MILWAUKEE — All over Mr. Gavin Smith's classroom are superheroes: Batman, the Hulk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, any many more.
"When they come into a classroom, they need to see a positive reflection of them," Mr. Smith, who teaches Information Technology at Milwaukee College Preparatory School, said.
However, he also includes as many black superheroes as he can like Black Panther, Shuri, Storm, and Luke Cage, to name a few.
A Milwaukee elementary school teacher is known for having a superhero-themed classroom. During the #coronavirus, he has changed the focus from comic book heroes to real-life ones. pic.twitter.com/Cl0y65QkTU— James Groh (@JamesGroh_) April 30, 2020
"When children come into the classroom and see images of superheroes that look like them, it makes them feel like you know what I can be super too," he said.
But the coronavirus has changed things, and children aren't in school. However, Mr. Smith took that in stride and shifted his focus from comic book superheroes to real-life ones.
"Right now, we have nurses you know that are and doctors that are on the front line of what's happening right now."
He communicates with his students that some of the real heroes aren't the ones who wear capes; instead, "teacher and parents also have the capacity to be superheroes to children."
After all, you don't need to have a superhero name to be a superhero.
"Over time, those scholars don't pay attention to the superheroes at the wall. They are looking at you. You are the superhero."
And Mr. Smith is a superhero in his own right.