Moore, C. (2010, September). Buckets and Fires. Retrieved January 16, 2019

When William Butler Yeats wrote this statement, he could never have predicted that his comment would be engraved on coffee cups, quote-a-day calendars, and hand-drawn posters. In fact, it seems to be the go-to quotation for reminding teachers about the importance of meaningful work. The implication is that great teachers do not deposit knowledge into students, but elicit the understanding students already possess. When I hear this adage, I think about authentic assessment, project-based learning, and student-led assemblies. I drool. I’ve come to realize, however, that this quotation doesn’t capture the complete definition of meaningful work. I would delete one word and change one conjunction: Education is the filling of a bucket and the lighting of a fire. Truly meaningful work both gives students new knowledge and draws on the wisdom students already possess.

Best Practices