Wonder Woman is achieving a bit of resurgence as of late thanks to the hit blockbuster movie. I’m not surprised she’s so popular. Wonder Woman exhibits many qualities that exemplify the best of humanity and hero-dom: compassion courage, and a genuine desire to do what’s right.
In fact, these are some of the qualities that I see most educators have too. Here are a few ways Wonder Woman reminds me of some everyday heroes all of us can relate to: teachers.
1. They are constantly reinventing themselves.
As a beloved character who’s been around nearly 80 years, Wonder Woman has constantly changed and adapted. From her World War II-era comic book origins to the 1979 TV show (who can forget the invisible plane!?) to 21st century blockbuster movies, the character has continually evolved to reflect the times.
But our expectations of today’s educators would impress even Wonder Woman. Whether re-learning how to teach to ever-changing standardized tests, creating new IEPs, or getting certified in new areas, teachers are always on the lookout to improve themselves in order to serve their students better.
2. They are often underestimated.
Some might say it’s impossible for an Amazonian princess to almost single-handedly bring an end to the First World War.
I might counter with how it should be impossible for someone to work a 10-hour day on their feet with no air conditioning in a room full of kids, spend their lunch period working with students, still have the energy to go home to their own families, and be excited to do it all again the next day.
3. People look at them like they’re from a hidden island.
It was a long journey (both in distance and understanding) when Wonder Woman left the secret island of Themyscira and traveled to Europe. She elicited many sideways glances and confused faces as she adapted to her new surroundings.
Similarly, teachers are often on the receiving end of the same looks. People are confused when teachers talk about what they ACTUALLY do all day (hello grading during planning periods and three-hour faculty meetings). They think teaching still consists mostly of field trips to the science museum and paper mache cookie jars. Strange looks often follow, along with the realization that teachers have the hardest jobs in the universe.
4. They have to rely on other strong warriors.
Wonder Woman is a one-person wrecking crew. But whether facing down super-baddies with the help of the Justice League or defending her home with the help of her Amazonian sisters, she often relies on a strong crew to back her up.
Likewise, teachers need a similar team. I see the way my wife, a middle school educator, lights up around her colleagues. It’s obvious they a share a special camaraderie, a bond of shared struggles and classroom battle scars that unite them in a common purpose to make sure every one of their students gets the best possible tools in their educational journey.
5. They’re used to bailing people out of tough situations.
Rescue a downed pilot? No sweat. Save humanity from the god of war? Piece of cake. Throughout her history, Wonder Woman has saved countless skins without so much as breaking a sweat. She is a superhero after all. But where Batman can be a bit moody and Superman can be self-righteous, Wonder Woman consistently practices heroism and self-sacrifice with grace and humility. Does that remind you of anyone?
Teachers change kids’ lives every day. Whether it’s getting into college, staying out of trouble, or learning the skills to lead better lives, many students are able overcome even the toughest of circumstances with help from dedicated, superhuman educators.
6. Given the right tools, they can get to the bottom of anything.
Wonder Woman: Forces Steve Trevor to reveal what’s going on in the outside world using her Lasso of Truth.
Teacher of the Year: Executes the entire school festival with little more than a package of balloons, determination, and a bag of ice.
7. Being caught between two unyielding sides is standard practice.
Which is more heroic:
- Being caught between two entrenched armies in No Man’s land and fighting your way out.
- Brokering a peaceful solution between school administration and an angry parent during a school conference.
I’d wager they’re equally tough.
8. No matter how powerful they are, they realize how much it helps to have a great mentor.
Wonder Woman has Antiope, her fearless aunt who taught her how to be a warrior.
Many educators have That One Person who changed their life and sent them down the path to being a world-changing hero in their own right. Maybe it was a high school teacher who left a strong impression. Or a community theater director who brought out their love of performing in front of ungrateful audiences. Maybe it was an older sibling who taught them to read. Many teachers take a love of learning handed down by others and in turn pass it on to their students. It just goes to show that one little spark in the right hands can light a path and change the lives of countless others.
9. They are used to picking up the slack.
Let’s face it: Wonder Woman is by far the coolest super hero. Superman is noble. Batman is resourceful (although it does help to be a billionaire) but nobody brings it all together like Wonder Woman. She’s the perfect combo of pure grit, a sense of duty, and incredible strength. She knows when to rely on friends, but when her back is against the wall she knows how to take it to the next level and win the day all on her own.
Teachers are no different. Nobody perseveres like a teacher. Nobody is as reliable as a teacher. And nobody gets the job done like a teacher. Each and every day they do what so many others don’t, won’t, or can’t do: save the world.