Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"For children, learning is never without emotional overtones. Whenever a teacher ignores the emotions and resorts to logical explanations, learning limps to a halt." - Haim Ginott, fully Haim G. Ginott, orignially Ginzburg

"The highest function today of the teacher consists not so much in imparting knowledge as in stimulating the pupil in its love and pursuit... To know how to suggest is the art of teaching. " - Henri Frédéric Amiel

"A teacher affects eternity he can never tell, where his influence stops. " - Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

"A historian without any theological bias whatever… cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth. " - H. G. Wells, fully Herbert George Wells

"All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"When the teacher regards each student as a unique individual and therefore not to be compared with any other, he is then not concerned with system or method. His sole concern is with `helping' the student to understand the conditioning influences about him and within himself, so that he can face intelligently without fear, the complex process of living and not add more problems to the already existing mess." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"The good teacher is one who can construct exercises (or, better, provide experiences) that cry for representation in the manner that the one shoe dropped on the floor above cries to have the second one drop." - Jerome Bruner, fully Jerome Seymour Bruner

"Within even the most social group there are many relations that are not as yet social. A large number of human relationships in any social group are still upon the machine-like plane. Individuals use one another so as to get desired results, without reference to the emotional and intellectual disposition and consent of those used. Such uses express physical superiority of position, skill, technical ability, and command of tools, mechanical or fiscal. So far as the relations of parent and child, teacher and pupil, employer and employee, governor and governed, remain upon this level, they form no true social group, no matter how closely their respective activities touch one another. Giving and taking of orders modifies actions and results, but does not of itself effect a sharing of purposes, a communication of interests." - John Dewey

"The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners." - John Holt, fully John Caldwell Holt

"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, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"I believe it’s impossible to claim you have taught, when there are students who have not learned. With that commitment, from my first year as an English teacher until my last as UCLA basketball teacher/coach, I was determined to make the effort to become the best teacher I could possibly be, not for my sake, but for all those who were placed under my supervision." - John Wooden, fully John Robert Wooden

"By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers - backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. - has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled." - John Taylor Gatto

"In the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding and cooperation. At the very heart of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession." - Joy Elmer Morgan

"Experience is the teacher of all things. " - Julius Caesar, fully Gaius Julius Caesar

"What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches." - Karl Menninger, fully Karl Augustus Menninger

"There are four major stages of spiritual unfolding: belief, faith, direct experience, and permanent adaptation: you can believe in Spirit, you can have faith in Spirit, you can directly experience Spirit, you can become Spirit… Meditation is not primarily uncovering the repressed unconscious, but allowing the emergence of higher domains--which usually leaves the lower, repressed domains still lower, and still repressed… Well, the point, of course, is to take up integral practice as the only sound and balanced way to proceed…If you are interested in genuine transformative spirituality, find an authentic spiritual teacher and begin practice. Without practice, you will never move beyond the phases of belief, faith, and random peak experiences. You will never evolve into plateau experiences, nor from there into permanent adaptation. You will remain, at best, a brief visitor in the territory of your own higher estate, a tourist of you own true Self." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"Why not whip the teacher when the student misbehaves?" -

"Too many kids struggle and fail needlessly simply because the way in which they learn is incompatible with the way they’re being taught. Schools are filled with kids who give up on themselves, are convinced they’re "losers", and conclude they’re just dumb. It’s tragic. It’s also painful—painful for the student, teacher and parent who may be unaware that the "wiring" of that child’s brain simply is not in synch with the demands and expectations of the situations at hand. " - Mel Levine, formally Melvin D Levine

"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework." - Lily Tomlin, fully Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin

"Actually, all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child’s coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself." - Louis L'Amour, fully Louis Dearborn L'Amour

"The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit." - Maria Montessori

"And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child." - Maria Montessori

"Pain is the great teacher of mankind. Beneath its breath souls develop." - Maria Von Ebner-Eschenbach, or Marie von Ebner-Eschenbachová, Marie Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach

"A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions." - Martin Henry Fischer

"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, born Marva Delores Nettles

"I'm 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, born Marva Delores Nettles

"I read of a Buddhist teacher who developed Alzheimer's. He had retired from teaching because his memory was unreliable, but he made one exception for a reunion of his former students. When he walked onto the stage, he forgot everything, even where he was and why. However, he was a skilled Buddhist and he simply began sharing his feelings with the crowd. He said, "I am anxious. I feel stupid. I feel scared and dumb. I am worried that I am wasting everyone's time. I am fearful. I am embarrassing myself." After a few minutes of this, he remembered his talk and proceeded without apology. The students were deeply moved, not only by his wise teachings, but also by how he handled his failings. " - Mary Pipher, aka Mary Elizabeth Pipher or Mary Bray Pipher

"The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say," - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"America must be the teacher of democracy, not the advertiser of the consumer society. It is unrealistic for the rest of the world to reach the American living standard." - Mikhail Gorbachev, fully Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev

"A lecture has been well described as the process whereby the notes of the teacher become the notes of the student without passing through the mind of either." - Mortimer J. Adler, fully Mortimer Jerome Adler

"If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself. In this respect a book is like nature or the world. When you question it, it answers you only to the extent that you do the work of thinking an analysis yourself." - Mortimer J. Adler, fully Mortimer Jerome Adler

"There is no sense in seeking many proofs for each point, but rather cogent and lucid ones. The teacher should rather touch upon each point just enough to penetrate the intellect of his listener with persuasive arguments that cannot easily be refuted. Most important of all is for him to show himself to act consistently with the wise words he speaks." - Musonius, fully Gaius Musonnius Rufus NULL

"Our first teacher is our own heart. - Cheyenne" -

"In an attempt to instill students with these qualities and behaviors, a teacher adhering to the inquiry method in pedagogy must behave very differently from a traditional teacher. Postman and Weingartner suggest that inquiry teachers have the following characteristics : They avoid telling students what they "ought to know". They talk to students mostly by questioning, and especially by asking divergent questions. They do not accept short, simple answers to questions. They encourage students to interact directly with one another, and avoid judging what is said in student interactions. They do not summarize students' discussion. They do not plan the exact direction of their lessons in advance, and allow it to develop in response to students' interests. Their lessons pose problems to students. They gauge their success by change in students' inquiry behaviors (with the above characteristics of "good learners" as a goal)." - Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

"I have been told by the third grade teacher that my daughter Poppet is reading at middle school level. Yet if I leave Poppet a note in block letters telling her to feed the dogs I will come home to find the dogs have been ... given a swim in the above-ground pool, dressed in tutus, provided with hair weaves. What I will not find is that the dogs have been fed. 'I thought you wanted me to free the dogs,' says Poppet whose school district is not spending quite what D.C.'s is, thanks to voter rejection of the last school bond referendum." - P. J. O'Rourke

"Suffering is a good teacher to those who are quick and willing to learn from it. But it becomes a tyrant to those who resist and resent." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires… A teacher isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows… A disciple... can never imitate his guide's steps. You have your own way of living your life, of dealing with problems, and of winning. Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself. " - Paulo Coelho

"Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own… Everyone when they are young knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible… Everything depends on which path you take… Everything in life has its price… Everyone's looking for the perfect teacher, but although their teachings might be divine, teachers are all too human, and that's something people find all too hard to accept. Don't confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself. The Tradition is linked to our encounter with the forces of life and not with the people who bring this about. But we are weak: we ask the Mother to send us guides, and all she sends are signs to the road we need to follow… Everything has changed; it's just that we can't see it… Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive... and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us.... we continue to change as change is the nature of man. No one is just this way. That is who they are today - it will not be who they are tomorrow." - Paulo Coelho

"Sometimes I go days or weeks without hearing a single kind word from anyone. These are difficult times, then it seems that human goodness is gone and life seems just existence. The teacher said: We need to explore their own fireplace. We need to add more fuel to try to illuminate the dark room that has become our lives. When we hear that our fire and burning wood boom throws sparks when read stories passionately told, us back hope. If we are able to love us and we can love. This is only a matter of time… Sometimes the best of God’s gifts arrive by the shattering of all the window panes. " - Paulo Coelho

"There is only one difference between teacher and disciple: the former is slightly less afraid than the latter. " - Paulo Coelho

"The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is him/herself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow." - Paulo Freire

"Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we would like to dream about. The off-center, in between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don't get caught, and in which we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit." - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, ‘May I have permission to go into battle with you?’ Fear said, ‘Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.’ Then the young warrior said, ‘How can I defeat you?’ Fear replied, ‘My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.’ In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. " - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen" - Philip Wylie, fully Philip Gordon Wylie

"There is no greater teacher of morals than love itself, for the first lessonthat one learns from love is: I am not, you are….When the thought of self is removed then every action, every deed that one performs in life,becomes a virtue. " - Inayat Khan, aka Hazrat Inayat Khan, fully Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Rabbi Elazar ben Shammua used to say: “Let the honor of your student be as precious to you as your own; and the honor of your colleague as the respect due your teacher; and the respect towards your teacher as your reverence for G-d.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Joshua ben Perachyah said: “Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend; and judge every man towards merit.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Hillel taught: “A person who is [too] shy [to ask questions] will never learn, and a teacher who is too strict cannot teach . . . and in a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Rabban Gamaliel said: “Provide yourself with a teacher and remove yourself from doubt, and do not accustom yourself to give tithes by estimation.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"I contemplate the sort of friend, the sort of man I am now without. He completed his sixty-seventh year, a reasonable age for the sturdiest of us; I acknowledge that. He escaped from an interminable illness; I acknowledge that. He died with his dear ones surviving him, and at a time of prosperity for the state, which was dearer to him than all else; that too I acknowledge. Yet I lament his death as though he were young and in glowing health. I lament it—you can consider me a weakling in this—on my own account, for I have lost the witness, guardian and teacher of my life." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL