How to Help Your Students Discover Their Superpower

Author: Rich Atkinson

Superman & Wonderwoman


The “Clark” in your classroom may not turn out to be Superman, and your “Diana” may not be Wonderwoman, but each of your students does have a special superpower– something that they are good at. So how can you help them make the best of their gifts and talents? Here are a few tips so they can soar in life.

Help Your Students Discover Their Superpower

Help your students discover what they do well.
Gallup’s StrengthsExplorer is an assessment test for tweens and teens to help discover their top three strengths so they can develop those strengths for life. All the students in your care will see they are good at something and they have value. For more on this topic, listen to “Called to Coach.

Encourage Risk-Taking
Former American business executive Chester Barnard said, “To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.” 1 Author and Educator Michael Ungar suggests that pampering and protecting teens stunts their growth. With no risks come no rewards. If teens don’t fail now, they will sometime. But getting back up after you fall develops resilience and determination. “Kids crave adventure (risk) and responsibility” . . .  because they want to feel more like adults.” 2

Guide with Positive Encouragement and Correction
Often kindergarten teachers encourage pupils with gold stars and smiley faces. When I was in Haiti on a mission trip, some college students taught the children with words of encouragement such as “Bravo” and “Excellent!” How might you use positive reinforcement?

Closely related to encouragement is positive correction. When correcting a rambunctious child running across the room, a woman with decades of teaching experience guided the young boy’s behavior with these words: “Please walk!” Wouldn’t you agree this sounds much better than “Stop Running!” One college English professor also steers her students with positive correction by writing comments such as, “Next time try this . . .”

Your students’ “superpowers” may not allow them to leap over every building or lasso every bad guy, but they will help them soar in the long run. And remember teachers, you are superheroes too! To learn more on how you are superheroes, go to 8 Ways Teachers Change the World.

2 – Ungar, Michael. Too safe for their own good: How risk and responsibility help teens thrive. McClelland & Stewart, 2009.

About the Author

Rich Atkinson

Rich Atkinson began his writing career with a community paper in Ohio.

He has worked for a magazine. Travel assignments have taken him outside the country to Haiti and Guatemala. In the U.S., he has journeyed to Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, and many other places for feature stories.

When not writing, Rich finds time to read and enjoys listening to authors discuss writing on podcasts and in YouTube videos.

Scroll to Top