If you’ve ever watched a superhero movie, you’ve probably wondered which superpower you would like to embody. Super strength or super flexibility? Invisibility or the power to fly? It may surprise you to learn that superheroes live among us and go about their lives, often unnoticed. If you look closely, however, you may spot them shopping at the grocery store, taking their pets for a stroll in the park, or, most commonly, shopping for treasures in the $1 bins at Target.
These are some of the most powerful superheroes of all: they are teachers.
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked several current and former teachers, including members of our team at Education Elements, about their teacher superpowers. Their answers may surprise you, make you laugh, or just compel you to find your nearest teacher and thank them!
Here is our list of the top 10 teacher superpowers:
Super-hearing across the classroom. “I can hear what my students in the furthest corner of the classroom are whispering to each other, even if I’m engaged in a conversation with a student, a parent, and the principal at the same time!”
Illegible handwriting super-cypher. “Teaching Pre-K through 2nd grade, I can pretty much look at any piece of paper and know not only who wrote it but exactly what it says...even when it seems illegible!”
Super multi-tasking. “I can be working with one set of students but know exactly what other groups are up to.”
Super-shopping and super-thrifting. One teacher said, “My superpower is knowing the time and day when the shelves in Dollar Tree are restocked. The stationary aisle is my favorite place to be! I always treat myself to priority shopping to stock my classroom with supplies and materials.” Another agreed, “My superpower is finding random items in the school and at Goodwill to become classroom items.”
Superhuman musical abilities. One teacher said, “My superpower is that I write songs to teach my students certain concepts. When my friends see my writing songs in my journal, they think I’m really cool, but they didn't know the songs are about things like how to write a complete sentence.” Another added, “My superpower is coming up with chants and songs for the launch of each class period. I taught my first graders a pump up cheer for Math, Writing, and Science. It energized them and was so much fun!” Yet another teacher said, “We created a classroom playlist that became the soundtrack of the school year. When the song they selected would play, with excitement they'd say, ‘THAT'S MY SONG!!’”
Super memorization of student names! This was another commonly reported superpower. “I work in a high school with 1,800 students. I know every single student’s name.” Another team member agreed: “I know the names of all my students, as well as one family member for each of them. It's easy to build trusting relationships when you know names and how people are related.” A team member who is a parent added, “My son’s school is fantastic with names. All 3 or 4 people know every kids’ name when they walk into school everyday.”
Super-empathy. “My superpower is feeling everything. I can tell when my students come into the classroom the level of engagement I need to give them as a person, whether that is a smile, a fist pump, or a hug. I know learning can’t happen until everyone feels welcomed and loved.” Another former teacher added, “My superpower was building genuine long-lasting relationships with my students. While I was stern and had very high expectations for my students, they also knew that they could come to me for literally anything. Some days they needed academic help, other days maybe a laugh or even a hug, but on any day they knew they could come to me, and I would be there.”
Super-motivation and team-building. “I always want to create a community in my classroom/ gym/ field (whatever space we are occupying) where students feel like they belong and can contribute with their unique strengths. What an incredible thing it is to see a group of unlikely individuals learn to come together, learn together and grow together.”
Supersonic amplification of student voice. “My superpower was teaching students to share their voices through writing. They were excited to show me (and others) their stories, their reactions, and their feelings. They were proud to use anaphora and polysyndeton and cleverly placed simple sentences. They still are.”
Super-strength to show up when it’s important. “I took time to get to know my students’ interests both in and outside of school. One thing I made sure to do was to ‘show up’ for them whether it was at a school event or an outside of school event. I wanted them to see that I truly cared about them as a whole, not just in my classroom. Because of my intentional approach, I am still in touch with a good majority of my students and their families, and I wouldn't have it any other way.”
This list only touches the surface of strengths teachers possess and leverage daily. When they build connections with their students, engage in lesson planning, create a warm classroom environment and celebrate student achievement and growth, teachers are creating super experiences for their students.
Teachers deserve to be honored and celebrated this Teacher Appreciation Week and every week! How will you be celebrating teachers this week? You can find more ideas about when and how to celebrate teachers in our blog 40 ways to celebrate teachers.
Lastly, if you are a teacher or have seen a teacher superpower on display, leave a comment describing your experience. We would love to hear about it! Follow @EdElements on twitter this week to celebrate your former and current educator superheroes!