The Superman Dilemma in Education

super_hero_flying_silhouette_116437Hi Everyone!

Four posts ago, I wrote something called The Superman Effect in Education. It discussed how teachers and students should be treated like they are super heros, meaning they should all be valued and appreciated. I received a lot of great responses on this post, and one in particular stood out:

“I always shied away from the whole “superman” analogy for teachers, because I think we shoot ourselves in the foot, when we don’t make it clear that we are only human (thus, the public’s unreasonable expectations of us).”–Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca

This is such a great comment because it reminded of something I talked about in another post called the Detachment of Education, in which I discuss the absolutely unrealistic expectations and burdens that are placed on teachers. Bethany’s comment was a reminder of that discussion and the dilemma that comes with treating teachers like super heros.  Yes, I believe that teachers are indeed super heros. However, I also believe this:

1) Teachers = Humans

NOT Teachers = Robots or Teachers = Superhumans

As I said in my “Detachment of Education” post: “I truly feel that it is a common belief that teachers are supposed to be magical robots with no feelings or emotions, and that they are placed on Earth to only teach strictly from the text to magically and easily instill knowledge on their students who all magically receive it in the same way.”

Oh, and unless they are truly robots, they cannot honestly and efficiently grade 100+ term papers in one school night.

2) Teacher ≠ Parents/Guardians

Teachers are not responsible for educating students on manners and common sense, you know, all the things that parents/guardians should do. And yet…

So, here’s a trick question: Can teachers be treated as super heros without the expectation that they literally should be?

Here’s my answer: I believe that the basis to all of this is the need for all teachers to be treated with respect and understanding. Respect what they do, understand what they do. And for the parents and students, respect and understand that you are a vital part of a successful education as well.

Peace and Love,


Posted on August 27, 2013, in Education and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great post Ariffa. I think most, though not all teachers enter the profession to serve and make many personal sacrifices for this to happen. Respect and acknowledgement from society in general not only rewards these teachers, I believe it makes them more effective. I believe this is one of the reasons Finland has such a good educational system.

    • Yes, that is a good point! Respect and acknowledgement will definitely increase an educator’s effectiveness! There is so much that we can learn from other countries. I tend to think that those who make the big decisions on education are too proud to admit that. Your comment also reminded me of something similar I said to a colleague about Japan…her reaction was the complete opposite of mine. It’s in my first ever post.

  2. I did the job for thirty plus years. A real kicker is the teacher who takes a sick day and uses the time to mark papers. On top of that in my school all the teachers had to do quarterly reports on every student. It usually took ten hours of pure paper work.

  3. P.S. A real good blog.

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