While Marvel Movies are chugging along with critical and commercial success, Marvel Comics have stumbled as of late. The most glaring issue is “event fatigue,” with too many major event stories tripping over each other in attempts to be bigger and bolder than ever before!
Here is a list of recent crossover mini-series/maxi-series. Keep in mind that each of these involve 4-12 special issues, in addition to numerous tie-in issues happening throughout regular series.
Realm of Kings (2010)
Second Coming (2010)
Age of X (2011)
Fear Itself (2011)
Avengers vs. X-Men (2012)
Age of Ultron (2013)
Battle of the Atom (2013)
Original Sin (2014)
Secret Wars (2015-16)
Avengers: Standoff! (2016)
Civil War II (2016)
Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy (2016-17)
Death of X (2016-17)
As one comic book store owner observes, “There are quite a few Marvel loyalists that have begun branching out and trying DC titles . . . possibly from Marvel event burnout.”
“Burnout” is a common issue faced by teachers, too, popping up in those loooong middle months or near the end of the semester. Teachers may find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, and missing a certain spark in the classroom.
Teacher burnout is frequently linked to stress, which can arise from many factors, summarized by Kyriacou (2001):
Teaching pupils who lack motivation;
Time pressures and workload;
Coping with change;
Being evaluated by others;
Dealings with colleagues;
Self-esteem and status;
Administration and management;
Role conflict and ambiguity;
Poor working conditions.
Stressors are specific to each individual teacher in his or her unique context. Likewise, successful ways to deal with stress and potential burnout differ from teacher to teacher. Even so, here are some strategies Kyriacou suggests:
Try to keep problems in perspective;
Try to relax after work;
Take action to deal with problems;
Keeping feelings under control;
Devote more time to particular tasks;
Discuss problems and express feelings to others;
Have a healthy home life;
Plan ahead and prioritize;
Recognize ones own limitations.
You can find plenty more burnout tips and tools everywhere–from research literature to cyberspace to your closest loving relative. Here are a few resources I’ve uncovered, with some of my favorite highlights (and comments):
Ryan Gosling attending the ‘Blue Valentine’ Photocall during the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 18, 2010. Photo by Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAUSA.COM (Pictured: Ryan Gosling) 63rd cannes film festival – blue valentine photocall
10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Your First Year Teaching – “7. Don’t Neglect Your Body: Sleep. Rest. Eat well. Exercise.” and “9. Catalogue Every Single Success in the Classroom: Write them down. Make lists of what’s going well.” (One of my mentors calls these “attaboys” or “attagirls,” and you should keep these in a box somewhere. Or turkey.)
Finally, here’s an inspirational quote I came across recently from master chef Julia Child, which reveals the right attitude:
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
Teachers, hopefully you are already passionate about teaching and learning. And “keep that fire burning,” so to speak, by fueling your educator’s engine.
As my mother used to say, “In order to burn out you must first be on fire.”
And so as the Human Torch says, “Flame On!”
Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teacher stress: Directions for future research. Educational Review, 53, 28- 35.
The latest superhero movie teaser to hit the internet is that of Fantastic Four, a.k.a: FANT4STIC:
If a Fantastic Four movie sounds familiar, that’s because there have already been two big budget FF films since 2005.
For an interesting comparison, take a look at the 2005 Fantastic Four movie‘s trailer (starring a pre-Captain AmericaChris Evans and a post-CommishMichael Chiklis):
Now watch the teaser of the 2015 version:
Quite the difference in tone, don’t you think?
But to me, that’s what makes iconic superheroes so special. Building off a core of archetypal characters and themes, different creators can tell stories through a variety of styles. (And it’s always fun to see fresh new takes on superpowers.)
Like parallel universes in comic books, a parallel application exists in the world of teaching. In order to reach students and inspire meaningful learning, an effective teacher applies his or her individual personality and talents to a framework of fundamental research and established methods.
So let’s talk about some essential elements of effectivefantastic teaching, using Marvel’s first family for inspiration (and images courtesy of artist Bruce Timm).
Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards)
Egocentric name aside, Mr. Fantastic is known for his amazing intellect as much as his elastic superpowers. Two things we can take from the Fantastic Four’s leader:
1. Teachers must be smart. For those of us with normal IQ’s, we must do our best to study and develop rich understanding. This growing knowledge base should be limited to our particular subject(s), but all the arts and sciences, and–perhaps more importantly–research on how people learn and applicable teaching strategies.
2. Teachers must be flexible. You don’t have to wear a uniform made of unstable molecules (though it’d be cool to try), but you must be ready to bend, twist, and stretch if you want to stay sane.
Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
In addition to flexibility, fantastic teachers have a healthy sense of humor, much like the FF’s resident jokester. And figuratively speaking, teachers should be able to instantly “flame on” and fire up a jaded class into a group of enthusiastic learners.
Invisible Woman (Susan Storm-Richards)
Here’s where we get more profound. Teachers are often most effective when they stay out of the spotlight. Instead, they put the primary focus on learning and encourage students to take responsibility and leadership in the process.
A common motto used among educators is to relinquish the classroom role of “sage on the stage” and be a “guide on the side.” Sometimes, that guide is so good the students hardly notice his or her presence.
In many ways, Sue Storm has the most powerful abilities among her teammates. Not only can she turn invisible, she also can produce invisible force fields for both offensive and defensive purposes. Teachers must also do their best to protect their students and colleagues from all kinds of dangerous attacks – unseen or otherwise.
The Thing (Ben Grimm)
In addition to protecting students, fantastic teachers also need to protect themselves. Like the ever lovable, blue-eyed Thing, teachers must exhibit some thick skin. We have to withstand a daily barrage of gripes and wisecracks that rival Dr. Doom’s black magic blasts.
Fool! Doom never does homework!
To use another metaphor, teachers should be judicious in deciding when “It’s clobberin’ time!”
Even fantastic teachers have students who occasionally act out worse than Mole Man’s Moloids. We can’t simply exile these misguided minions into the Negative Zone. But we can’t allow class clowns to ruin everyone else’s opportunity to learn, either.
Your teacher’s worst nightmare.
It takes wisdom (sometimes a Reed Richards-level of intellect) to know how to squash misbehavior without squashing the student (emotionally, that is). It also requires a mix of courage and compassion. Even the best teachers aren’t perfect in determining when and how to manage, discipline, and/or overlook student actions and attitudes.
Nobody’s perfect. But we can strive to be fantastic. Use insight from the “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” to help you get there.