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Educator Voice: How teaching with comics gives kids the superheroes they desperately need

October 22, 2022

Screenshot of Tim Smyth on Educator Voice, PBS NewsHour Classroom’s show about issues facing teachers and school staff.

“Comics saved my life” was a line uttered multiple times in September’s Educator Voice show featuring Tim Smyth, author of “Teaching with Comics and Graphic Novels,” and long-time social studies teacher.

Educator Voice, hosted by teacher Sari Beth Rosenberg, is a monthly Zoom show now in its third season about issues affecting teachers and staff.

Watch the full show here.

Tim Smyth on how his son being labeled a “reluctant reader” in kindergarten led him to introduce comics to his children, teach using comics and eventually write his book:

Award-winning journalist Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, shared how important it was to see Native Americans represented in comic books as a child and other superheroes who were “different” or flawed by societal standards.

Schilling also shared how comics helped save his life as child after he was sexually abused, an experience then shared by other educators in the conversation. We knew the topic of comic books would be a powerful one, but we were moved and humbled by just how powerful.

Alexandra Slatoff, special education teacher in Hayward, California, on how comic books helped her dyslexia as a child:

Tim Smyth on using the news media to your advantage (yes, that includes us!) to share the critical work you are doing:

Host Sari Beth Rosenberg is an AP U.S. history teacher in her 21st year of teaching. Here she shares the origins of how Educator Voice:

If you’d like to sign-up to receive notifications for future Educator Voice shows, click here. If you’d like to write a piece on our Educator Voice blog, email with your idea.

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