Which Wolverine are You?

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A few years back I received the following image from a colleague, who shares this handout with students and teachers:

Which tree guy are you

The question is, “Which one are you today?”

Are you the one smiling and standing on top?  Crossed-armed and alone out on a limb?  Are you helping someone climb on?  Watching someone fall?

This simple image can lead to a fruitful discussion of personal success, challenges, and concerns.  It also helps to stop and reflect from time to time, since our place and activity in this image can change.  What caused the change?  Circumstances?  Attitude?  Actions?

Try this activity with your colleagues or class the next time you have a few spare moments. It’s a good start or end to a session. Take the opportunity to intentionally self-evaluate.

Or here is a superhero alternative, featuring everyone’s favorite Canadian superhero Wolverine (art by the amazing Scottie Young):

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Are you the triumphant, classic costumed Wolverine on top?   The squished one in the middle?  The samurai-inspired noble warrior at bottom right?  The Wolvie losing his hat? The one with the claws?

 

Or  maybe you prefer the Wolverine portrayed by Hugh Jackman in nearly 20 years of film. Even though it’s the same hero and same actor, there are plenty of moods and mannerisms to choose:

 

Like superheroics, teaching is a serious business requiring grit, bravery, and “a fighting spirit.”  But it’s also essential to find moments of humor and fun.

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Op, op, op, op oppa Gangnam Style . . .

 

Most importantly, teachers (and students) should take time to pause and consider their personal attitudes and positions.  Are we behaving and thinking appropriately for the given situation?  How can we help those around us?

(And always resist the urge to go into “berserker mode.”)

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You forgot your homework again?!!?

 

 

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Summer Break 2016

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Time for another summer break from blog posts at Teach Like a Superhero!

Hit the beach and hang ten!

surfing superheroes

We’ll be back for “back-to-school” season with news and resources celebrating superheroes and teachers.

Until then, follow our Facebook page and take a look at some highlights from the previous academic year:

What’s in a Name? – How should students address teachers?

Ms. Pronunciation – How should teachers address students?

Spoiler Alert! – Whether it’s a movie, a comic book, or the classroom, a spoiler can sabotage true enjoyment and engagement. So how do you teach students without spoiling them?

Secret Hideout – Where do you go for peace, quiet, and rejuvenation?

Word Balloons – Comic books use creative ways to convey voice tone.  How does your voice sound in the classroom?

Silent Issues – How much do you communicate without making a sound?

 

Reboots and rebirths are all the rage this year in comic books.  Use the summer to recharge for your students in the fall!

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(Starting NOW!)

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Iconic Images

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A nifty cool comic book blog everyone should check out is “Comics Should Be Good” via the Comic Book Resources website.

 

Every once in a while, the folks at CSBG post a new entry in their “Top Five Most Iconic Covers” collection, in which they list the five most iconic covers of a particular superhero (or villain).  Neat stuff!

 

CSBG’s latest hero getting Iconic Covers treatment is Captain America, probably because of the upcoming release of a little film called Captain America: The Winter Soldier (coming to a theater near YOU on April 4th, 2014!).

 

If you’re curious, here are the top five iconic Captain America comic book covers, according to Comics Should Be Good.

 

If you’re doubly curious, here are MY top five covers of the StarSpangled Avenger, in chronological order:

Captain America, Vol. 1, #260; cover by Al Milgrom; August 1981

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Captain America, Vol. 1, #332; cover by Mike Zeck and Klaus Janson; August 1987

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These first two images may be downers, but they’re still iconic.

How about more heroic images?  Okay.

Captain America, Vol. 1, #450; cover by Ron Garney; April 1996

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Captain America, Vol. 4, #1; cover by John Cassaday; June 2002

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Captain America, Vol. 5, #1; cover by Steve Epting; January 2005

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This last cover by Steve Epting encapsulates the recent multi-year run by writer Ed Brubaker, with its Jack Ryan/Jason Bourne super-spy vibe, which the new movie seems to be following. Have you seen the latest posters?

Here’s a sample, and since the poster is celebrating the IMAX release, it’s HUGE:

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We could talk all day about iconic movie posters, but not this day.

 

Let’s talk about teaching.  Namely, what is your iconic image of a teacher? 

 

I’ve done some research* into popular teacher portrayals in the Google Images search engine.  Since my background is in science (yes, I’m that much of a geek), I did a specific analysis of science teachers.

Here’s a sampling of what I found:

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That’s right.  According to Google, science teachers are white dudes with bad hair, poor eyesight, and lame taste in fashion–until hipsters start wearing lab coats, but then that would just be ironic fashion, not iconic.

 

Putting aside any ethnographic analysis of cultural imagery and stereotypical classroom depictions, here are the questions I want to ask:

 

What is your iconic teacher image?  What is your “look?”

 

Are you this kind of teacher?

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Or maybe this one?

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Or something else?

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I hope you’re not this last one.

 

Images often depend on one’s perspective, as revealed by this stunning photo collection of famous landmarks.

 

Consider how your students perceive you. What is your “iconic image” in their eyes?

 

One terrific way to gain perspective is video recording your teaching.  Recording technology is nearly ubiquitous these days, so use your favorite gadget.

 

No one needs to watch your recording except you. That alleviates any concerns about privacy, and more importantly, you can take an honest look at yourself.  If you don’t have time to record or review an entire class period, just focus on five minutes of a lesson. I guarantee you’ll learn something about your teaching and your students, giving you ideas for enhancing instruction.

 

Make it habit to record and watch yourself from time to time.  It’s one of the best ways you can get better.

 

Who knows?  Maybe your teaching will even reach “iconic status” (in a good way).

 

*Bergman, D.J. (2013). The portrayal of science teachers found in Google Images and implications  for science teacher education. Paper presentation at the International Meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Education. Charleston, SC: January 9-12.