Have Fun and Save the Galaxy: 7 Lessons for Teachers From #GuardiansoftheGalaxy

Have Fun and Save the Galaxy: 7 Lessons for Teachers From #GuardiansoftheGalaxy

Hey there, True Believer! This article discusses lessons learned from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as they apply to teaching and our students. While there’s mention of both films and their characters, there aren’t any real spoilers--no big scenes ruined or surprises spoiled. I do discuss the characters and their goals in a general sense, but no more than a teaser trailer might. Read on, True Believer!

The world today is a serious place. It’s become easier and easier to view things through a negative lens and to experience negativity in our world and our schools. But even when our reality is dark and dreary, or when our schools are overwhelmed by super-villain-like mandates, we can find an escape. Whether it’s by connecting to stories, to ideals, or to each other, storytelling has the power to bring us together to overwhelm the impossible.

Many of our stories have echoed the darkness of the world outside, making the positive ones even more important. Batman once reminded us that the sky is darkest before the dawn. Superman helped us to look to the sky and believe that a man can fly. Spider-Man helped us understand the power of responsibility and the potential of heroism.

And the Guardians of the Galaxy remind us that saving the world can be fun. The Guardians might be reluctant heroes, but in their misadventures they remind us to laugh, have fun, and support each other in our efforts to save the world--and maybe our students.

I loved this movie: it’s a fun, hilarious, and easy film to watch but adds more complexity to its characters and messages than some of Marvel’s recent super-hero blockbusters. It’s also unapologetically positive and fully committed to its comic book origins. It wasn’t perfect, but embraced its truth completely.

The best comic book characters help us see ourselves and what we can become. Each of the Guardians reveals a different lesson about dealing with others, building community, and standing up for what you believe in. They may be comic book super-heroes, but when they save their galaxy, they can teach us to save ours, too. They remind us that we can have fun and save the universe--an important lesson for our schools.

7 Lessons for Teachers From #GuardiansoftheGalaxy

1. Star Lord: Be The Hero

Peter Quill might just be this generation’s Han Solo--a reluctant rogue who can’t help but fall in love with being the hero. He reminds us that to be a hero--even a legendary hero--all we need to do is try. He may not make every right decision but he stands up for the things he cares about and makes the hard choices when it counts. As a child, Peter Quill reminds us that all of our students need saving sometimes. And as Star Lord, he shows that we can all be heroes, too.

2. Gamora: Family is Complicated

No matter how our students come to our classrooms and schools, it’s our jobs to get them to where they need to be. We need to learn about our student’s families, cultures, and home lives to better understand how who they are impacts the students and young people they are and can become. Gamora shows us that even though family is complicated, we can make positive change and everyone deserves a second chance.

3. Rocket: We All Have Baggage

Rocket’s baggage isn’t his family but his creation--his identity. Behind the racoon-like, mean exterior, Rocket is just looking for understanding. Like many of our students, he’s not yet comfortable with himself and is looking to make connections. We need to dig deep with our students--especially our Rocket’s--to learn about their baggage and how to get them through it. Even Rocket wants to belong--and deserves to.

4. Drax: Laugh More

Why are schools so serious? Why can’t we have more fun? It’s hard to balance the pressure of testing, curricula, student needs, and so much more, but sometimes we need to take a step back and smile. We need to look at the big picture, lower the stakes, and find humor in ourselves and our students. As Drax learns, humor is a powerful tool to connect and grow; the hard work of teaching and learning could benefit from more laughter.

5. Mantis: Feel More

Mantis, a long time comic book Guardian is new to the movie universe. Her powers help her feel, amplify, or influence emotions. Mantis’ message isn’t subtle, but it sure is clear: feel more. We don’t teach content areas in schools; we teach students. We can’t fulfill our heroic destinies without recognizing and embracing our humanity, too. The classroom and our schools aren’t just places to learn, but to laugh like Drax, to feel like Mantis, and to connect with each other and the world around us.

6. Yondu: It’s Never Too Late to Change

We all make mistakes and not all of our decisions make sense in the moment. But no matter what, it’s never too late to change. Whether it’s a bad day or year, we can all find redemption. Behind Yondu’s cruel and aggressive facade is a much more complex character with a complicated history and emotions. Behind all of our students, and ourselves, are complicated individuals, and sometimes we need a second chance, too.

7. Baby Groot: Care for Our Kids

The evolution of Groot to Baby Groot isn’t just an adorable new look for our favorite tree-god-alien; it’s a whole new personality, too. Baby Groot embodies the innocence of our students. Even the most powerful of us all need protection and guidance. Baby Groot dances, plays, and has fun, and it’s up to his teammates to care for him like frustrated parents. The students in our classes are our charges, and we, too, need to build communities that protect and support each other.

We might not have powers but we can all be heroes. Find your way to save your galaxy. Read more posts like this in 8 Things Education Should Learn From Star Wars or Reimagining Heroes, Super-Heroes, and Edu-Heroes.

How have the Guardians, super heroes, or pop culture inspired your teaching or learning? What did you learn from the #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol2? Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.

cross posted at www.aschoenbart.com

Adam Schoenbart is a high school English teacher, Google Education Trainer, and EdD candidate in Educational Leadership. He teaches grades 10-12 in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom at Ossining High School in Westchester County, NY and received the 2014 LHRIC Teacher Pioneer Award for innovative uses of technology that change teaching and learning. Read more at The SchoenBlog and connect on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.