Some people are waiting for Superman and that's fine. (I have my own thoughts on why Clark Kent wouldn't choose to become a teacher) But for what it's worth, I hope Superman doesn't become a teacher. Here's why:
- Superman has x-ray vision, but he is unwilling to be even remotely transparent himself. I'm not suggesting that teachers bare all, but a complete lack of vulnerability prevents students from trusting a classroom leader.
- Superman is strong, but rarely gentle. The Flaming Lips ask the question, "Is it getting heavy to use a crane to crush a fly?" Perhaps kids need more strong men, but it seems even more powerful when a strong man can gently say, "I care about your pain. I care about your story."
- Superman is always composed, always honorable, always doing the right thing. But in the process, he doesn't get a chance to be humble and apologize. Perhaps he's perfect and maybe kids need perfection.
- Superman is too nice. My favorite teachers (Jesus, Socrates, my AP Government teacher) often broke social norms and used language that provoked thought rather than maintaining the status quo.
- Superman might be great preventing destruction, but he is rarely seen creating anything. Preservation can't be the bottom line.
- Superman saves the day, but in the process he doesn't allow the citizens to help. He doesn't come alongside them and say, "let's serve together." There's a touch of imperialism in flying down and fixing a mess without empowering people to get to the root of the issue.
John T. Spencer is a teacher in Phoenix, AZ who blogs at Education Rethink. He recently finished two books, Pencil Me In, an allegory for educational technology and Drawn Into Danger, a fictional memoir of a superhero. You can connect with him on Twitter @johntspencer