Thanks, Teach!

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week through the wisdom of Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase.

Thanks, Teach!

Photo: Thank You, Teacher. Courtesy of Bunches and Bits / Flickr

Teacher Appreciation Week recognizes the people who have lent us their knowledge, patience, and encouragement and helped mold us into who we are today. Author Bel Kaufman (1911-2014) would agree that the effect teachers have on the lives of students is immeasurable.

Three decades of experience as a high school teacher in New York City inspired Kaufman’s 1965 novel Up the Down Staircase, described by Life as “The most excellent and useful portrait of a[n] . . . American teacher’s life that we are likely to have for a long time.” Written as a collection of memos between teachers and the administration and students’ notes, Up the Down Staircase traces a young teacher’s efforts to motivate her students despite such challenges as a lack of resources and a stifling bureaucracy.

Read on for quotes that speak to the incredible impact of teachers and download Up the Down Staircase on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Bel Kaufman Up the Down Staircase

“Whether in 1964 or in any other year, good education means good teachers. ”

“The potential power of good teachers is awesome. Today our children need them more than ever.”

“What I really had in mind was to do a little teaching. ‘And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche’–like Chaucer’s Clerke of Oxenford, I had come eager to share all I know and feel; to imbue the young with a love for their language and literature; to instruct and to inspire.”

“And that’s it; that’s why I want to teach; that’s the one and only compensation: to make a permanent difference in the life of a child.”

“And we must teach–against all odds, against all obstacles, in the best sense of the word. ”

Related Articles