But in all he does the educator should remember that his aim is not to 'put into the mind knowledge that was not there before' - though he may do that within limits - but to turn the mind's eye to the light so that it can see for itself; his business, in other words, is not to stick thoughts into his pupils' heads but to make them think for themselves. This is perhaps the best-known passage on education in The Republic, because of the importance and truth of the principle which it states.
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever
causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would
be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and
to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Let's talk about students. They are why we are here. True, the university has other purposes. We do essential research, advance the cause of knowledge, promote the search for truth, and often defend and protect freedom. But we are here because we educate students. . . . We are not here to cater to, to pamper, or to indulge students. We are here to be exacting but sympathetic taskmasters with an insistence on the highest standards of excellence and honor. We do not take lightly our responsibility to make a significant difference in the lives of our students, and through our students, a difference in society.
Terry Sanford, President, Duke
University, at the October 1982 annual meeting of the faculty.
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world
may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded which he cannot do never
does all he can.
John Stuart Mill
It is clear then that we are not to educate the young with a view to
their amusement. Learning brings pain, and while children are learning
they are not playing.
Blame the mothers and fathers and lawmakers and politicians and judges
and TV programmers and sports heroes if you want to know why the young
aren't civilized. If they're undisciplined and don't have any work
ethic, blame the ones who were supposed to teach them.
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. Unknown
A young teacher was having to contend with a very unruly class. In despair he exclaimed "I don't know what to do with you boys." A chubby lad in the back replied "Please, sir, teach us." His name was Winston Churchill.
Do not seek to do as little as you can to get by, but seek to do as
much as you can to excel. Do not seek to do as poorly as you can,
but seek to do as well as you can. Be all you can be, morally, ethically,
spiritually, academically, and professionally. Work hard. Contribute
more than you take. When duty calls, go. When tempted to do
wrong, refuse; ask yourself what the world would be like if everyone behaved
that way; ask yourself if you would like to be treated that way.
Leave a good mark on the world. Make the world a better place
for your having been here, not to earn or receive praise but because it
is the right thing to do. When you approach the sunset of your
life, you will be glad you did.
Winfield H. Rose