Six great quotes about teaching

QuoteThis time, I won’t comment on my list – I think these quotes about teaching stand well on their own. And I have NOT included that “I hear and I forget…etc etc” Chinese quote about teaching. It’s used far too much, please stop it!

1. “To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is nobler – and less trouble.” Mark Twain

2. “A poor surgeon hurts one person at a time. A poor teacher hurts thirty.” Ernest Boyer

3. “Of course, behaviorism works. So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviorist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public.”  W.H. Auden

4 To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching. George Bernard Shaw.

I don’t know the sources of the last two, but I really like them. I’ve included a horribly cynical one and an inspirational one to finish.

5. “Teachers are people who used to like children.”

6. “Teaching is the profession that creates all the others.”

One activity I like to do with quotes like these (not necessarily quotes about teaching, but quotes in general) is to give a class half of the quotes. Students then work in pairs to finish them however they fancy. We go through their quotes, and then go through the originals. This kind of thing would work well with quotes 2,4,5 and 6 above for example. In fact, if you’ve been to a workshop of mine you may have done this activity! Anyway, it’s a great five-minute filler or finisher.

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Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My father was a good teacher but not a disciplinarian; he didn’t have the terroristic instinct you need to keep a class quiet. (John Updike)

    • Great quote! I’d never heard that one before. Thanks Chaz!

  2. I think they are all great quotes. Actually, there is a myriad of amazing teaching quotes. I’d say this one is my favorite.

    “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Ward

  3. I do think you rather overlooked this one, Lindsay (for some odd reason): “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde

    Humbling or humiliating, it does serve to keep our activities in perspective, I feel!

    • Oh, I’m sure I’ve overlooked tons of good quotes. That’s the problem with my six things. Nice quote, thanks. Makes me wonder about a Six Things Worth Knowing that Can’t be Taught list. Hmmm…

  4. I love Leo’s quote choice and I’ll follow up with a fave extracted from the Tao, which isn’t, I hope, the one you hate ;-),

    What is a good person but a bad person’s teacher?
    What is a bad person but raw material for his teacher?
    If you fail to honor your teacher or fail to enjoy your student,
    you will become deluded no matter how smart you are.
    It is the secret of prime importance.

    Karenne
    p.s. HAPPY NEW YEAR, Lindsay!

    • Thanks Karenne, and Happy New year too! No, I don’t hate that one. Nice quote. I don’t hate the other either, it’s just overused I think.

  5. I really like this Chinese proverb: Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

    I write this on the board the first day of a new class – the students always agree!

    • Yes, indeed. Nice quote! Thanks for dropping by Jackie!


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