DreamBox Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Month
Igniting a lifelong passion for reading
Now that we’re several weeks into Teacher Appreciation Month, a common thread has emerged. It seems the very best teachers are those who find a way to bring their subjects to life. Whether it’s history, reading, or math, the educators we appreciate the most have a way of making everything they teach fun, real, and deeply relevant.
This week we hear from Brittany Bauer, a special education teacher and a VIP-level contributor to DreamBox Nation, a community for educators powered by DreamBox Learning.
Brittany’s story about the English Language Arts (ELA) teacher who ignited in her a passion for reading struck a familiar chord. It’s funny how a good story can transport you anywhere, sometimes all the way back to elementary school.
The teacher who influenced me most
Ms. Sopko, my fourth grade ELA teacher, made a lasting impression. I remember when our class read the Louis Sachar book, “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” We came to class one day to find the desks arranged in a spiral fashion. Ms. Sopko proceeded to act out parts of the book — a collection of tales about an imaginary school and a teacher who turns children into apples.
I was in awe then — and continue to be amazed — at how vividly she was able to bring the story to life. Ms. Sopko inspired in me a great love for reading. Some of my favorite books to this day were stories she introduced in her classroom. She made learning exciting, and really knew how to engage her students and hold their interest.
The reason I teach
My mom, and educators like Ms. Sopko, inspired me to become a teacher. They made learning fun; it was always something I looked forward to. They showed me how far an education could take me, and all the wonderful places I could explore (in and out of a book).
Today, I’m a special education teacher at a high-needs charter school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I enjoy finding new ways to help my students learn. I especially love that moment as a teacher when I find just the right learning path — when something just clicks and the light bulb goes on — WOW! Seeing a student struggle with something and then finally make sense of it is an amazing experience. Knowing I played role in helping them find their way is incredibly gratifying.