I read Bill Ferriter’s blog this week about the story of Mitchell 20, a movie about 20 Phoenix elementary teachers who chose to pursue National Board certification as a way to take control of the one thing they could control: the quality of their instruction. In his blog, Ferriter summarizes the movie as a collective recognition that “waiting for Superman is a strategy that is failing our students.” Instead of this one-superheroed-approach, Ferriter proposes that “super powers really do rest somewhere deep within each teacher.”
Kudos Bill: this Arizona edu-blogger agrees on all counts. I attended the Phoenix premier of the movie last week and, though our Superintendent of Public Instruction erroneously referred to the group of teachers as “The Wilson 20,” there were plenty of positive references to the internal motivation and “spark” that keeps super-hero teachers in our classrooms – in spite of out of touch politicians and/or public vilification of the profession.
Daniela Robles, the heroine in the film, said something during the panel discussion after the movie that really struck me. She said, “It takes one person to cause a spark that sets a fire.”
Since superheroes are thematically connected to education these days, I immediately thought of the AllSpark in the Transformers movies (insert 4-count break and theme song music here). Though Megatron-like current educational trends want teachers to be “robots in disguise,” teachers really are more than meets the eye – and the story of the Mitchell 20 demonstrates that. First generation Transformers fans know that the AllSpark is best defined as, “that indefinable, indescribable energy that makes them truly alive, more than mere machines.”
But what *is* that AllSpark for teachers and how can we help protect them from the Educational Megatrons and Decepticons of today and tomorrow? Maybe we should be education Transformers instead of “reformers?”