On the plane ride in, I was watching All-Star Superman. It is a cartoon version of a great comic by Grant Morrison. I've been a fan of Superman comics and cartoons since I was a kid, but I've always been more intrigued by the nemesis of Superman, Lex Luthor. Villains are interesting because their motives seems to be more interesting than the hero's motives. Lex's background is one that stands out to me.
Lex is a criminal mastermind and he views Superman as a hindrance to the human race. They have gone head to head for decades. Lex has a passionate distaste for everything that Superman represents. Over the years, Lex has evolved as a character and is not just a man mad for power. He believes if humans rely on Superman to solve their problems, they will lose that spark, that drive, to make the world a better place. He believes that a world without Superman would be a better world. The crazy thing about Lex in this instance is that there is some logic here.
Before I dive deeper into this, I want to make it clear that this is NOT a shot at Sir Ken Robinson. If anything, it is a shot at us, educators. I love what Sir Robinson has said about education. I've shared his TED Talks with my staff and tweet them out because I feel they are inspirational. However, is he our Superman? As educators, are we letting him do the work for us because he can?
Lex feels that the human race has become too complacent because Superman is always solving their problems and Earth is no longer striving for greatness. Why be innovative when Superman can save the day? Why share our thoughts on the need to change education when Sir Ken has already done it?
Have we become too reliant on Sir Ken to tell the world what needs to change in education? Do we expect his TED Talks to do the work for us? Lex Luthor, besides wanting to rule the world, saw greatness in the human race. He felt the world did not need Superman to save it and relying on him to do so was only going to hurt the Earth in the long term.
Educators have the ability to change education. We are a strong and smart group of people that want what is best for the students of the world. There are many educators out there that are working every day to make education better for everyone, but are there still too many people expecting Sir Ken to do the heavy lifting? Dan Pink? Alfie Kohn?
I hate when people point out problems, but offer no possible solution, so here is my thoughts; start a blog and share your thoughts. Work with your local school board or admin staff to institute change. Work with new teachers and mentor them about the different ways to assess students and teach classes. Advocate for the arts and become involved in curriculum discussions in the district your live and the district you teach. We all need to become a Sir Ken in our building, district, community, etc. That is how change happens.
I know there have been plenty of Superman/Education comparisons out there, but maybe we need more Lex Luthor's in education.