Parker Palmer's book The Courage to Teach brims over with spiritual insights into the mystery and the magnificence of knowing, teaching, and learning. Here are a few gems from the text:

  • "Teachers must be better compensated, freed from bureaucratic harassment, given a role in academic governance, and provided with the best possible methods and materials. But none of that will transform education if we fail to cherish—and challenge—the human heart that is the source of good teaching."
  • "The courage to teach is the courage to keep one's heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living requires."
  • "Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching's great rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old empower the young with their experience and the young empower the old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they touch and turn."
  • "If we embrace the promise of diversity, of creative conflict, and of 'losing' in order to 'win,' we still face one final fear-the fear that a live encounter with otherness will challenge or even compel us to change our lives. This is not paranoia: the world is really out to get us. Otherness, taken seriously, always invites transformation, calling us not only to new facts and values but also to new ways of living our lives-and that is the most daunting threat of all."
  • "Good teaching is an act of hospitality toward the young, and hospitality is always an act that benefits the host even more than the guest."
  • "To become a better teacher, I must nurture a sense of self that both does and does not depend on the responses of others-and that is a true paradox. To learn that lesson well, I must take a solitary journey into my own nature and seek the help of others in seeing myself as I am—another of the many paradoxes that abound on the inner terrain."

More Quotes on Teaching