Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Now Know Why Some Parents Are Leery About Student Teachers

A few weeks back I went on my second annual rafting trip down the Clark Fork River, a nice, easy ride through some pretty Montana country. I’m still a hydrophobe, but making Mrs. Grant happy is always a worthwhile goal, so off we went.

In the boat with me are my wife, a friend who used to teach at my school, his wife, his two kids, two punks who were there as part of a program for juvenile delinquents (really!), and a young lady of about 14 who looked like she weighed all of 90 pounds.

As we’re starting the float our guide gives us a quick overview of safety procedures, talks about the water, and sets us on our way. He takes us through the first rapid with no problems, then lays this on us: “By the way, this is Jenny, and she’s a guide in training. I’m going to be letting her do most of the rest of the trip.”


....the hell?

So Jenny climbs to the helm, takes the rudder, and points us down stream.

Obviously, I lived.

I think that the experience was a perfect analogy to giving over the classroom to a student teacher. You’ve got a master teacher steering the ship, and then that person steps aside and allows someone else to learn the craft on the job. As a parent I’d be worried too, even if the teacher staying in the room or guiding the instruction from the side.

It’s good to get that perspective through someone else’s eyes every now and again.

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