Distinguished Thoughts on Teaching

We have gathered some wonderful thoughts about teaching from recipients of our Distinguished Teaching Award. Print these out on fancy paper and tape them to the wall of your office. It is always a good time to remind ourselves about one of the reasons we are here.

"My best hope for those I teach—those smart, hard-to-impress, always inquisitive undergraduates and our dedicated and brilliant graduate students is that they receive the academic and social scaffolding necessary to imagine themselves in a career that will make a mark on their worlds." (Glynda Hull, Education, 2003)

“A short philosophy of teaching might be, Love your subject and convey that love; all else is secondary.”  (J. David Jackson, Physics, 1986)

“There’s no room for complacency in teaching, and that’s one of the things that I love about it.”  (J. Keith Gilless, ESPM, 1988)

“As a teacher, I try to exemplify the qualities I seek to instill in my students--health, cheer, self-esteem, respect, compassion, and an awareness of the light in others.” (Sunni Bloland, Human Biodynamics, 1990)

“It pleases me greatly to learn that curmudgeons, too, may be eligible for consideration as Distinguished Teachers.”  (Frederick Crews, English, 1985)

“In spite of my deep devotion to my students, still they come second.  In all of my teaching the Earth--handling it gently--has always come first.”  (Arnold M. Schultz, ESPM, 1992)

“Four principles define my teaching: Caring--I never forget that my classroom is a community made up of individuals with different learning styles and personalities. Patience--this is the cornerstone of any dedicated teacher. Respect--every single student deserves to be treated with respect, whatever their learning style or their shortcomings. Energy and enthusiasm--I show my students that I love teaching and that there isn’t anywhere else that I’d rather be”.  (Seda Chavdarian, French, 2001)

“Sometimes it strikes me as amazing that this is actually part of a job; it is too much fun.  The gift of being a teacher on a campus like this one is something to relish and appreciate.”  (Robert C. Berring, Law, 1987)

“I look at the students and tell them what I know: what matters most in life is love. Love what you do. Love who you are. Love those around you. I don't really care if you wind up being an economist; I do care that you wind up doing something that you love.” (Martha Olney, Economics, 2003)

“My goal is to make my ex-students remain aware of the relevance of their literary studies. I warn them that King Lear’s ultimate value may be confirmed only on their deathbeds.  Such factors may delay the availability of adequate teaching evaluations.”  (Hugh Macrae Richmond, English, 1979)

“Provide a good example both in and outside of the classroom (i.e., refrain from the use of tobacco, alcohol, vulgarities, and so on).”  (Charles Keeney, Human Biodynamics, 1972)

"Why should students try hard, and then harder, if their teacher is not doing the same, with passion and (this is so important) pleasure? I take my work to be just a token of respect, both for who they now are and where they can go—which is always further." (Kevis Goodman English, 2005)

“The enduring ability of teachers, along with artists and writers, to disturb, disrupt, and inspire, even to change the course of history, is well-known.  That legacy, unlike many legacies, is well worth preserving.” (Leon Litwack, History, 1971)

“That, with my help, a sixteenth-century English poet can sing his verses to a twentieth-century Californian continually fills me with wonder.  There is for me, in such moments, a small, temporary victory over death.”  (Stephen Greenblatt, English, 1983)