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