The year 2013 is the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut in Action Comics #1. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creation paved the way for countless superheroes in the years to come. (Thanks, JS2!)
The year 2013 also marks the 100th anniversary of E.L. Thorndike’s Educational Psychology and the 60th anniversary of B.F. Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior, both of which have shaped countless teachers’ classroom instruction. (Thanks, ELBF!)
Given such a momentous year, why not celebrate both superheroes and teachers?
Teachers have a lot in common with superheroes.
Both have super-cool names. Mr. Fantastic. Ms. Marvel. Captain America. Mr. Mueller. Mrs. Scott. Dr. Bergman.
Both have superpowers and specialties. Flight. Invulnerability. Does whatever a spider can. Can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Can get a class of first graders to sit still and listen to a story. Can inspire teenagers to apply algebra to their personal budget. Possesses the stamina to grade a hundred essay exams in under five hours.
Both have hidden weaknesses. Kryptonite. Telekinetic redheads. The color yellow. Chocolate. PowerPoint poisoning. Eighth period on Fridays.
Both endure never-ending trials and tribulations for the cause of good and the greater benefit of others. Teachers may not save the world on a daily basis, but they can make a difference in individual lives one day at a time.
And so as we celebrate both teachers and superheroes, consider how these professions—no, let’s call them what they truly are—consider how these callings contain so many similarities in their assorted traits, triumphs, tragedies, and more.
This blog (and someday book) hopes to share the joy of teaching and superheroes, recognizing classic works and cutting-edge innovations found in classrooms and/or comic books. Look for resources, reflections, applications, and more in this ongoing adventure!
Daniel J. Bergman, Ph.D., enjoys both teaching and superheroes. That makes him a supernerd.