Through Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and even George Clooney, I relished every Batman film. I reveled in the glory that was the Christian Bale trilogy of darker Batman movies, but as I aged more, I found myself drawn to Tony Stark and Iron Man much more than Bruce and the Bat. I chose snark and snappy comebacks over brooding and the sore throat that inevitably came when I tried to speak like Batman. Soon after this shift, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began its supremacy at the box office. In Robert Downey, Jr., I saw the perfect embodiment of my hero, and I began to discover even more in common with the Avenger. I was rash at times, impatient even. I hurried to try to fix problems, and I often created more problems in the process. When I began a project at school, I tuned others out, found myself not always seeking help, and thinking I had all the answers.
Realizing that the Avengers are just a high-scale PLN was a shock to me in the theater, and then I couldn't stop making comparisons. Like the Avengers, each member of my PLN has a special talent and a specific personality (albeit without the sweet costume, sadly). Each member brings something the others in the group do not possess, and when we share, the entire team is stronger. The Avengers have Thanos, an entity obsessed with his own brand of mercy, as their nemesis. My PLN has inequity, social capital gaps, hunger, literacy gaps, and more; we attempt to combat these issues to give our students a fair chance in this world and to let each student shine with his or her own special talent. The Avengers aren't perfect. They bicker and let ego get in the way, at times. My PLN is the same. We aren't always shiny, happy campers singing "Kumbaya." While we don't often degenerate into wars either Civil or Infinity, there can be miscommunication, hurt feelings, and uncomfortable breakups. When we need each other, however, our strong bonds overcome our differences.
And just remember, while you may feel like Iron Man with all his technology and expertise at times, there will also be moments where you have to wear the Hawkeye mantle, standing awkwardly to the side with little to do. Use these moments to soak up the talents of your PLN and learn from them, adding to your own special powers in the process. You will have moments to shine, and you will grow stronger working with a group focused on a common goal.
Now, if I could only market my PLN the way Marvel does the Avengers, I'd be all set! :)