When the coronavirus pandemic forced Newark, New Jersey schools to go remote, Timothy Carr noticed that there would be some days when only one only student would attend his virtual art class. Like many teachers, Carr said he was struggling to have his students login online.
Until he came up with a way to engage his students and motivate them to come to his class with a series of Super Hero TikTok videos that he posts daily in his Google classroom.
His mission was clear: To use his TikTok superpowers to save his students and make sure they get an education.
In the beginning of each video, you see Carr carrying his backpack, wearing a hoodie and pants, looking like a regular teacher, before the transformation kicks in.
Some days he’s Captain America, running through the school hallways, using his shield to protect himself from a hail of bullets and relying on his agility, strength, speed and endurance to fight off the bad guys.
Other days, he’s Superman, using his heat vision power through lasers to store solar energy in his eyes and emit it in fiery optic blasts.
During each video, there is a different soundtrack playing in the background, such as the Avengers' Forge Theme from the "Avengers Infinity War," or Carr’s own original music. Carr, who said as an artist he was always an anime and comic book geek, did tutorials on TikTok and implemented special effects from other apps, to help him get into character for his different roles.
“It became addictive,” he said, “I ordered other costumes.”
These days, Carr’s art classes are filling up.
“Next you now people started requesting it," he said, "Especially with my fifth grade class I started getting full classes."
And, students apparently can’t get enough of their “cool” teacher, Mr. Carr.
“His class is the best! We get to watch Superhero TikToks and do some artwork,” said student Daveion Harriett, who pointed out that he loves when his teacher turns into Captain America and throws his shield.
Another student favors when Carr turns into Spider-Man because of the fake enemies that surround him and the fake fire he uses that does look pretty neat on screen.
Carr, who describes himself on his Facebook page, as a proud art teacher, football coach and retired football player, said the superheroes bring positive energy to a dark time.
“Sometimes we need a superhero in our darkest hour, to stay positive and to keep fighting until we win”