Teaches Yoda Does: Appreciating Teachers in #StarWars

Wednesday, May 4, 20162:44 PM




The force is strong with this week. I woke up this morning ready to write a totally different blog post but when #StarWarsDay and #TeacherAppreciation week line up, that’s something special that I couldn’t ignore. When The Force Awakens came out, I wrote 8 Things Education Should Learn from Star Wars; now 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 journeys. While the hero grows and develops throughout their trials and tribulations, it’s the lessons of the mentors that shape that growth. Think Gandalf, Dumbledore, Atticus Finch, and of course, Yoda.

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.

8 Things Education Should Learn from Star Wars



In the world of Star Wars, the Jedi Masters train their Padawans, with hopes that the young heroes will eventually become mentors to the next generation. They enforce a code of justice, chivalry, and balance, and protect and empower others to do the same. 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--like Anakin’s switch to the the red lightsaber of Vader--and other times they are more complex. Some of our teachers are unprepared--like Obi-Wan was with Anakin, and sometimes they leave our lives too soon, like Qui-Gon Jin.

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 that guides Luke on his way from Padawan to Master and Jedi Knight.

It’s the wisdom of Yoda that helps us appreciate teachers. The images below speak for themselves celebrate teaching, teachers, and Star Wars in honor of #TeacherAppreciation Week and #StarWarsDay.

May the force be with you, always, but today may the fourth be with you, too.





Teaches Yoda Does

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.

GIF from http://imgur.com/gallery/WOpf0Sf


Knowledge is power--let’s keep helping students find, learn, create, and own it.

Image from wisfefiction.com


Wisdom takes more than words and our action speak louder than words. Sure, it’s not a quote from Yoda but we can guess that Yoda might have said it to Qui-Gon, right?

GIF from http://www.filmcolossus.com



Education is changing and our understandings, learning, and skills must continue to evolve. We no longer life a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Image from Pintrest.com



Don’t underestimate, undervalue, or underserve our students.

Image from quotesgram.com



Learning never ends and you don’t know what you don’t know.

Image from quickmeme.com



For the most part, Yoda’s wisdom speaks for itself in his own way--backwards grammar and all. But since I started writing this post this morning, I’ve found so much more analysis of Yoda and his role as a teacher.

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, The Life Wisdom of Star Wars in 20 Quotes, or What Makes Yoda So Good? How to Be an Effective Mentor by Ray Smilor.

UPDATE: And I just saw this--What Happens When National Teacher Appreciation Week Meets Star Wars, and it's awesome.

I appreciate Yoda, stories of heroes and hope, Star Wars, and good teachers. Thanks to all the teachers out there for the tireless and sometimes underappreciated work we do in helping our young Padawans grow and develop. Happy #StarWarsDay and #TeacherAppreciationWeek, and may the fourth be with you, always.


How are you showing your appreciation of teachers? And what lessons do you think teachers and education could learn Star Wars? Share your ideas and appreciation in the comments or on Twitter.


Yoda’s parting words from GovLoop.com

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