As an elementary teacher for a number of years, I always giggled when my students would see me at the grocery store. They would look at me with wide eyes of wonder, does she really shop? Does she eat the same food I eat? She has a life outside of my classroom. Is she human?
It’s not uncommon for students to put teachers in the same category as a superhero. Do superheroes have a ‘real’ life? If we didn’t know the story of Diana Prince or Clark Kent, we would ask the same thing. Although we know that Prince and Clark are only characters from comic books it made me wonder who do we want students to see us as when we work with them. We don’t mind being the superhero, but we also want to model what it is to be human.
Superheros are at the very heart of education because of that idea of growth. A few keywords that every superhero knows; Passion, Relationships, Curiosity and Ownership. This is what makes teacher leaders relentless in the desire for students to be successful.
Passion- Individuals who have been in the profession for a number of years, will tell you that this is a driving force behind their success. Passion that what you have started will continue to mature and grow. It’s a long term goal. For each student to be better once they leave your class. There is nothing better than hearing from previous students about how YOU impacted their life. That you helped form them and their future success. It makes the endless hours of planning, grading, and effort worth it.
Relationships- Relationships make the world a better place. Classrooms are about relationships. Llearning to create, lead, explore and most importantly learn from each other. The work is centered around working with others. Understanding how people relate, having patience, learning self control and different learning/working styles. Appreciating the diversity that each of us brings to the workforce. Skills around relationships make lifelong learning a possibility and a reality.
Curiosity- To see life in awe & wonder. Teachers see this everyday with students and have it themselves. They see the light blubs of new learning every time a student explores a new skill, a new concept. Curiosity keeps me moving forward in this field. Seeing the learning connect in a student’s eye, actions, conversation makes every long day, paperwork, assessment and technology challenge tolerable. I want them to GROW and when they GROW they gain so much more…
Ownership-Is there a difference in your behavior when you own something vs when you borrow something? There is such power in owning. You must own your own learning, keeping focused on a growth mindset! Only you can make your dreams come true and helping a student understand this concept at an early age makes life so much better. It takes a concerted effort to own something.
Regardless of my age I find myself still believing in the superhero mentality. Behind every superhero is a person who really just wants to make the world a better place. To leave behind a legacy that empowers others and mostly importantly encourages others to continue to GROW regardless of where they are on the journey. Any other Superheroes out there?