Waiting for Superman

How Much Superman Knows About Pedagogy

Jose 7 Comments

Waiting for Superman

Pardon my snark, but what does Superman really know about pedagogy? Really, I’m not sure why Davis Guggenheim, John Legend, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, or anyone else think this superhero should be the face of education reform when a) he probably wants nothing to do with this mess b) kids aren’t asking to be “saved” for an episode c) Lex Luther has more in common with the aforementioned club than Superman does in regards to educational policy, and d) he’s fictional, much like the reform these guys promise. For that matter, I don’t see Superman ever teaching other kids how to be Supermen and women in their own right to empower their communities so he doesn’t have to run around like a madman wondering where the next disaster might occur. Plus, I’m pretty sure Superman is equal parts community non-profit organization as much as superhero, i.e. I’m pretty sure he makes his money off the public good. That side-job at the paper doesn’t make ends meet.

Plus, I can’t imagine that teacher prep colleges work towards building Superman from all of us. Superman is a one-dimensional demigod whereas teachers are required to be multi-dimensional humans. Teachers are people who don’t get celebrated in the public, but in private quarters, in pair-like conversations, and places where the public has enough compassion to remember that teacher.

Then again, I’m an alien, and I got a school to leap in a single bound tomorrow.

Jose, who finds this top-heavy conversation without any teachers, parents, or kids really bizarro …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 7

  1. Pingback: How Much Superman Knows About Pedagogy — The Jose Vilson « Parents 4 democratic Schools

  2. LS

    Have you seen the movie? First of all, the title is meant to be tongue-and-cheek. As in, if you’re waiting for a superman to save the education system, you’re going to be waiting for a while.

    But more importantly, the title comes from a story of Harlem Children Zone’s Geoffrey Canada, and it is pretty touching.

  3. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Fair point. Please note: I did read that article. I’ll stay away from the irony of my tongue-in-cheekness getting pointed out on behalf of a tongue-in-cheek title.

    I’m going to watch the movie as soon as it comes out. I’ve seen clips, and the people who endorse it (mostly) would like to privatize public education for a myriad of reasons, none of which I believe truly benefit public education as a whole. But … I’m an alien.

  4. NYC Educator

    Love your piece, J. Pithy is what it is. And if we had Canada’s resources, backed by billionaires, faux-Democrats, and fawning celebrities, you better believe we’d kick his ass all over the schoolyard.

  5. Hugh O'Donnell

    “Superman is a one-dimensional demigod whereas teachers are required to be multi-dimensional humans. Teachers are people who don’t get celebrated in the public, but in private quarters, in pair-like conversations, and places where the public has enough compassion to remember that teacher.”

    You got it right, Jose.

  6. teachermandc

    If Superman does not exist, why do so many keep looking for him in the same places, the same faces. Without the input of community, parents, and teachers, a lack of sustainable excellence in teaching will become America’s kriptonite. Incidentally, Superman came into my classroom on Friday and brought a batch of rowdy football players to their feet. If you want to read about it, see my blog at teachermandc.wordpress.com.

  7. cynthia kain

    like your post. agree educators aren’t waiting for superheros; working with students, parents and others in our communities we can improve our schools.

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