giving advice or suggestions, providing answers or solutions, e.g., ‘Why  don’t you.,.?’.

5. Lecturing, teaching, giving logical arguments: Trying to influence the student with facts, counter-arguments, logic, information, or your own opinions, e.g., ‘When I was your age, I had twice as much to do as you.’

6. Judging, criticizing, disagreeing, blaming: Making a negative judgment or evaluation of the student, e.g., ‘That’s an immature point of view.’

7. Praising, agreeing: Offering a positive evaluation or judgment, agreeing, e.g., ‘Well, I think you’re smart.’

8. Name-calling, ridiculing, shaming: Making the student feel foolish, putting the student into a category, shaming, e.g., ‘You’re a spoiled brat.’

9. Interpreting, analyzing, diagnosing: Telling students what their motives are or analyzing why they are doing or saying something, communicating that you have them figured out or diagnosed, e.g., ‘You’re saying that to bug me.’

10. Reassuring, sympathizing, consoling, supporting: Trying to make students feel better, talking them out of their feelings, trying to make their feelings go away, denying the strength of their feelings, e.g., ‘All kids go through this sometime.’

11.   Probing, questioning, interrogating: Trying to find reasons, motives, causes, searching for more information to help you solve the problem, e.g., ‘Why do you suppose you hate school?’

12. Withdrawing, distracting, humoring, diverting: Trying to get students away from the problem, withdrawing from the problem yourself, distracting the students, kidding them out of it, pushing the problem aside, e.g., ‘Come on; let’s talk about something more pleasant.’

—Dr. Thomas Gordon

The growing list of tasks and services our dedicated teachers provide and accomplish every day as the meet their students’ needs:

➣  Demonstrate strong knowledge of their content;

➣  Identify clear outcomes and design coherent construction that is student-centered and engaging;

➣  Design meaningful assessments aligned to local and national standards;

➣  Possess a strong knowledge of each student’s abilities, interests and cultural heritage;

➣  Build and ensure a climate of respect and rapport among students;

➣  Manage student behavior and provide appropriate discipline as necessary;

➣  Maintain accurate records and have a firm grasp of each student’s progress;

➣  Secure and implement best resources to enhance lessons;

➣  Integrate technology in ways that enhance and extend student learning;

➣  Communicate regularly with parents regarding instructional programs and their child’s achievement;

➣  Interact and plan with colleagues by reviewing student data and shifting instruction as necessary; and

➣  Attend training and workshops to enhance teaching skills and content knowledge.

Oh, and in addition, teachers are expected to:

➣  Be tuned to each student’s social/emotional needs, including confronting and reporting any signs of emotional or physical abuse;

➣  Foster a culture of equity in the classroom where second language, special needs and a range of academic and emotional needs are met;

➣  Provide resources and support for underperforming students so they can meet the standards expected of all students; and

➣  Foster a culture of belonging so students from diverse cultures, religions and background feel accepted and included.

—David F. Larson

The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.

—Barbara Bush


I have never heard of a profession where people put so much of their heart and soul into their job, taking time and resources from their home and family, and getting paid such an insultingly measly amount. Teachers are some of the most kind and giving people I have ever met, yet they get treated so disrespectfully from all sides. Most parents can’t stand to spend more than a couple hours a day with their kid, but we spend 8 with yours and 140 others just like him. Is it too much to ask for a little common courtesy and civil conversation?
It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to have a class- room of my own, and now my heart is broken to have become so disillusioned in these short two years. This is almost all I hear from other teachers as well, and they are leaving the profession in droves. There is going to be a teacher crisis in this country before too many more years has passed unless the abuse of teachers stops….Any passion for this work I once had has been wrung completely out of me.

—Julie Marburger

The democratic principle requires that every teacher should have some regular and organic way in which he can, directly or through representatives democratically chosen, participate in the formation of the controlling aims, methods, and materials of the school of which he is a part.

—John Dewey (1937)

Eight characteristics emerge as major contributors to student motivation:

Instructor’s enthusiasm
Relevance of the material
Organization of the course
Appropriate difficulty level of the material

Active involvement of students

Rapport between teacher and students
Use of appropriate, concrete, and understandable examples

—Edmund J. Sass


Strategies to promote reading within the building, attract students to the library, and help students appreciate the library through the initiative of the library staff:

❒  Book of the day—Each day school announcements will ‘advertise’ a book. The announcement reader can summarize the description on the book jacket to interest students in the book. The library staff will dis play the book in the library for a day and then check it out.

❒  Extended library hours —8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with students using the library before school with a pass.

❒  Racks of paperback books—Create high interest, attractive, and easy-access book displays for students.

❒  Spontaneous rewarding of students for carrying a leisure-reading book with them during the school day. The principal could ask to see students’ library books at any time and reward them with certificates or other incentives.

❒  Sponsor reading competitions such as Battle of the Books among homerooms or between schools.

❒  Conduct research scavenger hunts.

❒  Hold a luncheon for select students and give them the first opportunity to preview new books.

❒  Encourage teachers to hold events and activities in the library so that students come to view the library as an interesting and popular school destination.

❒  Sponsor a paperback book exchange.

❒  Create bibliographies for different interests and also for various problems students face.

❒  Promote the library and library activities in the school newspaper and parent newsletter.

❒  Award certificates or other incentives after a student reads and completes a librarian-created survey/questionnaire.

❒  Prepare a brochure or other handout for students and parents explaining library services and policies.

❒  Deliver book talks or talks on topics that students can later explore in specific books.

❒  Create a bulletin board or display case where students can post their reviews of favorite books they have read. Encourage them, also, to post their reviews on such websites as

—Dan L. Miller


Hold high but realistic expectations for your students. Research has shown that a teacher’s expectations have a powerful effect on a student’s performance. If you act as though you expect your students to be motivated, hard- working, and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so. Set realistic expectations for students when you make assignments, give presentations, conduct discussions, and grade examinations. ‘Realistic’ in this context means that your standards are high enough to motivate students to do their best work but not so high that students will inevitably be frustrated in trying to meet those expectations. To develop the drive to achieve, students need to believe that achievement is possible—which means that you need to provide early opportunities for success.

—Barbara Gross Davis

Be enthusiastic about your subject. An instructor’s enthusiasm is a crucial factor in student motivation. If you become bored or apathetic, students will too. Typically, an instructor’s enthusiasm comes from confidence, excitement about the content, and genuine pleasure in teaching. If you find yourself uninterested in the material, think back to what attracted you to the field and bring those aspects of the subject matter to life for your students. Or challenge yourself to devise the most exciting way to present the material, how- ever dull the material itself may seem to you.

—Barbara Gross Davis

Vary your teaching methods. Variety reawakens students’ involvement in the course and their motivation. Break the routine by incorporating a variety of teaching activities and methods in your course: role playing, debates, brain- storming, discussion, demonstrations, case studies, audiovisual presentations, guest speakers, or small group work.

—Donelson R. Forsyth and James H. McMillan

In the country the repository of art and science was the school, and the schoolteacher shielded and carried the torch of learning and of beauty….The teacher was not only an intellectual paragon and a social leader, but also the matrimonial catch of the countryside. A family could indeed walk proudly if a son married the schoolteacher.

—John Steinbeck


If your department budget or personal budget does not allow purchase of new books, find inexpensive way to stock books. Haunt garage sales, annual second-hand book and library sales, the Goodwill and Salvation Army book sections. Be bold enough to advertise in the school paper or local paper for unloved books. Approach local merchants for their help in a worthy book project, or ask the PTA to solicit stray books (no questions asked) from homes of students. Talk the librarian into giving you attractive dust jackets for the bulletin board or for your desk or the blackboard. Announce television, movie, or video events that are taken from books or lead into reading. Use display space for students’ responses to what they have read: drawings, paintings, collages, or personal writing in response to reading.

—Jane Christensen

Most teaching is visceral…as ephemeral as the dance, and as hard to localize and define. It is what is left after the reading and thinking and reciting; the residue, the illumination.

—Theodore Roethke

In America, when we encounter a member of the armed services, many of us make a point to thank them for their service. When was the last time you did the same for a public school teacher?

—Fareed Zakaria

A little girl who had just been promoted to the fourth grade in Town School wept on the shoulder of her teacher of the third grade. ‘Oh, Miss Young,’ she sobbed, ‘why aren’t you smart enough to teach me again next season?’

—Bennett Cerf

I have always believed that 98% of a student’s progress is due to his own efforts, and 2% to his teacher.

—John Philip Sousa

You cannot be all things to all students. But sometimes, just sometimes, you will be the right teacher at the right time. You will be the exact teacher that one child needed more than anything.

—Paul F. C. Mundy

Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help.


Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.

—Edward M. Forster

Every child should have a caring adult in their lives. And that’s not always a biological parent or family member. It may be a friend or neighbor. Often times it is a teacher.

—Joe Manchin

Failing a test is usually an indicator of how bad a student is doing, but it can also be an indicator of how bad the teacher is doing.

—Internet Meme

As I coach in classrooms, travel internationally, and lead professional development, I see school hallways near and far filled with cookie-cutter projects. We’re ‘over rubricing’ our students and baking out their creative approach to tackling real-world problems. Educators need to be preparing students for college and career by focusing on the 4Cs [critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity].

—Meg Ormiston

They assign things to students which are way over their heads, which destroys your love of reading, rather than leading you to it. I don’t understand that.

—Charles M. Schulz

A classroom atmosphere that promotes reading does not come from the furniture and its placement as much as it comes from the teacher’s expectation that students will read. 

—Donalyn Miller

We’re suggesting that [kids are] missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.

—Walter Dean Myers

By using quotations teachers can lend authority to their words. Students will more readily accept particular views knowing that great thinkers and authorities from the past have also held those views. It is a plus when a particular quotation or proverb is familiar to students because those well-known saying have already earned universal acceptance.

—Dan L. Miller

Whether a teacher is preparing a lesson, writing a speech, or writing an article, the inclusion of quotations can enrich and enliven the content and more effectively deliver the message. Quotations are particularly effective for getting the students’ attention at the beginning of a lesson.

—Dan L. Miller

Whether taken from 200 B.C., Victorian England, or the Roaring 20s, quotations yield insight both into the nature of the age and also into the nature of the people who originated the quotes. Quotations embody habits of thought, customs, and moral values. By carefully selecting from the writing of one period, one can unfold, little by little, characteristics and values of that particular age. Similarly, by selecting passages from a particular author’s writings, a teacher can illustrate the style, techniques, values, and the unique traits of that writer.

—Dan L. Miller

The entertainment value of literature, is, perhaps, the single most important justification for reading. Teachers can provide students with a great deal of pleasure through the judicious selection of quotations that are humorous, that are a clever play on words, or that present a distinctly fresh view of life.

—Dan L. Miller

No one likes to feel used. When the perceived focus becomes the content over the person, people feel used. When teachers are valued only for the test scores of their students, they feel used. When administrators are ‘successful’ only when they achieve ‘highly effective school’ status, they feel used. Eventually, ‘used’ people lose joy in learning and teaching. Curriculum does not teach; teachers do. Standards don’t encourage; administrators do. Peaceable schools value personnel and students for who they are as worthy human beings. … If your mission statement says you care, then specific practices of care should be habits within your school. 

—Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz

We spend a lot of time defining behavior by the negative ‘that was inappropriate.’ These commands are vague and inefficient…Telling students what to do in a way that is specific, concrete, sequential and observable refocuses us on teaching.

—Doug Lemov

Children are like clay in the hands of teachers. Like a sculptor we can chisel and carve their personalities with our behavior. 

—Balroop Singh

Half of teachers leave the profession within their first four years, and kids with behavior challenges and their parents are cited as one of the major reasons. 

—Ross W. Greene


Teachers who are effective managers:

• use time as effectively as possible;

• implement group strategies with high levels of involvement and low levels of      misbehavior;

• choose lesson formats and academic tasks conducive to high student engagement;

• communicate clearly rules of participation;

• prevent problems by implementing a system at the beginning of the school year.

—Carolyn M. Evertson and Alene H. Harris

Teacher attitudes and behaviors are probably the most significant aspects of classroom management. Management is dependent upon the behavior of the individual teacher, and there are specific behaviors and attitudes that have a direct effect on the way students behave. Teachers who are friendly, cheerful, fair, consistent, honest, helpful, interested, and interesting have good relationships with students. Adolescents will be much more likely to cooperate with teachers who show themselves to be empathetic, warm, and genuine.

Successful teachers appear competent, confident, credible, enthusiastic, receptive to student input, and clear in presentations. These teachers are also less likely to ignore, belittle, harass, shame, put down, or exclude their students. Instead, they are pleasant and businesslike in their interactions with them. Their classes show evidence of mutual respect, and they encourage hard work and personal responsibility.

These teachers can also encourage positive behavior in students by displaying positive behavior themselves. Much has been written about he effects of teacher modeling on student behavior. Students learn a great deal by observing the actions of the significant adults in their lives. Teachers are significant adults and can influence student behavior by modeling such behaviors as courtesy, tolerance, respect, promptness, and self-control.

Middle school students have very definite opinions about the characteristics of a ‘good’ teacher. In a recent study…middle school students gave their perceptions of the qualities of an effective teacher. The responses are listed in rank order, with number one being the most frequently mentioned: (1) helpful; (2) nice; (3) caring, patient, and kind; (4) good sense of humor; (5) understanding; (6) makes learning fun and interesting; (70 fair; (8) uses class time wisely; (9) assigns a reasonable amount of meaningful homework; (10) knowledge of subject and how to teach; (11) good listener (friend you can talk with who listens and helps you with your problems); (12) in control of class; (13) loves kids; (14) smart; and (15) willing to explain things over again and give an example. Middle school teachers with these positive attitudes and behaviors will have little difficulty with management.

—Daisy F. Reed


• Teach and remind students of behavior you expect for class in general and for specific activities. Occasionally during the lesson remind students of the behavior you expect, and as often as possible recognize and praise appropriate behavior (particularly with the most difficult students—‘I like the way Nico is paying attention and ready to start the song,’ ‘Jane is quiet and ready to go,’ ‘I like the way you all lined up.’ (You can even set a goal for yourself to provide during class 5 positive comments each for your misbehavers.) It makes your day as a teacher much more pleasant to be giving out positive comments as opposed to yelling and being upset.

• One of the most effective approaches with most students is to communicate frequently with parents and enlist their help in managing the students’ behavior. This takes work, and many teachers don’t communicate as often as they should, but if you can develop an ongoing dialogue with the parents of difficult students, it can ease your classroom management workload tremendously. Call every week, and call also to offer praise for improved behavior. If you’re dealing with 15 nasty students, that’s only 15 calls per week. You might work out a contract with parents. If the student behaves well in class, they can have some special privilege at home—pick a movie for weekend viewing, a McDonald’s meal, stay up a half hour later than usual, play a video game for longer than usual—whatever the parent thinks will best motivate the student to behave in music class. If parents use e-mail, you can also communicate with them via e-mail. If you put a lot of effort into ongoing parent communication, it can make a difference.

• You can even ask parents who are available during the day to attend your class while their child is present to oversee their child’s behavior. The parent can just check into the main office and say they have a meeting with you and then come down to the classroom.

• As a teacher you can also make a special arrangement with a misbehaving student to earn privileges in class for proper behavior. For instance, if you have to reprimand them about proper behavior more than twice, they lose their privilege. After about three class sessions, you can change the criteria to no reprimands about proper behavior. Privileges can be ‘sitting at the teacher’s desk or in a special place,’ ‘being first in line,’ or ‘choosing an activity,’ for instance. You can also use tangible rewards such as stickers, school supplies, decals, colored pencils, bookmarks, pencil toppers, or discount coupons for locals merchants. With your school ID, you could talk to store managers at McDonald’s, Target, Burger King, etc. to get a supply of discount coupons to use as incentives.

You can also have the misbehaving student keep a behavior chart. Make up a chart with check boxes for every five minutes of class. The student gets to mark a box for every five minutes of good behavior. (Monitor or nod or smile to the student if she silently seeks your approval or acknowledgment.) If the student has all boxes checked at the end of the period, and you concur with the checks, the student earns a reward.

• Use peer pressure by offering class rewards for good behavior and following proper procedures. Recognize and praise good behavior frequently, and have some criteria for the class earning their reward.

• Teach and demonstrate and even give bad examples of the behavior you want students to demonstrate—general classroom behavior, lining up behavior, behavior for a specific activity, etc. Many teachers just expect good behavior but don’t actually teach it. It is just as important to teach behavior as it is to teach music. You must have student attention and engagement for your lesson to be successful and for students to learn.

• Move the misbehaving student right next to you as you teach so you can closely monitor behavior and so you can praise positive behavior more easily.

• Set up a tape recorder or use a smart phone in the classroom and explain to the students that you will turn on the recorder when someone starts misbehaving. You will then play the recorded audio for the parent and the principal. (In reality you need only play it for the parent during a conference or phone conference.) To affect behavior, many times you need only to threaten to turn on the recorder. But if you do turn it on, follow through with playing it during a phone conference or personal conference so students know it’s not an idle threat. You can also use a video recorder for this procedure.

• Hold a private one-on-one conference with the student. Many teachers yell at students and consequence students but never really sit down to have a personal discussion with the student. During the conference make expectations clear but also listen to any concerns the student may have and solicit conversation from the student on how the two of you can work together to have a pleasant classroom experience without misbehavior.

—Dan L. Miller

Handling children’s anger can be puzzling, draining, and distressing for adults. In fact, one of the major problems in dealing with anger in children is the angry feelings that are often stirred up in us. It has been said that we as parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators need to remind ourselves that we were not always taught how to deal with anger as a fact of life during our own childhood. We were led to believe that to be angry was to be bad, and we were often made to feel guilty for expressing anger.

It will be easier to deal with children’s anger if we get rid of this notion. Our goal is not to repress or destroy angry feelings in children—or in ourselves—but rather to accept the feelings and to help channel and direct them to constructive ends.

Parents and teachers must allow children to feel all their feelings. Adult skills can then be directed toward showing children acceptable ways of expressing their feelings. Strong feelings cannot be denied, and angry outbursts should not always be viewed as a sign of serious problems; they should be recognized and treated with respect.

To respond effectively to overly aggressive behavior in children we need to have some ideas about what may have triggered an outburst. Anger may be a defense to avoid painful feelings; it may be associated with failure, low self-esteem, and feelings of isolation; or it may be related to anxiety about situations over which the child has no control.

Angry defiance may also be associated with feelings of dependency, and anger may be associated with sadness and depression. In childhood, anger and sadness are very close to one another and it is important to remember that much of what an adult experiences as sadness is expressed by a child as anger.

—Luleen S. Anderson

In dealing with angry children, our actions should be motivated by the need to protect and to teach, not by a desire to punish. Parents and teachers should show a child that they accept his or her feelings, while suggesting other ways to express the feelings. An adult might say, for example, ‘Let me tell you what some children would do in a situation like this…’ It is not enough to tell children what behaviors we find unacceptable. We must teach them acceptable ways of coping. Also, ways must be found to communicate what we expect of them. Contrary to popular opinion, punishment is not the most effective way to communicate to children what we expect of them.

—Luleen S. Anderson

Catch the child being good. Tell the child what behaviors pleases you. Respond to positive efforts and reinforce good behavior. An observing and sensitive parent will find countless opportunities during the day to make such comments as, ‘I like the way you come in for dinner without being reminded’; ‘I appreciate your hangin up your clothes even though you were in a hurry to get out to play’; ‘You were really patient while I was on the phone’; ‘I’m glad you shared your snack with your sister’; ‘I like the way you’re able to think of others’; and ‘Thank you for telling the truth about what really happened.’

Similarly, teachers can positively reinforce good behavior with statements like, ‘I know it was difficult for you to wait your turn, and I’m pleased that you could do it’; ‘Thanks for sitting in your seat quietly’; ‘You were thoughtful in offering to help Johnny with his spelling’; ‘You worked hard on that project, and I admire your effort.’

—Fritz Redl and David Wineman

The most common management routine is to have the students begin work as soon as they walk into the classroom. That means an assignment is already posted, it’s there every day, and it’s in the same place every day.

The second most common procedure is one teachers use to quiet the class….The teacher says, ‘Give me five,’ and the students go through five steps:

Eyes on speaker


Be still

Hands free


In five seconds the class is quiet.

—Harry Wong

The most common mistake is that teachers don’t do classroom management. They present lessons, and if something goes wrong, they discipline. Classroom management is not discipline. You manage a store. You don’t discipline a store. You manage a team. You manage a classroom. You don’t discipline a classroom. Classroom management is the practices and procedures that allow teachers to teach and students to learn.

—Harry Wong


Holding and communicating high expectations for student learning and behavior. Through the personal warmth and encouragement they express to students and the classroom requirements they establish, effective teachers make sure that students know they are expected to learn well and behave appropriately.

Establishing and clearly teaching classroom rules and procedures. Effective teachers teach behavioral rules and classroom routines in much the same way as they teach instructional content and they review these frequently at the beginning of the school year and periodically thereafter. Classroom rules are posted in classrooms.

Specifying consequences and their relation to student behavior. Effective teachers are careful to explain the connection between students’ misbehavior and teacher-imposed sanctions. This connection, too, is taught and reviewed as needed.

Enforcing classroom rules promptly, consistently, and equitably. Effective teachers respond quickly to misbehavior, respond in the same way at different times, and impose consistent sanctions regardless of the gender, race, or other personal characteristics of misbehaving students.

Sharing with students the responsibility for classroom management. Effective teachers work to inculcate in students a sense of belonging and self- discipline, rather than viewing discipline as something imposed from the outside.

Maintaining a brisk pace for instruction and making smooth transitions between activities. Effective teachers keep things moving in their classrooms, which increases learning as well as reduces the likelihood of misbehavior.

Monitoring classroom activities and providing feedback and reinforcement. Effective teachers observe and comment on student behavior, and they reinforce appropriate behavior through the provision of verbal, symbolic, and tangible rewards.

—Kathleen Cotton

Your school board can play a major role in efforts to clamp down on student cheating. Here are several measure you can undertaketo help discourage and prevent student cheating:

Survey students, parents, and teachers to find out how serious the problem of cheating is in your district.

Talk to school administrators. Have they seen a rise in cheating? How do they think cheating incidents should be handled?

Outline specific punishments for cheating offenses and enforce them consistently. Schools run into trouble when one student fails a test because of cheating but another gets a second chance after the same offense.

Instruct teachers not to give the same tests year after year. Otherwise, kids will simply find a way to get copies of the test from students who took the classes the previous year.

Make a strong statement as a board about the importance of rigorous test monitoring. Require teachers to stay in the room when giving a quiz or test unless there is an emergency. Also, require teachers to pay close attention to students during a test—they should not become engrossed in reading a news paper or grading papers during that time.

Make sure that any policy against cheating addresses the growing use of new technologies.

Educate parents about why schools will nottolerate cheating and how they can help. For instance, parents can talk to their kids about why cheating is wrong and monitor them to make sure they are doing their homework themselves, not copying from friends.

—Kevin Bushweller

Any teacher can be trained to deal with behavior problems. What is necessary is for the teacher to have a systematic plan for what happens in the classroom before it happens. The effective teacher is one who:

Identifies wants and needs. A teacher must be capable of letting the students know what type of behavior he expects.

Sets limits. A teacher must know how to respond meaningfully to disruptive students.

Follow-through positively. A teacher must back up his positive verbal assertions with positive consequences.

Plans discipline. A teacher must have a systematic discipline plan before it is needed.

Asks for help. A teacher must know how to win the cooperation of the principal and the disruptive student’s parents in his discipline efforts.

—Lee Canter


You know the scenario… you’re instructing a small group of students while the rest of the class is working independently on an assignment. You observe several students off task. When you ask why they’re not working they say, ‘I’m stuck on number 8,’ ‘I don’t understand the directions,’ ‘I don’t know which formula to use.’

Among your opinions are to tell them, ‘Sit quietly until I finish with these students,’ or ‘Wait in a line at my desk until I can get to you.’ These approaches waste time and can cause classroom disruption.

One effective management strategy is to design systems for handling requests for help which don’t interfere with ongoing activities. One system uses a laminated cardboard sign, ‘Please help me.’ It is taped to a student’s desk so that it can be displayed when the child needs help, or turned down when not needed. Each student is also given a folder, which contains ‘easy’ work (math facts, vocabulary sentences) to be done while waiting. When you finish the lesson, you can immediately recognize and deal with the students who need assistance.

For older students, a partner system can be set up with one student giving assistance to another as needed.

Stan C. Paine


As classroom managers, teachers regularly use commands to direct students to start and stop activities. Instructors find commands to be a crucial tool for classroom management, serving as instructional signals that help students to conform to the teacher’s expectations for appropriate behaviors.

Teachers frequently dilute the power of their classroom commands, however, by:

Presenting commands as questions or polite requests. Commands have less impact when stated as questions or requests, because the student may believe that he or she has the option to decline. The teacher who attempts, for example, to quiet talking student by saying, ‘Tonya, could you mind keeping your voice down so that other students can study?’ should not be surprised if the student replies, ‘No, thank you. I would prefer to talk!’

Stating commands in vague terms. A student may ignore commands such as ‘Get your work done!’ because it does not state specifically what behaviors the teacher expects of the student.

Following up commands with excessive justifications or explanations. Because teachers want to be viewed as fair, they may offer long, drawn- out explanations for why they are requiring the class or an individual student to undertake or to stop a behavior. Unfortunately, students can quickly lose the thread of the explanation and even forget the command that preceded it!

Use effective commands

Teachers can reduce problems with student compliance and make their commands more forcible by following research-based guidelines.

Effective commands:

Are brief. Students can process only so much information. Students tend to comply best with brief commands because they are easy to understand and hard to misinterpret.

Are delivered one task or objective at a time. When a command contains multi-step directions, students can mishear, misinterpret, or forget key steps. A student who appears to be noncompliant may simply be confused about which step in a multi-step directive to do first!

Are delivered in a matter-of-fact, businesslike tone. Students may feel coerced when given a command in an authoritative, sarcastic, or angry tone of voice. Teachers will often see greater student compliance simply by giving commands that are neutral or positive manner.

Are stated as directives rather than questions. Perhaps to be polite, teachers may phrase commands as questions (e.g., ‘Could we all take out our math books now?’). A danger in using question commands is that the student may believe that he or she has the option to decline! Teachers should state commands as directives, saving questions for those situations in which the student exercises true choice.

Avoid long explanations or justifications. When teachers deliver commands and then tack lengthy explanations unto them, they diminish the force of the directive. If the instructor believes that students should know why they are being told to do something, the teacher should deliver a brief explanation prior to the command.

Give the student a reasonable amount of time to comply. Once the teacher has given a command, he or she should give the student a reasonable time span (e.g., 5-15 seconds) to comply. During that waiting period, the instructor should resist the temptation to nag the student, elaborate on the request, or otherwise distract the student.

—Jim Wright

There are a few steps schools could take that don’t cost any money, that would cut the incidence of cheating in school testing by two-thirds in one year: Don’t give the same test over and over again, separate kids so they don’t see each other’s papers, make it clear to students that it is unacceptable, have them sign a document that says they haven’t cheated and punish cheaters. Also, don’t let them come into tests with PDAs and cell phones.

—Micael Josephson


— Copying from another student
— Plagiarizing by downloading information or whole papers from the Internet

— Cell phone cheating—text-messaging answers to another student, taking a picture of the test and e-mailing it to another student, or downloading information from the Internet

— Getting test questions, answers or a paper from a student in a previous period or from a previous year

— Bringing a permitted graphing calculator into the test loaded with answer material previously input into the computer portion of the calculator


— Create an honor code with student input so they’re invested in it
— Seriously punish cheaters according the academic integrity policy
— Create multiple versions of tests to make purloined answer keys useless
— Ban electronic devices in testing rooms
— Develop multiple modes of assessment so the grade is not determined primarily on tests

—Regan McMahon

A hash reality for the educational community to accept is that many student behavior problems may be caused directly or indirectly by teachers. Poor teaching, abrasive personality, ignorance of child development, violations of common sense and of human relations—these and other factors add to the incidence of classroom disturbances and to student rebellion against school life.

American Association of School Administrators

What is the most important thing a teacher can do to assure acceptable student behavior in the classroom? The answer, a study says, is to keep the student’s mind, hands, and body occupied with learning tasks so interesting and challenging that he will have neither time nor inclination to disrupt, disturb, or play havoc with the teaching-learning atmosphere.

—Casey Banas

When a student is being defensive, avoid using the words don’t and can’t. Instead, try to emphasize the word do. Using the words don’t and can’t has a tendency to elicit defensive responses rather than teaching appropriate behavior. Too often, it’s easy to approach a negative behavior with a negative approach. It’s much more effective, however, to use a positive approach. Do is positive. It is an action word. Don’t and can’t are neither positive nor action-oriented. That’s why they can perpetuate a problem and even magnify it.

—Robert L. DeBruyn

Engineers make bridges.

Artists make paintings.

Scientists make rockets.

But teachers make them all.

—Internet Meme

Think twice before you give a surprise test—and consider two factors carefully when you do. First, analyze the validity of the test you have created. Second, be careful about weighting it too heavily. It’s far better to give a ‘positive test’. To help prepare students than it is to make the mistake of giving a surprise test which is poorly written or heavily weighted. And it’s hard to be regarded as fair or caring if you do either.

—Robert L. DeBruyn

Students watch every procedure used in the grading process very carefully. They talk to one another and compare notes to see who earned what grade on each and every assignment. When you give students a deadline on an assignment, make a note of those students who turn their work in on time. Even if you extend the deadline, those who meet your original date should be rewarded. It’s very upsetting to a student when he or she hands work in on time and gets a B, then sees a classmate hand it in days later and get an A. Your credibility with students will suffer when this happens. And you’ll find that the next time you set a deadline for students, you won’t get the cooperation you desire.

—Robert L. DeBruyn

Students know whether or not you like them, trust them, or want to be with them. You need to know what their lives are like, what they care about, what pressures they are under, and what they go home to when they leave school. Because of the increased diversity in today’s American schools, this can be a daunting learning curve for a teacher, but it is essential to providing a serene, yet exciting, learning environment.

—Judith Baenen


Develop a set of written expectations you can live with and enforce.

Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.

Be patient with yourself and with your students.

Make parents your allies. Call early and often. Use the word ‘concerned.’ Communicating a concern, be specific and descriptive.

Don’t talk too much. Use the first 15 minutes of class for lectures or presentations, then get the kids working.

Break the class period into two or three different activities. Be sure each activity segues smoothly into the next.

Begin at the very beginning of each class period and end at the very end.

Don’t roll call. Take the roll with your seating chart while students are working.

Keep all students actively involved. For example, while a student does a presentation, involve the other students in evaluating it.

Discipline individual students quietly and privately. Never engage in a disciplinary conversation across the room.

Keep your sense of perspective and your sense of humor.

Know when to ask for help.

—Howard Miller

Set the tone for the day by greeting each student personally as he or she enters the classroom. Use the opportunity to establish rapport and to deal with such minor problems as gum chewing, boisterous behavior, bad moods, or unwanted materials, quietly and discreetly—before they can corrupt into public confrontations that threaten control and disrupt the class.

But don’t stop there. Once students are in the classroom, you’ll want to continue with some of these teacher–recommended techniques for maintaining control without confrontation:

Establish eye contact.

Move around the room and increase proximity to restlessstudents.

Send a silent signal.

Give a quiet reminder.

Redirect a students attention.

Begin a new activity.

Offer a choice.

Use humor.

Provide positive reinforcement.

Wait quietly until everyone is on task.

Ask a directed question.

And when all else fails. Try something else!

—Robert Bencker


One thing most teachers don’t learn in their college course on classroom

management is how to break up a student fight.

Critical steps for dealing with the violent confrontation:

Get help. Tell a student to get a specific person to help.

Dismiss the audience. Send every possible student to a specific location, whittling the crowd down.

Identify yourself. At least one of the students is likely to defer to someone in authority.

Use specific demands, and defer to rules, not personal authority.

Identify the aggressor. Concentrate your attention on him or her.

Direct the loser to a specific location. Usually that person will be more interested in ending the whole matter.

Obtained identification. This can help calm the students and also let you identify any outsiders.

Make a written report as soon as possible.

Debrief. Discuss with other teachers what you might have done differently.

And finally, never go after a student who has a knife or gun. Call the police instead.

—Anthony Moriarity

It is 8:05 on a Thursday morning at the Mount Vernon High School, Alexandria, Va. For the umpteenth time the video equipment rolls into a classroom to videotape the teacher giving a lesson.

But this morning, the camera operator has a new set of instructions. Under no circumstances is the teacher to be on camera; instead, the camera is going to be focusing on the students.

The purpose of the camera is to help improve students’ classroom attitudes, behavior, and interaction.

The theory is that when the students see their own inappropriate behavior played back on videotape, they are more likely to improve.

—Terry McConnell

The most important action an effective teacher takes at the beginning of the year is creating a climate for learning.

—MaryBeth Blegan

Jenny Kramer wanted to teach. She spent six years in training—four years at a very prestigious college and two in a top-ranked masters program—and landed a job… at a magnet school in Manhattan. Excited by the school’s low student-teacher ratio and full inclusion policies, she looked forward to playing her own small part in school reform. But a few unruly students turned teaching into a daily trial. When students cursed at her, administrators told Kramer to toughen up. More-experienced teachers reacted to Kramer’s frustration with a shrug: What did she expect? In June…, she quit teaching altogether. “I’ve had my fill,” she says.

Kramer’s case is hardly unique. A survey of 118 school districts across the country shows that nearly 10% of public schoolteachers quit during the first year and 20 percent bolt within three years. The survey…found that the biggest barriers to new teachers’ success are poor classroom management skills (82 percent) and disruptive students (57percent). It’s pretty clear that teacher preparation is inadequate in this area.

—David T. Gordon



Be quite. [Can you use a softer voice?]

What a mess! [It lookalike you had fun! How can we clean up?]

Do you need help? [I’m here to help if you need me.]

I explained how to do this yesterday. [Maybe I can show you another way.]

Do I need to separate you? [Could you use a break?]

Stop crying. [It’s okay to cry.]

Do you have any questions? [What questions do you have?]

You’re OK. [How are you feeling?]

It’s not that hard. [You can do hard things.]

We don’t talk like that. [Please use kind words].

@We Are Teachers

Educators graduate from teacher preparation institutions with little or no skills in affecting any type of student discipline, let alone student self-discipline, the ultimate objective. Once educators begin their careers, graduate schools are often unable to help with classroom management and dynamics. At best, a two or three semester credit course is taught in which the instructor sometimes discusses discipline. This is not a blanket criticism of any one person or any single institution. It just happens to be the way things evolved.

Such is the situation. Teachers are not given much assistance in developing sound discipline skills. That must change. Teaching efficiency is reduced whenever disciplinary disruptions occur and continue to occur.

—Stanley T. Dubelle, Jr. and Carol M.Hoffman

Children increase behavior that has desirable consequences for them and decrease behavior that has undesirable consequences. A parent’s attention—even negative attention—is always a desirable consequence for a child. Many parents are most attentive to their children when they misbehave—responded by scolding, spanking, or simply giving the child what he wants. When children behave the way parents wish, they’re often ignored. How often do parent praise a child for sitting patiently through dinner or being polite to a visitor? Good behavior that gets no attention is less likely to be repeated. Pay lots of attention to behavior you want to increase and withdraw attention from behavior you want to decrease.

—Wendy Schuman

The old school made the amazing mistake of supposing that…by removing a situation a person likes or setting up one he doesn’t like—in other words by punishing him—it was possible to reduce the probability that he would behave in a given way again. That simply doesn’t hold. It has been established beyond question. What is emerging at this critical stage in the evolution of society is a behavioral and cultural technology based on positive reinforcement. We are gradually discovering—at an untold cost in human suffering—that in the long run punishment doesn’t reduce the probability that an act will occur. We have been so preoccupied with the contrary that we always take ‘force’ to mean punishment….We haven’t really altered his potential behavior at all. That’s the pity of it. If he doesn’t repeat it in our presence, he will in the presence of someone else. Or it will be repeated in the disguise of a neurotic symptom. If we hit hard enough, we clear a little place for ourselves in the wilderness of civilization, but we make the rest of the wilderness still more terrible.

—B. F. Skinner

That the teacher can and must assume some share of responsibility for the emotional as well as the intellectual development of his students is today a truism.

—Fritz Redl & William Wattenberg

The emotional well-being of young people can be expressed to a large extent in terms of their relationships with adults. First, of course, are parents. Second only to parents are teachers. During school days, close to one-third of the youngster’s waking hours are spent in school. During these hours, in addition to group influences…, the important people in his life are the instructional staff whose influence may be felt in direct person-to-person contact, or, more indirectly, in terms of classroom atmosphere…. For these reasons, no true mental hygiene of education can be written without turning the spotlight on the psychological part played by teachers in the development of children.

—Fritz Redl & William Wattenberg


Many students are enabled to discuss their needs and their problems.

The therapeutic writing facilitates progress in counseling interviews.

Students become more willing to go into the subject matter of the class and are more successful in it.

Learning takes place through the curriculum without lowering standards.

Students assume more responsibility in classroom activities.

Students achieve an increased sense of security.

Students gain more self insight.

As more value is placed upon individuals, they become more aware of themselves

—Joseph S. Zaccaria, Harold Alton Moses, & Jeff S. Hollowell


The date when the agreement will begin, end, or be renegotiated.

The behavior targeted for change.

The amount and kind of rewards or reinforcers that will be used.

A schedule for delivery of the reinforcers.

Signatures of all involved.

A schedule for review of progress.

A possible bonus clause for sustained or exceptional performance.

A statement of the penalties that will be imposed if the specific behavior is not performed.

—W. J. DeRisi & G. Butz

Every school in America has teachers working for free on a daily basis. Go by any school parking lot early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or even at night or on the weekends, and you will see them. No overtime, no bonuses or promotions on the line—just doing it for their students! Teachers are using their free time, and often investing their own money, for children’s literacy, prosperity, and future.

—Internet Meme

Apps aren’t likely to soon overcome the two essential advantages of a human teacher: the ability to hold a student’s attention, and to continually tailor a lesson to the individual’s progress, difficulties, and interest. There are all kinds of contextual factors in language learning. It would be hard for an app to take them all into account.

—Tom Roeper

Quotations can function in any number of effective ways in the English classroom, and because of their brevity, the effect of the message, and their general usefulness, teachers should consider quotations as a staple of the unit lesson plan.

—Dan L. Miller


A well-conceived and relevant curriculum attuned closely to the needs of young people can generate a mood of positivism within a school and thusly reduce the need for rigid administrative control. So also does the classroom teacher stand as a major deterrent to infringements against school order. Although a dynamic curriculum and a professional staff can certainly reduce behavioral deviations, guidelines for student behavior are mandatory. Adolescents at the high school level are fast approaching adulthood. Indeed, many of them have physically reached adulthood by the time they graduate, but in reference to emotional growth and maturity they are several years removed from adulthood. Inherent in the teenager is the desire and often passion for freedom from authority. A large part of maturity is the responsible control of one’s emotions and urges, and many adolescents have not yet reached that stage of maturity. Those excesses of the adolescent, therefore, which do not succumb to controls from within must be modified from without.

Limits for student behavior must be clearly understood and accepted within the school. Adelaide Johnson attributes ‘a sizable incidence of juvenile delinquency to the inability or refusal of adult authority figures to establish clear limits for youth to operate within.’ Such limits are needed by all, in differing degrees depending on maturity levels. For the insecure teenager in a world of conflicting values, interests, and behavior these limits are mandatory. Just as our American society bases its order on the Constitution of United States of America so must the school prepare a carefully written code of behavioral management. The purpose and procedure of this code should reflect the school’s philosophy of education and the worthwhile values of the community. This codification of the laws of the school should serve as a guide for the educational program in that it makes discipline a working part of the school’s philosophy of education, clarifies each student’s status, minimizes hasty and emotionally influenced action, and establishes a clear-cut support for teachers and administrators. Once a well-defined philosophy of discipline is in hand and clearly understood, the school community has a strong base from which to work toward the positive emotional growth of the student body.

—Dan L. Miller

Please review the following specific suggestions for improving classroom discipline, and put as many as possible into effect so you will ultimately be able to spend more time teaching and less time disciplining this year:

Identify students as people.

Be models of positiveness—be courteous—be low-keyed—be concerned.

Start your class off with an imposed seating chart—make adjustments as needed.

Circulate around the classroom.

Use a variety of teaching methods.

Make the information relevant and within the realm of student


Use audiovisuals and multimedia.

Divide into small groups.

Locate your desk in the back of the room.

Approach individual pupils separately and with respect and dignity.

Make concrete, exciting lessons plans.

Use motivational approaches.

Be positive.

Dress properly.

Have a sense of humor.

Keep cool— do not make matters worse.

Have a gimmick or routine at the beginning of class.

Keep ‘eyeball’ contact.

Call up on those students whose attention is wavering.

Learn names quickly.

Be businesslike, but friendly.

Be interested in the students as human beings.

Reprimand in private.

Be prompt and over-prepared.

When students have started working on a project avoid interrupting them.

Do not delay if a parent/counselor/administration conference seems advisable.

Anticipate and prevent potential trouble.

Focus on the student’s strong points.

Develop room standards.

Use your voice to advantage.

Understand fans in dress, style, language, idols, customs, etc.

Be consistent but flexible.

Recognize behavior patterns—treat causes, not signs of fear, insecurity, etc.

Do not argue—discuss but do not over-discuss.

Know how young people learn.

Trying out to take unacceptable behavior as a personal affront.

Do not ridicule.

Never punish in the heat of anger.

Do not punish the group for a few.

Did not label the youngster.

Do not have favorites.

Explain the simple rules and guidelines.

Do not yell or nag.

Use ‘stand and stare’ method.

Use your resources—counselors/administrators—wisely.

Endeavor to be a model of perfection.

Keep a running account of what is happening to a student.

Don’t be afraid to listen—listening does not necessarily mean agreeing.



Parent-teacher conferences can be a mutually beneficial experience for both parents and teacher. They are a time for sharing facts, beliefs, feelings, and questions. Both parents and teacher have much to bring to the conference because both have a very special understanding of what the child is like. If the conference is successful, everyone gains— especially the child. Listed below are tips that other teachers and parent coordinator have found successful, and it is hoped that they will also help you to have a successful parent-teacher conference.

Be prepared. Know important information about the child in school. Read over the child’s cumulative record folder, recent test, health records, anecdotal records from the classroom, and any other vital information. Make a mental list of what you’d like to know about his activities and behaviors at home.

Be a friendly host or hostess. Try to make the parents as comfortable as possible. Offer coffee if available.

Be positive. Talk about the good things you see in the child. Relate pleasant occurrences in the classroom, on the playground, on a field trip, among other children, or during any other activities. Be specific and don’t overgeneralize.

Think developmentally. Talk about where the child is now and what the next steps are. Don’t dwell on what the child cannot do. Talk in terms of what he can do and how you and his parents can help him extend and build upon his skills, knowledge, and interactions.

Try not to take notes during the conference. This will make the conference more personal and will show the parents that you are listening and interested in both their child and in them. Review basic interviewing skills of observation, listening, clarifying, questioning, leadership, redirection, and asking leading questions.

Be highly sensitive to individual needs and respond in ways to assure that needs are met.

Maintain an objective yet warm relationship. Avoid the promotion of a dependent or too close, personal relationship.

Keep the discussion focused on material relevant to the well-being of the child and avoid the elicitation of irrelevant material the teacher is not professionally trained to handle. Teachers should not try to play the role of the therapist.

Refer complex cases to another staff member or through another staff member to an outside agency. For example, discussion of marital problems is outside the teacher’s realm of training. The social worker may be the person to encourage a referral to outside the school.

Ask leading questions which give parents an opportunity to express how they think and feel about their child. Examples might be: How do you discipline your children? What was your child like as an infant? How would you describe him to strangers? What do you want him to learn in school? What does he like to do most at home? Does he have a favorite toy? How do your children get along together?

When you give suggestions to parents, offer alternatives so that they can think about the possibilities and make their own decisions. Don’t overload the parents with suggestions or decisions to make. Concentrate on one or two things and carry through on these conversations.

Hear criticism fully and ask clarifying questions so that you really understand what the parents mean. Avoid arguments and answer questions as completely and truthfully as possible. If you don’t know some information, be honest, and if possible, find it out for the parents.

Initiate conferences on a prescheduled and preplanned basis. A teacher should not just drop in on a parent unannounced.

Establish a specific time limit for each conference. Short conferences occurring frequently are more productive than prolonged conferences widely spaced.

Before the conference ends, summarize the major topics you talked about, agree upon any actions needed, and clarify the next steps for both parents and the school.

Don’t give the parents the impression that they are done with their parent conferences for the year. Extend an invitation to visit school anytime and to talk with you about any concerns they might have. Stress that this is a beginning and that the school and parents have a real need to work together for the benefit of their child.

Thank the parents for coming and see them to the door. Express again your interest in working together with them.

Evaluate your conference and think about your strengths and weaknesses in talking with parents. Your conferences will improve if you assess your interactions, questions, preparations in attitudes after each conference and make plans for extending your strengths and decreasing your weaknesses.

Keep records of each conference. Notes should be recorded as soon after each conference as possible. These notes should be carefully reviewed when planning the next conference.

—Nancy Chavkin


Be positive. Talk about the good things you see in the child. Show you were interested and want to help.

Work with the parent. Stress the idea that you need to work together. Tell them how important their help is. Use their help.

Be flexible. Talk to the parents on their own level. Meet in a comfortable place at a mutually convenient time. Do not present your ideas first. Seek their opinions and work together on plans solicited from them.

Be a good observer. Notice both what the parent says and what he does not say. Be aware of bodily tension, hesitation, excitability, etc.

Listen. Do not interrupt to say what you would have done. Be attentive and nod to show that you are listening and are interested.

Begin where the parent is. Help him feel relaxed and comfortable. Encourage him to talk. Ask leading questions. Facilitate the conversation by asking questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Avoid putting answers and the parent’s mouth. Some leading questions might be: What does he do when _____? How do you feel when _____? What do you do when _____? How do you discipline your children?

Make comments thoughtfully. Use your comments to reassure, to encourage, or to carefully direct parents to relevant matters. Make sure you use the language of the parents.

Answer personal questions. Be frank, brief, and truthful. Then try to redirect the conversation back to the parent.

Good relationships take time. Working with parents is a process. It takes time to develop rapport and trust. Don’t try to do everything in one short meeting. The more difficult the problem, the more meetings it takes.

—Nancy Chavkin


Teachers are faced and always will be faced with the problem of students reporting to class with no pencil, no pen, no paper, no textbook, etc. There are a number of reasons for students reporting to class unprepared, but in many cases it is a student who has chosen to fail. We could take the attitude of ignoring the student and allowing him/her to fail, but this is unprofessional, not in the student’s best interest, and the student’s idleness will soon turn into behavior that will upset your teaching and instruction for the rest of the class.

Therefore, I would recommend the following procedures for dealing with no-material students:

Keep a supply of scratch paper—old forms, the backs of used paper, discards from the copy machine, etc. (Do not stock good paper because students will rely on it and even take it for use in other classes.) When students show up without paper, give them whatever scratch paper they need or direct them to take it from the supply you have in a box or tray.

Keep a supply of pencils stubs that are good enough to make a readable copy but so undesirable that they won’t be stolen. These can be found abandoned in students’ desks or on the floor of the classroom or in the hallways. Also, collect pens that are left behind by students.

Keep one to three textbooks in the classroom for loan. These also could be ragged, discard textbooks.

When students shows up without pen or pencil or other needed supplies, help them out after attending to other students’ needs by loaning them materials for collateral. Exchange your pencil stub for a student’s ID card, ring, watch, or shoe—something they will be unlikely to leave class without. At the end of class make sure the student returns your item in exchange for the collateral.

For chronic offenders make sure parents are aware of their child’s lack of preparation by sending a progress report and also by holding at least a phone conference. You also may request that parents purchase a packet of supplies for their child for your class so that when the child reports to class unprepared, you have a spare set of supplies with which to provide him or her.

When students report to class without a text, loan them one for the period for collateral. Do not let them take texts from the classroom.

When students claim they have lost their text, continue to loan them a text for collateral on a daily basis for classroom use only and also tell them they must pay the school secretary for a new textbook. When the student presents you with a receipt for a purchased text, issue them a new textbook and be sure to record the textbook number. If the student hasn’t purchased a new text within a week, call the parent and notify them of the situation. Also tell the parents you can only loan the student a book for another week—that the student must either find the lost book or purchase a new one.

Never make it easy for a student to fail. Too many students choose this path—deliberate failure—for any number of reasons. The greatest service you can do these immature and not-very-wise students is to put every obstacle in the way of their achieving their goal of failure. Your time will be limited and you will not be able to overcome all the obstacles, but you should at least be able to take care of the materials problem.

—Dan L. Miller

The teacher is constantly obliged to admonish, discipline, keep in order, employ, advise, and instruct the children.

—Anna Freud

The teacher must recognize variety in the student and then respond to each in terms appropriate to his uniqueness. Otherwise education is simply another form of manufacturing—and a cruel one at that.

Society’s Children

One who is not stirred by ideas, who is indifferent to literature and unmoved by painting and music, who has nothing to contribute but names and titles and memorized adjectives, would far better leave his pupils and himself at peace….There should be a collaboration of history with other special teachers or departments—English, fine arts, music, science, and others according to need.

—J. Montgomery Gambrill

Before I became teacher, I had no idea that you could fit so many kids in one heart.

—Internet Meme

In my 21 yrs of teaching, I’ve used many classroom management strategies—clips, checks, charts—name it, I’ve tried it, but I’ve become more and more convinced that effective classroom management comes out of building relationships and knowing when to pick a battle.

—Stacey Corrigan

Enough already with the teacher bashing. I started my career as a teacher, then left to go to law school and became a litigator. I have been a teacher and a lawyer and I will tell you right now without hesitation that teaching is a lot harder than the practice of law and pays a lot less….I’ve never had a child in the school system, yet I have willingly voted for tax increases to support education. I think it’s a great idea if the people I interact with in theworld (you know, like my doctors, salespeople, representatives and such) actually know how to read, write and think. We are all part of a larger society and we need to contribute to it. The world does not stop at your living room door.

So can we please start to give educators the respect and the resources they deserve?

—Patricia Motto


There are many purposes for using grades in the school program. Grades provide incentives to learn for many students. Most students are motivated to attain the highest grades and to receive the recognition that often accompanies such grades, and they are motivated to avoid the lowest grades and the negative outcomes that sometimes are associated with those grades. Grades also provide information to students for self-evaluation, for analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and for creating a general impression of academic promise, all of which may enter into educational planning. Finally, grades are used to communicate students’ performance levels to others who want to know about past achievement or want to forecast future academic success. Teachers in subsequent classes use grades in these ways.

The most recognized purpose of grades, however, is to communicate the achievement status of students to their parents. The grade, then, symbolizes the extent to which a student has attained the important instructional goals of the reporting period for which the grade is assigned.

—Dan L. Miller


The curve referred to in the name of this method is the normal, bell-shaped curve that is often used to describe the achievements of individuals in a large heterogeneous group. The idea behind this method is that the grades in a class should follow a normal distribution, or one nearly like it. Under this assumption, the teacher determines the percentage of students who should be assigned each grade symbol so that the distribution is normal in appearance. For example, the teacher may decide that the percentages of A through F grades in the class should be distributed as follows:

6% of the students will receive an A

22% of the students will receive an B

44% of the students will receive an C

22% of the students will receive an D

6% of the students will receive an F

Grading on the curve is a simple method to use, but it has serious drawbacks. The fixed percentages are nearly always determined arbitrarily, and the percentages do not account for the possibility that some classes are superior and others are inferior relative to the phantom ‘typical’ group the percentages are intended to represent.

Grading on a curve also takes all incentive away from lower-performing students. They soon realize that their grades have little to do with how well they master course content. The must ‘beat’ higher-performing students to succeed. No matter how hard they work, their performance will always be evaluated relative to that of higher-performing students.

The use of the normal curve to measure student achievement in a single classroom is simply inappropriate and is not to be used.

—Dan L. Miller


At-risk students have established patterns of failure in school. They generally have a low level of self-esteem and very little confidence in their ability to succeed in school. They also often engage in negative social behaviors. Students who have a better understanding of themselves, feel confident in their abilities, and can make decisions that benefit them in a positive way will have a better chance of succeeding in school. Therefore, a part of the At-Risk Program is a component to address family and peers, self-discipline, resolving conflicts, and self-respect. The classroom teacher working collaboratively with the school counselor will carry out a specific self-esteem program. Together they will plan and deliver a program intended to address the self-esteem needs of the at-risk children in the program.

There are few characteristics which will have as significant an impact on whether a student fails or succeeds in school as how the student feels about himself or herself. By helping the at-risk student feel better about himself or herself the teacher can strengthen the child’s belief that he or she can succeed, which in turn should lead to better performance in all areas of the child’s life, including school. Following are strategies and activities which will facilitate the building of self esteem in children:

Plan for success. Put students in situations where success is probable. When it is obvious that a learning goal is too difficult, break the process into a series of smaller, simpler steps.

Take time to meet with the ‘at-risk’ student on a daily basis to discuss the successes of the day. Discuss why the success took place, how it made him or her feel, and how it could be duplicated.

Provide a classroom environment which is warm and supportive. In such an environment, failure is not feared but considered a part of the learning process.

Accept all students and let them know you care about them. Students will feel important when teachers demonstrate through their actions that they care.

Accentuate the positive. Give students praise when it is earned. Help the student recognize and appreciate accomplishments. Draw attention to the student’s strengths and how these strengths are being utilized. Contact parents when the student is doing well.

Have reasonable goals and expectations for achievement within the classroom. Anxiety and frustration are reduced when expectations are clearly stated and are within the reach of the student’s ability.

Choose a ‘Student of the Week.’ Give each child an opportunity to discuss what it is they feel good about. The student may choose to display schoolwork, family photos, creative work, certificates, etc.

Have students keep a journal of ‘positive thoughts’ that relate to school, their families, outside activities, etc.

Declare an ‘I’m Special Day’ when students can focus on and explore the attributes that make them unique.

Realize that you will affect your pupils’ self concept each and every day. HOW you affect their self concept is your choice.

—Dan L. Miller


Despite less access to technology overall, educators in high-poverty schools are more likely to have experienced several key benefits from educational technology: including improved student achievement, earlier indicators of student learning gaps, and improved teacher/student connections.

94% of educators agree that the most important thing in the learning landscape is the human connection a teacher makes with a student.

96% of educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice.

96% of educators have seen benefits from the use of educational technology


Teacher salaries (69%)

Lack of funding (60%)

Keeping school safe from intruders (42%)


Informal discussions with colleagues (76%)

Self-guided research (64%)

Formal PD provided by the school or district (51%)

Social media/online communities to support PLNs 939%)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Educator Confidence Report [2018-2019]

‘Why were teachers colleges called ‘normal schools’?’ Thank France; the phrase is derived from ‘ećole normale,’ which was used for institutions designed to instill standards of pedagogy and curriculum in teachers-to-be.… America’s first state-sponsored normal school opened in Massachusetts in 1839, at the urging of public-education champion Horace Mann; it is now Framingham State University. More arose through the mid-19th century, in parallel with the development of public schools, then called ‘common schools.’ By the 1930s, however, most normal school were calling themselves ‘teachers colleges.’

—Anna Diamond

I am 5. I am a risk taker and mess maker. I am a confident doer of exciting things. I’m not built for desk sitting. My brain craves action. I’m not as grown up as some people think. I still need to play, move and explore. Don’t rush my Childhood!

—Internet Meme

Charlie Brown: I thought the point of life was to be happy, help others and make the world a better place.

Schroeder: I guess you’re right, but we all can’t become teachers.

—Charles Schultz

How can writing be used to solve a behavior problem, as in the case of a student who comes late to class?

Although students are often late for ‘no good reason,’ sometimes those reasons are important to them. Teachers who automatically assign detention are not willing to listen to what a student might have to say.

If right before class Janie’s boyfriend announces that he is breaking up with her, it’s not hard to figure out why, when she is late, she becomes angry at the teacher who says, ‘Report to me after school.’ If, however, the teacher hands Janie a piece of paper and says in a calm and neutral voice, ‘Please write and tell me why you’re late,’ Janie has a chance to explain without wasting classtime.

Writing doesn’t replace punishment in this situation—although ‘punishment’ might not be called for—but it allows the student a chance to reflect on the situation and to cool down. The teacher later reads what the student wrote and can then make a decision about the next step.

Later by talking to the student privately, person-to-person, not authority-to-subordinate, the teacher can enlist the student’s help in solving the problem so detention isn’t even necessary.

The student is not put into a power struggle with the teacher where both would end up losing. The teacher treats the student as a person worthy of consideration. Being teated as someone whose opinions count gives the student a sense of control in the situation. The teacher has not given up any authority by allowing the student to explain, but the teacher’s willingness to listen prevents the student from feeling like a victim.

The amazing thing about using writing to communicate is that often when students have ‘no good excuse’ for being late, not doing their homework, or whatever, they actually follow up their written explanation with a commitment to take care of the problem….Teachers have fewer problems to deal with in the classroom if they work with students to find solutions rather than trying to maintain control by punishing students to show them who’s boss….If penalties or consequences are called for, the teacher can often get students to accept responsibility of the situation when they take time to listen to the student’s view either on paper or in person and to explain their own view in a natural conversational tone.

Writing itself isn’t the key, but writing offers the busy teacher a means of giving the student an opportunity to talk on paper, buying some time to consider the situation, and scheduling a private conference with the student as a follow-up, if necessary. Such a meeting may have to be held after school, but it serves a different purpose than that of detention.

—Anne Wescott Dodd

When teachers use writing as a means of communication, students almost automatically become more motivated to do assignments and get involved in class activities. They come to believe that the teacher values them and their opinions. Because they have a vehicle for individually communicating with the teacher, they aren’t just squares on a seating chart or lines in the gradebook. The teacher cares, so they begin to care more about doing well in that class. It happens as long as students are not punished or penalized for what they write.

—Anne Wescott Dodd

Bibliotherapy as a preventive approach is concerned with the technique in which a teacher attempts to solve a child’s problem by brining him a similar experience vicariously through books. Through recognition of the problem and its solution in literature, the individual gains insight into his own problems and presumably is then able to take a step toward solving it.

The theory of preventive bibliotherapy can be expressed in three points.

All children and adolescents face certain types of problems.

By reading and developing a sane attitude, youngsters are better prepared to make a satisfactory adjustment when similar problems arise.

A little vicarious injection of experience with a problem in a book is to prevent a bad case of this same kind of experience in the young readers’ development.

—Dr. William S. O’Bruba and Dr. Donald A. Camplese

If we can give children and young people proper principles of conduct, we can alter their behavior and make it more desirable. One of the best ways of implanting desirable ideas is gained from books. Children need a discussion of books to see the application of the situation in these books to their own problems….It must be understood that in using bibliotherapy as another way of encouraging children’s use of books in influencing behavior, that most children in the classroom are not seriously maladjusted nor is the teacher a qualified therapist. But it may serve as another technique of getting close to a child, helping him to achieve a greater degree of maturity, along with developing the ability to verbalize his concerns.

—Dr. Thomas Verner Moore

Educators and librarians know that for a child to learn well, and to succeed in interpersonal relationships and handle crises in an acceptable manner, he or she must feel a sense of security and well-being. When children feel their world is crumbling around them, they hardly can be expected to function on a high level of emotional response. It is then that literature can give a child insight into his or her situation as well as possible alternatives for solving a personal problem. It is both helpful and rewarding when readers can actually ‘see’ themselves in a story or poem. Therefore, recognizing a child’s need is an important first step in selecting and suggesting materials for reading or listening, if that material is to help in a particular situation.

—Linda B. Hendrickson


Allowing a student with a hidden disability (ADHA, Anxiety, Dyslexia) to struggle academically or socially when all that is needed for success are appropriate accommodations and explicit instruction, is no different than failing to provide a ramp for a person in a wheelchair.


Kids without friends are, to use one teacher’s words, a living heartbreak. ‘Each year I have some children who just can’t seem to make friends. They’re sad, I’m sad, and I don’t know what to do about it.’

Even young children are able to feel what researchers term ‘the loneliness of isolation.’ And as Janis Bullock, professor of child development at Montana State University in Bozeman, notes, kids without friends often develop negative attitudes toward school. For some children—especially those who are rejected by their classmates day in and day out—school can be a miserable place.

‘No one knows how much inner turmoil kids without friends feel,’ says an elementary school guidance counselor. ‘To recognize kids with these inner problems, we need to look at their outer behavior. For instance, we need to take a second look at the little girl who cowers in a corner alone while her classmates work on a group project, and we need to think about the little boy who sits on the sidelines during recess. Maybe what these kids need most is a friend.

—Susan Black

It’s important for teachers to be alert not only to whether children have friends, but also to the quality of those friendships. Serious intervention in the case of troubled loners is a case for psychological professionals—acting in concert with the child’s family. But simply knowing the importance of friendship in a child’s development—and understanding the major components of friendship relationships—can be the first step in helping a child break out of the loneliness of isolation.

—Susan Black

Teachers don’t really get to know the real you. They spend all their time telling you what to expect that they don’t even take the time to know your personality….Most teachers seem as though they don’t care a thing about if you do well in school. They teach you the information you need to know  then if you have questions they say look over your notes and you’ll find the answer. Obviously I looked over my notes already and I still don’t know so in that way they are of no help . Some teacher’s care but others just don’t. I love teachers that care about everyone equally. Those are rare so when you get them treasure the moment.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

If we understand the signals they are giving us, middle school kids can be fun and adventurous. If we can find it in our hearts to overlook some of their quirky and mysterious behaviors, we can find them to be energetic and curious about how the world works around them. If we see the world as they view it, we can take their hand and guide them across the narrow bridges and frightening valleys they see sprawling before them. And finally, if we can reveal the patience to talk with them about the issues that confuse and bedevil them, we can find a world open for discussion and journey.  

—Dr. Kid Brain

Student interviews revealed that they [students] believed teachers cared about them if they laughed with them, trusted them, were honest, affectionate, and recognized them as individuals.

—Mary Poplin & Joseph Weeres

The key to being a good teacher is to know the kids. You have to know every single one and have a relationship with every single one. I think that one thing that really allows me to work hard is knowing that my teacher knows where I am in life at that moment. If they don’t know me, I will tend not to work as hard for them.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

What middle school teachers don’t get about their students is that we don’t like being treated like two year olds. We like to be treated like we are in the middle because that’s where we are—we are between children and teenagers. It embarrasses us when we are handled like kids.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

Teacher expectations of students play a powerful role in student learning and achievement. In middle schools, it seems clear…that we have yet to dismantle the ‘hormones with feet’ image of the young adolescent learner. As middle school educators endeavor to advance student learning and achievement and offer equally engaging learning to all young people, they will need to redefine the capacity of this age group, recognizing that puberty does not necessarily place young adolescent learners at intellectual peril.

—Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

It might be nice for them [teachers] to know that we are living human beings, we have feelings and we are people. Sometimes teachers think of you just as a student not a person, so they push you over your limits and sometimes they maybe might talk to you a little louder than they usually do if it is taking you a long time to answer a problem or you don’t understand. We are people too! We are not perfect. We can’t do everything perfectly the first time. If teachers understand this, it might make us feel more comfortable and we might do better in school.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

Teachers, teachers, teachers, when will they learn. I have the attention span of a raisin. I need to be kept busy with things that are fun. Teachers need to find out what interests kids and what stuff they like to do. So for a less whiny, annoyed, and temperamental class, make it fun.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

Eighth graders need a special form of teaching. We could never learn about a subject by reading a textbook. We need it explained and compared to life. It would help if the learning was fun.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

I think one of the most important things they should understand is that every single student has their own hopes and dreams. For some it may be to be on the honor roll all through high school, go to Harvard, and grow up to be a very ‘successful’ person. For others, it may just be not to flunk out of high school. You need to embrace everyone’s wants. That doesn’t mean that you should give more attention to those with higher hopes. Just work with each one and encourage them to do their best.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

The primary thing that teachers should know about their students is the attitude to address them in…letting the students do things on their own or in groups with minimal interference from the teacher is also preferred; unless (help) is asked for. This gives the students a sense of independence, and can build self-confidence. In conclusion, teachers should know just how far to get involved with students. If the teacher does this, they will be respected, admired and remembered by their students.

—Anonymous Student quoted by Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles


Know us as people and as learners.

Respect us as people/learners with important ideas and contributions.

Understand our developmental nature and associated challenges.

Know that development does not diminish us.

Find ways to make the learning engaging.

Teach us in different ways so we can all learn.

Listen to us.

Let us know you.

Be kind.

Be honest.

Be hopeful and encouraging.

Enjoy us!

— Nancy Doda & Trudy Knowles

For class discussions, we have a ball you throw to someone, and nobody talks if they don’t have the ball. It keeps everybody quiet, because you don’t want anybody talking when you have the ball.

—Middle School Student Amelia as quoted by Kathleen Cushman & Laura Rogers

If you work around at-risk teen students, actually tell them you love them and have faith in their success. No one tells them that. No one.  

—Ace Antonio Hall

When young people’s education is at stake, compromise is a crime.  

—Milan Kundera

What do students think about school? The picture from national surveys is not encouraging….10 percent of high school students are highly engaged and 15 percent are  disengaged. Those in between lack strong connections with teachers and find school work irrelevant or dull….two-thirds of students are bored in class every day, and 17 percent are bored in every class….just 45 percent of students believe teachers care if they are absent from school.

—Laura Pappano

Students’ decisions to drop out of school [are] not…a single momentous action but…the culmination of a long path of disengagement from school. Schools must stop looking at what kids are doing—the risk factors or attributes that make them likely to disengage—and look at what the school is doing. Does your school make kids feel anonymous? Impose excessively strict discipline? Teach courses that feel irrelevant to students? Fail to support students academically or socially in the classroom?

—Jeremy D. Finn

A colleague recently recounted an unusual sequence of events. Arriving early for a concert in order to get a good parking space, he found himself drawn into the conversation of a couple behind him. They were complaining about teachers’ complaints. After all, they said, teachers don’t work a full day, and they only work nine months a year. They should complain? The chair backs prevented these two people from seeing the two people in the row in front of my friend: two elementary school teachers grading papers.

—Gerald W. Bracey

The pressures upon youth are awesome. The consequences of these pressures have prompted rises in suicide, changes in sexual and adjustment patterns, and alterations in family and interpersonal relationships. Society has changed. The political and economic milieu has been irrevocably transformed. Unsurprisingly, these conditions have produced a new and perplexing world for our young people. Educational experience have reached a point where these also must be changed. Emphasis upon individual, personal, and social objectives is necessary to prevent an education for a one-dimension existence when the future will demand multiple abilities.

The schools must be places where identity, responsibility, and integrity are promoted. Experiences must include opportunities for adulthood and citizenship. Growing up is difficult. Many of us, if it is not too painful, remember it well. As educators, we can, if we will, help young people not only to survive but to enjoy and appreciate these golden, precious days. Perhaps this will include the richest rewards of teaching.

—J. Merrell Hansen

There was a danger in asking too much of a child, but the danger of asking too little was almost equal.  

—Robin Hobb

If you would only stop rating a child’s ability by your own; and try to find out just what ability a child has, our young folks throughout this big world would show a surprisingly willing disposition to try things which would bring your approbation. A child’s brain is an astonishing thing. It has, in its construction, an astounding capacity for absorbing what is brought to it; and not only to think about, but to find ways for improving it. It is today’s child who, tomorrow, will, you know, laugh at our ways of doing things.  

—Ernest Vincent Wright

Young bodies are like tender plants, which grow and become hardened to whatever shape you’ve trained them.  

—Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

When a teacher is willing to move a learning experience from the classroom to the library media center, good things happen: There are now two teachers inserted of one, an information-rich and technology-rich environment is available, and each learner can expect twice as much professional support.

—Connie Champlin and David Loertscher

Collaboration is the key to getting the most out of a school library. Teacher-librarians who plan and work closely with other teachers, integrating information skills and strategies with classroom instruction through flexible scheduling and innovative teaching approaches enhance student learning.

—Ken Haycock

Poetry teachers especially at the high school and undergraduate levels, should spend less time on analysis and more on performance. Poetry needs to be liberated from literary criticism. Poems should be memorized, recited, and performed. The sheer joy of the art must be emphasized. The pleasure of performance is what first attracts children to poetry, the sensual excitement of speaking and hearing the words of the poem. Performance was also the teaching technique that kept poetry vital for centuries. Maybe it also holds the key to poetry’s future.

—Mark Edmundson

I hear the word teacher and I start to get teary. The word ‘teacher’ is that thing that—for religious people—God and saints are.

—Stephen Sondheim

Tonight, she sat and watched her father correct papers until it was time for her to go to bed. The light of the study lamp circled his head with a crown of brightness and the vicious little red marks he made on the papers were the color of the blood that oozed out in a thin line the day she cut her finger with the bread knife.

—Sylvia Plath


Most in life do not create,

But teachers daily work to shape,

The youth—their hearts, their minds.

Nurturing their intellect one finds,

He’s helped them grasp a point that’s rare;

It’s common knowledge now they share.

The teacher revels just to hear, “That’s great!”

He did what few can do—CREATE.

—Dan L. Miller

Multiple studies have found that only about 20 percent of student outcomes can be attributed to schooling, whereas about 60 percent are explained by family circumstances—most significantly, income. Now consider that, nationwide, just over half of today’s public-school students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, up from 39 percent in 2000. Surely if American students are lagging in the literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills our modern economy demands, household income deserves most of the blame—not teachers or their unions.

—Nick Hanauer (2019)

Children need at least one person in their life who thinks the sun rises and sets on them, who delights in their existence and loves them unconditionally.

—Pamela Leo


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