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Teaches, Yoda Does: Appreciating Teachers in #StarWars

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) rides an eopie in the dessert in a scene from "Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his eopie in a scene from Lucasfilm's "Obi-Wan Kenobi" on Disney+ (Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd)

Editor’s note: As a teacher, it is never a bad idea to “use the force” in the classroom. 

We don’t mean that in the literal sense of moving things with the power of your will, but instead we’re talking about drawing inspiration for yourself and students from a Star Wars film and TV franchise that has shaped pop culture since 1977. 

Our recent May the 4th Be With You: Best Free Star Wars Teaching Ideas (opens in new tab) continues to be popular, and with the launch of the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” miniseries on Disney+, we’re sensing this might be the content you’re looking for. 

Educator Adam Schoenbart originally shared these teaching lessons from a galaxy far, far away. 

1. About Mentorship, Star Wars Is 

I wanted to look at Star Wars through the lens of the teacher. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s the mentors who define the saga more than the heroes. The mentor archetype teaches, guides, and trains the hero to prepare them for their journey. While the hero grows and develops throughout their trials and tribulations, it’s the lessons of the mentors that shape that growth. Think Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan, and of course, Yoda.

2. Student and Teacher Success, One and The Same They Are 

When the mentor succeeds, the hero succeeds. Sometimes the hero needs to outgrow the mentor and take control of their own journey. And sometimes the mentor fails and isn’t able to prepare their hero for the world ahead. Often, the hero grows to become the mentor and the mentor needs to once again become the hero.

3. Value Education, A Jedi Does 

The Jedi realize the value of the teacher and place careful thought, purpose, and time into developing the young heroes – like we teachers do with our students. Still, no matter how hard we try, we’re not always ready or able to reach them all. Both Jedi and high school students have flaws. Sometimes they are symbolized through looks and actions – such as Anakin’s switch to the red lightsaber of Vader – and other times these are more complex. Some of our teachers are unprepared, such as Obi-Wan was with Anakin, and sometimes they leave our lives too soon, like Qui-Gon Jinn.

4. Always Pass on What You Have Learned 

With experience, though, comes success. Obi-Wan failed with Anakin and succeeded with Luke, teaching us to become more powerful than we ever imagined. Yoda, a leader and warrior in the prequels, fulfilled the trope of the reluctant mentor and reclusive hermit both before he taught Luke to master the force. When Obi-Wan falls, it’s Yoda who guides Luke on his way from Padawan to Master and Jedi Knight.

5. Take All of Yoda’s Advice, You Must Not  

Contrary to Yoda and his grammar, we need to try, grow, and sometimes fail. But the mindset shift matters: when we push ourselves to do and strive for more, the only failure is not to try at all.

6. Additional Resources, These Are  

I highly recommend Was Yoda a Good Teacher by John Spencer; his graphic was featured above. You can also check out Was Yoda’s Advice Any Good Psychologically? by Kyle Hill, Yoda’s Top 3 Words of Wisdom by Henrick Edberg, or What Makes Yoda So Good? How to Be an Effective Mentor by Ray Smilor.

This story was originally cross posted at aschoenbart.com.

With contributions from