Supervising or Coaching? Thoughts on Student Teaching
When I was in high school and full of hubris, I became convinced that I could do a better job than my teacher was doing, and so, sure enough but years later, I landed in an urban high school to do a rotation in practice teaching. I was paired with an old, tired – or so he seemed to me – gentleman who met me at the door to his classroom to give me one piece of advice. “Don’t be easy on them but don’t be too hard on them either. If you can get this crowd to remember who George Washington was, you’ll be lucky.” Then he introduced me to his class, showed me the textbook, and eagerly joined his buddies in the cellar where they smoked cigarettes and, I suppose, discussed the Boston Red Sox, the ways in which the principal was messing up, and wondering how I, the wife of the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, was coping with the nonacademic class upstairs. I didn’t really mind the fact that I was on my own, observed only once by my “supervisor” from Harvard and never by the classroom teacher.