I think I speak for all of us when I say that the upcoming Disney-Pixar movie Incredibles 2 is far more for adults than the kids. After all, 14 years ago when The Incredibles first came out, none of my own kids or my current students were alive. Sure, they can go see it and enjoy all the great characters, but we know whom this movie is really for.
So with that, here are some great takeaway lessons from The Incredibles. We already know that teachers are indeed superheroes, so consider these lessons day-to-day wisdom you can apply to teaching.
1. Find your passion.
In the movie, Mr. Incredible, our lovable protagonist, goes from saving lives to working as an insurance salesperson. Mr. Incredible is miserable in this role because he’s just trying to get by, day after day. Once he starts again doing what he loves, he (re)discovers his passion! He loses weight, becomes a more involved husband and father, and drives a nicer car!
Maybe you’re not feeling passionate about teaching anymore. Maybe you need a change of school or content area. Whatever you need to do to find your passion and love for teaching again, do it. Change schools, grades, or focus areas, but don’t give up. The future needs you.
2. Never forget that you are a role model.
Every time I am forced by my two-year-old daughter to watch The Incredibles, I always wonder what the movie would have been like if Mr. Incredible would have just allowed Buddy to feel involved with the work. Maybe Buddy would have never turned into Syndrome, a joke of a superhero who actually put innocent people in danger.
The point is, early in Mr. Incredible’s superhero career, he allowed his frustration to keep him from recognizing his status as a role model. Never forget: We teachers are role models to all kids—even when work is hard. We are always being watched by our kids, and we should set a good example for them each and every day.
3. Kids blossom at different times.
One of the more interesting mysteries of the first movie, that we anticipate will be answered for us in Incredibles 2, is the role that Jack-Jack plays. In the first movie, he is a seemingly ordinary baby with no superpowers. At the end of the movie, however, we find that he may have more powers than everyone in the family.
Jack-Jack is a reminder that kids blossom at different times. I know that you have had a student in class who caused you serious concern. Maybe even a student who could be labeled a lost cause. You never know what kids will do in the future. I was once considered a lost cause by some of my teachers. Thankfully, other amazing teachers looked beyond that and helped me blossom.
4. Building character is important.
When Dash is finally allowed to run track, his family influences him to get second place so he doesn’t embarrass the other kids with his superhuman speed. I saw this as a nod to the importance of building character.
Many times as teachers we get caught up with achievement and content mastery. In the same way, coaches get caught up with just winning games and developing players. Sometimes we forget that we should also be building character in our students. Part of the job of a teacher is to help students be successful in every way. Character counts.
5. Teamwork really is dream-work.
As many of us learn at one point or another, things really do work better if you work together. Only as a team, with each person’s different gifts coming together, could the Incredibles defeat Syndrome’s formidable machine.
As teachers, we have a tall task ahead of us. Sometimes it seems like we cannot complete it. But together we can. We can win by supporting our fellow teachers and administrators. Public school, private school, or charter school, we are all in this together! And only together can we can make an incredible difference in the future.
What lessons from The Incredibles did we miss? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers Chat groupon Facebook.