8 Favorite Teaching Quotes

I love collecting quotes on teaching and learning that helped shaped my teaching philosophy over the years. They resonate with me in various ways and inspire me as a new semester approaches. I thought I’d share some of these gems with you:

1.  “We teach what we most need to learn.” ~Parker Palmer, Educator and Activist

2. “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely. ~E.O. Wilson, Harvard Biology Professor

3. “His passion was in his oddly ragged eloquence and in the way he could take words you had heard all your life and make you hear them, and the holiness in them, as though for the first time. . . [He] was so aflame with his subject that you couldn’t listen to him without catching fire yourself.”   ~Frederick Buechner in The Longing for Home: Recollections and Reflections

4. “[Teaching’s] ultimate goal is to liberate persons to fulfill their potentialities for authenticity and creativity. It is guided by a vision that urges persons to interpret their lives, to relate to others, and to engage with the world in ways that they perceive to be ultimate.” ~ Rev. Roberta M. Nelson, DD

5.  Maria Harris once asked a class to answer the question “What is teaching?” in Haiku form.  One student’s response was:

We meet awkwardly

I invite you to walk.

I find you dancing.    ~Bill Maroon, 1987


6.  “What is great teaching? Love of subject; love of student.” Richard Wallace

7.  In an excerpt from this poem, “The Student,” Marianne Moore describes the college student mind:

“[He] is too reclusive for

some things to seem to touch

him; not because he

has no feeling but because he has so much.”


8.  “Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.” A.R. Ammons


Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you as a teacher or student?


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