The Hollywood prototype of Silverscreen Superteachers presents a mythology that the best teachers are those who go into rough areas, make a huge difference and tell their stories in the process. The goal is to make a difference and change the world. Similarly, conferences and teacher books tout the newest, latest reforms each promising that if the teachers do just a little more, they will make a bigger impact.
After awhile, it becomes a mask that teachers wear - a mask of professionalism, of authority, of knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, masked crusaders are not what children need. They need alter-egos more than superheros - regular people doing great things when they stop trying so hard to do bigger and better things.
What if more is not better? What if changing the world is not a better goal? What if the best way to teach content is by teaching less? What if the best way to lead a classroom is by serving it? What if the solution missing in most of educational reform is not "more" but "less?"
Through the use of metaphor and story-telling, Spencer uses his own experiences as a teacher to demonstrate the main premise of a paradox of humility. It is the notion that learning increases when teaching decreases. It is the idea that teachers who quit trying to change lives are those who end up changing lives. It is the belief that the best way to achieve is by de-emphasizing achievement.