A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Our world is full of hero potential waiting to be motivated, supported, and skilled. Teachers hold the key to unleashing that potential, yet many are wounded heroes themselves. According to Teachers Count, the average teacher impacts 3000 students within a lifetime. How many students have you already impacted? How many will you impact this year? What kind of impact will your students have on others and the world? We need you inspired, strong, and mission minded so that you inspire your learners to lead heroic lives.
Teachers are everyday heroes going through a journey. In order to become an EduHero you have to continue this journey. This year, I’m presenting keynotes on The EduHero Journey, which is my adaption of Campbell’s monomyth. I’ve been researching Campbell’s hero journey since 1997. According to Joseph Campbell, every hero (Jesus, Buddha, Superheroes, etc.) goes through a similar hero journey. I have outlined the stages below and included a slideshare of my recent closing keynote for the ITDIMOOC. For this initial presentation, I asked Sylvia Guinan, a teacher I consider an EduHero, to co-present my research with me and share her personal EduHero journey.
The EduHero Journey
I shortened the EduHero journey into these stages. If you choose to go on the EduHero Journey this year feel free to download any of these badges I made to go on your blog, eportfolio, or website:
- (Call to Adventure) Mission: Your mission this year is to join a League of EduHeroes and go on your EduHero Journey. You are not just a teacher. You have the ability to be a hero and model and guide students to be heroes. What makes a hero isn’t extraordinary talents. If you think of some of your favorite heroes- Spiderman, Ironman, Luke Skywalker, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, etc.- many were living ordinary lives until they answered their missions and endured the journey. Their choice and ability to endure is what makes them heroes. It is up to you to be brave enough to make the difficult, but very meaningful choice to go on the EduHero journey.
- Refusal of the Call: Many times I’ve felt like giving up on the journey, even refused the call, and other teachers have, too. I want to tell you that you have the skills, talents, and strength to do this. Understand that reading this post is not by accident. You are either one or a few of the teachers in your school, city, state, or country hearing this call. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it. When you first decided to be a teacher, something inside you and beyond you called you to this mission and you chose it. Being a teacher is a very difficult journey and I congratulate you for answering the call.
- Meet with a Community of Mentors: Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. There is a league of extraordinary EduHeroes ready to offer support, resources, and guidance. These are educators who connect and support each other in online communities and social networks. Find an active community of mission minded teacher to join. These communities will ask you to participate in various events that will help you learn new skills while inspiring other EduHeroes. Some of the EduHero communities I am apart of and founded, include the 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, #Edchat, and the Reform Symposium E-Conference. Find others included in the presentation and via hashtags on Twitter. Cybraryman’s EduChat list will help you find a community of teachers with your specific interests (subject, grade level, country, and city).
- Experiencing the Unknown: You will encounter many new terms, trends, and technologies. Don’t worry your EduHero community will provide resources and support.
- Tests, Allies, Enemies: You will undergo many tests throughout your journey that will build you up as an EduHero. Each one you overcome will prepare you for a major obstacle. You will need to go to your EduHero Communities for help. You will meet many who will become close friends. You may also meet teachers, leadership, and others who resent your mission and the great things you are accomplishing. Heroes aren’t always loved, respected, or supported.
- Supreme Ordeal: You will experience major hurdles. For me these were depression, a cyberbully, my mother’s health, and other ordeals. The tests and support of my Passionate Learning Networks and EduHero communities is what helped me overcome.
- Reward: After surviving the ordeal, you will find a new strength, confidence or inspiration within yourself that will help inspire others. It will feel like your superpower!
- The Journey Home with the Elixir: As an EduHero who just endured the journey, you get to inspire your students, colleagues, parents, and school community with your newfound inspiration, mission, and skills.
It is important as EduHeroes that we inspire our students to also go on heroic journeys. We need our learners to feel like heroes, that it is their duty to care about the world. We need to inspire them to learn math, science, languages, writing, and literacy not to take tests, but because by obtaining these skills along their hero journeys they will be able to find cures, get closer to living in a peaceful world, lead meaningful lives, and solve world issues like hunger, poverty, and illiteracy. The only way that we will raise heroes is if we, their teachers, impart to them this mission and let them know we believe that each one of them has the ability and strength to be a hero if they just choose to endure the journey and learn the skills. Some of our students never hear adults or their everyday heroes they look up to tell them they have the ability to live meaningful lives and so they choose other things like drugs, crime, money, fame, and other things that hurt others. We need them to spread inspiration and care about others.
Ability of teachers to impact lives of individual children. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teacherscount.org/wannateach/why/impact.shtml
Bronzite, D. (2013). The hero’s journey: Mythic structure of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Retrieved from http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/the-hero-journey-mythic-structure-of-joseph-campbell-monomyth.html
Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New World Library: Navato, CA. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=I1uFuXlvFgMC
Examples of each stage of a hero’s journey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-each-stage-of-a-hero-s-journey.html
Hamby, Z. (n.d). The hero’s journey. Retrieved from http://www.mythologyteacher.com/The-Hero’s-Journey.php
Monomyth. (2014, July 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Monomyth&oldid=618058372
Join a connected community of EduHeroes and begin inspiring your students to lead heroic journeys. Don’t forget to download your EduHero badge.
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