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Teachers or schoolteachers are people who provide education for pupils (children) and students (adults). The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education.


  • A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
    • Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, Ch. 20, "Failure".
  • O ye! who teach the ingenious youth of nations,
    Holland, France, England, Germany or Spain,
    I pray ye flog them upon all occasions,
    It mends their morals, never mind the pain.
  • 'Tis pleasing to be school'd in a strange tongue
    By female lips and eyes—that is, I mean,
    When both the teacher and the taught are young,
    As was the case, at least, where I have been;
    They smile so when one's right; and when one's wrong
    They smile still more.
  • Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
    • John Cotton Dana. In 1912 Dana, a Newark, New Jersey, librarian, was asked to supply a Latin quotation suitable for inscription on a new building at Newark State College (now Kean College of New Jersey), Union, New Jersey. Unable to find an appropriate quotation, Dana composed what became the college motto. The New York Times Book Review, March 5, 1967, p. 55.
  • The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards; and curiosity itself can be vivid and wholesome only in proportion as the mind is contented and happy.
    • Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (vol. 1 of The Works of Anatole France), trans. Lafcadio Hearn, part 2, chapter 4, June 6, 1860, p. 198 (1924).
  • Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
    At all his jokes, for many a joke had he:
    Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
    Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
  • Daily contact with some teachers is itself all-sided ethical education for the child without a spoken precept. Here, too, the real advantage of male over female teachers,especially for boys, is seen in their superior physical strength,which often, if highly estimated, gives real dignity and commands real respect, and especially in the unquestionably greater uniformity of their moods and their discipline.
    • Stanley Hall, Youth: it's education, regimen and hygiene (available at gutenberg.org).
  • If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract - teach him to deduct.
  • This fallacy [appeal to authority] is not in itself an error; it is impossible to learn much in today's world without letting somebody else crunch the numbers and offer us explanations. And teachers are sources of necessary information. But how we choose our "authorities" and place a value on such information, is just another skill rarely taught in our education systems. It's little wonder that to most folk, sound bites and talking heads are enough to count as experts. […] Teaching is reinforcing the appeal to authority, where anybody who seems more intelligent than you must ultimately be right. […] We educators must simply role-model critical thinking. […] Educators themselves have to be prepared to show that "evidence" and "answers" are two separate things by firmly believing that, themselves.
    • Mike McRae, Australian teacher and guest columnist, "Educating Future Critical Thinkers", Swift, 31 March 2006.
  • The very corner-stone of an education intended to form great minds, must be the recognition of the principle, that the object is to call forth the greatest possible quantity of intellectual power, and to inspire the intensest love of truth: and this without a particle of regard to the results to which the exercise of that power may lead, even though it should conduct the pupil to opinions diametrically opposite to those of his teachers. We say this, not because we think opinions unimportant, but because of the immense importance which we attach to them; for in proportion to the degree of intellectual power and love of truth which we succeed in creating, is the certainty that (whatever may happen in any one particular instance) in the aggregate of instances true opinions will be the result; and intellectual power and practical love of truth are alike impossible where the reasoner is shown his conclusions, and informed beforehand that he is expected to arrive at them.
  • The schoolmaster is the person who builds up the intelligence of the pupil; the intelligence of the pupil increases in direct proportion to the efforts of the teacher; in other words, he knows just what the master has made him know and understands neither more nor less than the master has made him understand. When an inspector visits a school and questions the pupils he turns to the master, and if he is satisfied says: "Well done, teacher!" For the result is indubitably the work of the master; the discipline by which he has fixed the attention of his pupils, even to the psychical mechanism which has guided him in his teaching, all is due to him. God enters the school as a symbol in the crucifix, but the creator is the teacher.
    • Maria Montessori, Spontaneous Activity in Education (available at gutenberg.org).
  • "To make oneself interesting artificially," that is, interesting to those who have no interest in us, is indeed a very difficult task; and to arrest the attention hour after hour, and year after year, not of one, but of a multitude of persons who have nothing in common with us, not even years, is indeed a superhuman undertaking. Yet this is the task of the teacher, or, as he would say, his "art": to make this assembly of children whom he has reduced to immobility by discipline follow him with their minds, understand what he says, and learn; an internal action, which he cannot govern, as he governs the position of their bodies, but which he must win by making himself interesting, and by maintaining this interest.
    • Maria Montessori, Spontaneous Activity in Education (available at gutenberg.org).
  • For the life of me I cannot fathom why we expect so much from teachers and provide them so little in return. In 1940, the average pay of a male teacher was actually 3.6 percent more than what other college-educated men earned. Today it is 60 percent lower. Women teachers now earn 16 percent less than other college-educated women. This bewilders me. [...] There was no Plato without Socrates, and no John Coltrane without Miles Davis.
    • Bill Moyers, "America 101", speech at the fiftieth anniversary of the Council of Great City Schools, 27 October 2006, Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 237.
  • Ethics could teach us only those purposes and ideals. If the teachers seeks insight into the means by which the aim can be reached, into the facts by which the child can be molded, his way must lead from ethics to psychology. (...) Water flows downhill, anyhow, but to bring the water uphill hydraulic forces are indeed necessary. To overcome nature and instead to prepare for a life of ideals, to inhibit personal desires and instead to learn to serve the higher purposes indeed demands most serious and most systematic efforts. It is the teachers' task to make these efforts with all his best knowledge of mind and body, of social and of cultural values.
    • Hugo Munsterberg, Psychology and the Teacher, 1909 (new edition, 2006), p64-65.
  • A good teacher does not draw out; he gives out, and what he gives out is love. And by love I mean approval, or if you like, friendliness, good nature. The good teacher not only understands the child: he approves of the child.
  • Since human beings are highly adaptable it may be possible for an individual with any sort of competence to learn, in the end, according to any teaching strategy. But the experiments show, very clearly indeed, that the rate, quality and durability of learning is crucially dependent upon whether or not the teaching strategy is of a sort that suits the individual
    • Gordon Pask (1972) Learning Strategies and Individual Competence p. 221.
  • In a democratic state the schoolmaster is afraid of his pupils and flatters them, and the pupils despise both schoolmaster and pedagogues. The young expect the same treatment as the old, and contradict them and quarrel with them. In fact, seniors have to flatter their juniors, in order not to be thought morose old dotards.
    • Plato, Republic - 563 BC.
  • What's all the noisy jargon of the schools?
  • To dazzle let the vain design,
    To raise the thought and touch the heart, be thine!
  • It is always the teacher who must learn the most … or else nothing real has happened in the exchange.
  • We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring i' the winter.
  • Schoolmasters will I keep within my house,
    Fit to instruct her youth. * * *
    * * * To cunning men
    I will be very kind, and liberal
    To mine own children in good bringing up.
  • He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
    • George Bernard Shaw, "Maxims for Revolutionists", appendix 2 to Man and Superman, in his Selected Plays with Prefaces (1948), vol. 3, p. 733.
  • The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 779-80.
  • We must not contradict, but instruct him that contradicts us; for a madman is not cured by another running mad also.
  • What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
    Your Latin names for horns and stools;
    If honest nature made you fools.
  • He is wise who can instruct us and assist us in the business of daily virtuous living.
  • You cannot teach old dogs new tricks.
    • Quoted by Jos. Chamberlain, at Greenock (Oct., 1903).
  • Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
    And, while they captivate, inform the mind.
  • The sounding jargon of the schools.
  • The twig is so easily bended
    I have banished the rule and the rod:
    I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
    They have taught me the goodness of God;
    My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
    Where I shut them for breaking a rule;
    My frown is sufficient correction;
    My love is the law of the school.
  • There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you, and you are he; there is a teaching; and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever quite lose the benefit.
  • Instruction does not prevent waste of time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all.
  • A boy is better unborn than untaught.
  • Grave is the Master's look; his forehead wears
    Thick rows of wrinkles, prints of worrying cares:
    Uneasy lies the heads of all that rule,
    His worst of all whose kingdom is a school.
    Supreme he sits; before the awful frown
    That binds his brows the boldest eye goes down;
    Not more submissive Israel heard and saw
    At Sinai's foot the Giver of the Law.
  • Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam.
    • Instruction enlarges the natural powers of the mind.
    • Horace, Carmina, IV. 4. 33.
  • Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice magister
    Ire viam qua monstret eques.
    • The trainer trains the docile horse to turn, with his sensitive neck, whichever way the rider indicates.
    • Horace, Epistles, Book I. 2. 64. ("Quam" for "qua in some texts).
  • If you be a lover of instruction, you will be well instructed.
    • Isocrates, Ad Dæmonicum. Inscribed in golden letters over his school, according to Roger Ascham, in his Schoolmaster.
  • Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee.
    • Job, XII. 8.
  • Whilst that the childe is young, let him be instructed in vertue and lytterature.
    • John Lyly, Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit, Of the Education of Youth.
  • Adde, quod ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
    Emollit mores, nec sinit esse fervos.
    • To be instructed in the arts, softens the manners and makes men gentle.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, II. 9. 47.
  • Fas est ab hoste doceri.
    • It is lawful to be taught by an enemy.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, IV. 428.
  • All jargon of the schools.
  • I am not a teacher: only a fellow-traveller of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead—ahead of myself as well as of you.
  • A little bench of heedless bishops here,
    And there a chancellor in embryo.
  • Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
    Appears a hero in our eyes;
    Each girl, when pleased with what is taught,
    Will have the teacher in her thought.
    * * * * *
    A blockhead with melodious voice,
    In boarding-schools may have his choice.
  • Domi habuit unde disceret.
    • He need not go away from home for instruction.
    • Terence, Adelphi, III. 3. 60.
  • Delightful task! to rear the tender Thought,
    To teach the young Idea how to shoot,
    To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind,
    To breathe the enlivening Spirit, and to fix
    The generous
    urpose in the glowing breast.

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 221.
  • A man's scholarship may be perfect, his character admirable, and yet, for want of the power to control subordinates and govern boys, he may be wholly unfit for a schoolmaster.
    • Sir R. Matins, V.-C, Hayman v. Governors of Rugby School (1874), L. R. 18 Eq. Ca. 85.
  • An original thinker and able teacher very soon attracts a large class and vice versa.
    • Lord Watson, Caird v. Sime (1887), 57 L. J. P. C. 9.
  • Let the soldier be abroad if he will, he can do nothing in this age. There is another personage, a personage less imposing in the eyes of some, perhaps insignificant. The schoolmaster is abroad, and I trust to him, armed with his primer, against the soldier in full military array.
    • Lord Brougham, speech (Jan. 28, 1828).
  • A master should be paid liberally, in order to secure a person properly qualified.
    • Sir John Romilly, Att.-Gen. v. Warden, &c. of Louth School (1852), 14 Beav. 206.

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