My boss has this nice wooden sign in her office that says
“I Teach, what’s your superpower.”
As a comic book buff, I smile at that every time I am in her office. As a TOSA I see many teachers with different superpowers every week. Some can coax an angry child out from under a desk, other can break down multi-layered math, or help a struggling writer find their voice. I know we live in a world where the attention is all about the individual, the singular hero; but I am an ensemble guy. I don’t know what it says about my personality but I have always been a fan of supporting characters and secondary heroes, the ones that lacked the glory but made the adventure possible. For me, Robin Williams supporting character in Good Will Hunting is the reason that movie works. I also believe that Denzel’s supporting work is the best part of Glory. I like the dialogue, the interaction, and connections that happen when complex characters share pieces of their world, whether it is real or imagined. As a young comic book reader, I liked X-Men, Avengers, and The Fantastic Four;
teams of strong complete characters who together always made the story better. These characters were designed to be part of an ensemble. Each clearly defined and acknowledged for the powers and skills they have honed to superhuman levels.
There is an easy correlation to be made between an ensemble cast of heroes and a bevy of educators. Similarly, teachers are not genetically designed to be singular heroes like Superman or Ironman. We are work in concert with our team, and the student, and our school or our own learning networks to change the lives of twenty or thirty kids at a time.
There is a more subtitle context in ensemble hero stories. One that has more value than a good analogy. It is simply the idea that Group work expands the known universe.
Obviously working in teams or groups allows us to take on bigger challenges. However, it also exposes us to other methods.
Marvel has masterfully harvested that same subtitle energy from their Cinematic Universe. Each gathering of heroes is an opportunity to meet new heroes. In order for Marvels biggest blockbuster to work, they had to develop a storyline for each of the characters. Which leads me to the question, could school district get more out of their collection of superhero teachers by following the Marvel formula?
Can we find a way to bring together disparate groups of talented educators to solve large-scale problems? If we did so, would that ultimately lead to a deeper and stronger cast of heroic pedagogists.