A Little Educational Levity

By Bill Henk – It’s been a tough week, loyal blog readers, and I’m heading out of town in the wee hours tomorrow morning.  That’s my excuse for the potentially lame, hastily written post that follows.

But I’m going to run with it anyway.  Why? Because failing to honor commitments really bothers me (in this case my Thursday Marquette Educator post), and I didn’t want my deadline to come and go without me delivering at least something.

In my defense, a few days ago I started out with the best of intentions.  I worked in earnest on a pretty heady piece about the state of American education that I still plan to complete and post at some point.  But given all the distractions, setbacks, diversions, etc. that I experienced this week, I eventually had to concede that my cerebral post “ain’t gonna happen.” (Plus, it was more than a little depressing)

So I’m going with Plan B — a much lighter piece that I had started even earlier and hadn’t completed either.  The bottom line is that I picked the easier one to finish as a matter of necessity.

In short, I’m just going to recount the funniest educational quotes I’ve encountered, and hope you appreciate them on some level.  I’ll start with the most frequently cited ones, neither of which I think is especially funny, and neither do most teachers:

  • The three best reasons to teach are June, July, and August.
  • Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. ~ George Bernard Shaw (the actual quote is different, but the meaning is the same, and this version has been popularized)

As if that last one wasn’t bad enough, here’s one that really hits home with this teacher educator:

  • Those that can, do, Those that can’t, teach.   And those that can’t teach, teach teachers.

Woody Allen added his comedic touch to the original with:

  •  Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym

Another great American humorist, Mark Twain, had some good ones, too:

  • I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
  • In the first place God made idiots; that was for practice; then he made school boards.

And now I’ll just end with some miscellaneous quotes to take us home:

  • Teachers are the only professionals who have to respond to bells every forty-five minutes and come out fighting. ~ Frank McCourt
  • As long as teachers give tests there will always be prayer in schools. ~ Unknown
  • For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty people who don’t want to learn much. ~ W. C. Stellar
  • If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. ~ Edgar W. Howe
  • Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken. ~Bill Dodds
  • Education is a progressive discovery of your own ignorance. ~ Will Durant
  • I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ~Lily Tomlin as “Edith Ann”
  • We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” ~Phyllis Diller
  • A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep. ~W.H. Auden
  • An encyclopedia is a system for collecting dust in alphabetical order. ~ Mike Barfield
  • A lecture is a process by which the notes of the professor become the notes of the students without passing through the minds of either. ~
    RK Rathbun
  • My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary section. ~ Norm Crosby

And my favorite educationquote comes from Berkeley Dean David Pearson.  It’s little known, but special to me, because I heard him give it in person in one of his speeches:

  • Elementary teachers love their children; Secondary teachers love their subjects; College professors love themselves.

I’ve got an Amtrak train to catch, so until next week….

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