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Reflecting on Teacher Appreciation Month

What it means to create lightbulb moments and lifelong learners

You’ve no doubt seen some variation of the quote “the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.” It’s been falsely attributed to everyone from Socrates to William Butler Yeats, although the folks at quote investigator make a compelling case that the sentiment actually originated with the philosopher Plutarch, who walked the earth sometime between 50 and 120 AD.

So, we know that for at least the last 2000+ years, humankind has theorized on the role educators play in sparking the imaginations of their students and keeping those fires fueled.

Earlier in May (in honor of Teacher Appreciation month), we asked members of DreamBox Nation and readers of the blog to tell us, among other things, what they loved most about teaching. You may be interested to learn that the majority of your responses were, in a word, Plutarchian. The metaphor may have evolved over millennia from fire to incandescent lighting, but the sentiment remains the same.

We received nearly a thousand responses from DreamBox teachers across the U.S. and Canada and the overwhelming consensus was that the best thing about teaching is seeing the light bulb go on in a child’s head and knowing you helped turn it on. These “lightbulb moments” are hard fought, well-earned, and the reward for going the extra mile day in and day out.

How you educate is constantly evolving, but why you educate will never change.

Getting your kids to make a connection that deepens their understanding is no easy task. Sometimes you feel as though you’ve exhausted every conceivable approach and you’re still not getting through. But, you persevere. You find and try another way. And, when it finally clicks for them—and you’re actually there to see it—it’s everything.

We at DreamBox want you to know that we appreciate your perseverance and the example you set for your students that lights the way for them. Because you keep trying, they keep trying. You show them that the prize is sometimes sweeter and the learning greater precisely because they struggled. These are life lessons that transcend everyday math problems and build confident lifelong learners and future leaders.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the DreamBox Teacher Appreciation Month Challenge. Your dedication, patience, and creativity never fail to inspire us. And, thank you to teachers everywhere for all you do every day to make things click. The world would be a cold, dark place without you. Thanks for making a difference.


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