Monday, May 5, 2014

the myth of the hero teacher

Photo Credit
Yesterday a colleague shared an INCREDIBLE post on Facebook entitled "The Myth of the Hero Teacher" by Allison Ricket.  You need to pause and read this right now!

If you have been reading along with me this year, you know in April I also wrote about the idea of teachers as heroes in this post.  I am thrilled that Ricket's article so clearly explains the fallacy of thinking about teachers as heroes. 

Her final two paragraphs are a call to action that brilliantly points to a path for genuine improvement in American education.  I hope you will take her words to heart.

We need to draw more attention not to how individual teachers overcome immeasurable odds, but to ways in which we can reduce those odds to begin with. If teachers need to be creative and honest in the classroom—if that’s what makes a teacher a “hero”—then we need to dismantle the obstacles to creativity and free speech on a wide scale so that those teachers become the rule, not the exception. We need to promote teacher creativity by reducing the amount of standardized testing and the resulting fear of poor results and loss of funding. If being authentic were really a quality valued in great teachers, we would celebrate inclusive, empowering teachers regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or ability. 
The dramatic light the hero myth casts on teachers is one I think we—as teachers—should wholeheartedly work to avoid. The example of a few isolated individuals working alone in red capes makes for an inspiring narrative, but it won’t transform our troubled educational system. We need a new narrative for teaching, one that we write together, one that unites us as educators and honors our students.
You can read more from Allison Ricket here.


  1. I understand and may agree with most what you say, however I am a firm believer in teacher preparedness and ability to teach. Teacher mastery of their subject and abilities are important and should not in my opinion be compromised- It speaks to the need for teachers to have access to continuous Professional Development and pre-service training before they step foot into a classroom. I as a parent would not want an unqualified teacher teaching my child.

    1. I am not sure where this post says anything about allowing teachers that are unprepared or lack knowledge to do the teaching. I would agree that preservice training is vital and professional development should be a required part of making teachers ever more effective and skilled. I am hoping what people take from this is that when we make teaching a job that requires heroic measures in order to achieve success, we are destined for failure. Good teachers are good teachers and good heroes are good heroes. It is unreasonable and frankly impossible to expect every teacher to be both.