Father’s Day is coming! As teachers, this can be tricky! It’s the end of the school year with many things to wrap up, and we might have students who don’t have a father in their lives. Regardless, we know we are supposed to help students honor their fathers in some way. Maybe one of our art hours is dedicated to creating a small gift…a cute card, a ceramic sculpture or a simple poem. Maybe we have dads come in for donuts and juice. We make sure it’s part of our plan before the school year ends. Right?
Great intentions, for sure, but I wonder if we can go deeper and connect this day to having students identify their personal heroes, after all many may choose their dad or a father figure. Let me tell you more.
Several years ago, I was involved in a professional development day. Our first activity of the day was to identify our personal hero and share (in front of colleagues) why we chose that person. Almost every person in that room was uncomfortable. Many of us were thinking, “Share personal feelings? With colleagues? Why? How does this make us better teachers?” We were all squirming, BUT we did it. I’m not going to lie; it was intense. Some cried, actually many cried, including men! We all walked away from the experience, though, understanding our co-workers a bit better and with stronger relational connections. Even now, many years later, I still remember it as one of the most powerful moments I have ever experienced with colleagues.
Why does this matter? How can this impact students? Let me tell you.
Heroes improve our lives. There are actual psychological benefits to being able to identify your personal hero. Stories about heroes can foster hope, strength and student resilience. Do you know of any students who need those three things? Talking about heroes increases our connections to others. Increasing connections creates a stronger sense of belonging which is important to overall happiness and well-being. Heroes give us a model for how to transform our lives. “If he can do it, I can do it.” Imagine the power that might hold for a student at-risk. Heroes tend to help create more heroes. With hope, resilience and transformation, the person who once looked up to the hero can pay it forward for others needing a personal hero. Also, using Father’s Day to celebrate or study heroes makes the topic more inclusive to address the needs of students who don’t have a dad in their lives.
If you are looking for a more meaningful lesson this Father’s Day, consider connecting the topics of dads and heroes. Your students will benefit! You can find more information and inspiration by checking out the links below.
-Here are two more articles with heroic ideas for you:
-Lesson plans on heroes you ask?