I'm Not Superman, But I Might Be Batman

I recently won Teacher of the Year at my school. This post is the second in a series of essays I'm writing for the state candidate application form.

Describe your contributions and accomplishments in education:

I'm a guy and I teach in an elementary school. That's not a common combination. I've been told a few times from parents at school that men don't belong in an elementary classroom. I strongly disagree.

I try to be a strong male role model for my students. I contribute a certain strength to many students who otherwise don't have a positive male influence. I bring a different perspective and a different relationship to the classroom for my students.

In addition to my love of books, I also bring my passions for music and technology. I play the guitar and drums for my students and for the school. I bring new websites and technology ideas into my classroom. I believe it is vital that students see their teacher's passions and interests.

My most significant accomplishments as a teacher are the lasting relationships that I've formed with so many of my students. Learning most strongly happens in the context of relationships. My first year of teaching was a kindergarten class in 2004. Those students are now in middle school, and I am so happy that I still communicate with many of them about their lives and learning.

I know I don't need super powers to make contributions and have accomplishments in teaching. I just need to show up with skill, determination, and passion. I need to do the best I can with what I have. Many in education are waiting for Superman, but why isn't anyone waiting for Batman?

Batman doesn't have super powers. He can't fly faster than a speeding bullet or leap over tall buildings in a single bound. He's just a guy doing the best he can with what he has. He has skill, determination, and passion. I'm certainly not Superman, but I might be Batman.