In which I pass on my skills

Man, the images you find when you Google “student teaching” are kind of hilarious.

I am doing something this semester that, somehow, I have never done before in eighteen hours of teaching: I am hosting a preservice teacher for thirty hours of classroom observations in my room, and he’s going to teach a few lessons as part of that, which I will then be on the hook for evaluating him for. He came by the building today during my prep period, and we did the first part of the stuff he’s required to do in the form of a formal interview, along with lots of me waxing poetic about the joys of teaching in an urban school system.

It is going to be very interesting to me to see how well I tread the line between being honest with this kid about what this job is like and preserving his continued desire to actually become a teacher. Y’all know me well enough to know that I’m not sure I think people should be teachers any longer. About half the time I feel like we should let the entire institution collapse and then see how society manages without us. But that’s neither here nor there, and if I’m going to be relentlessly positive with my students this year I’m sure as hell going to be relentlessly positive with him too. It’s not my job to talk him out of anything; it’s my job to model how to do it well.

I’ve also never had a student teacher, but I think that particular pleasure is one that I’m going to continue to deny myself. So long as my test scores are tied so closely to my evaluations, the idea of handing my classes over to a student teacher is going to be something I’m going to be very reluctant to do.

But yeah: between now and Thanksgiving, I’m going to have someone who, for three hours a week at least, is actually obligated to listen to me yammer on endlessly about teaching to him. Isn’t that going to be fun?

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.