After being an educator on and off for almost twenty years, I was somewhat confident about my methodology. Wednesday I observed a student teacher who unintentionally taught me quite a bit. Maybe it’s because I am open-minded enough to incorporate new data. Or maybe it’s simply that what he did was quite valuable.

My traditional classroom management has always included (relative) silence. Recently I asked myself why and there were only two good answers. One is the way that silence is the way it’s always been. The other is that noise often distracts students who work best in silence.

This teacher did not observe those protocols. Throughout the two hours I was in his class, the talking was primarily nonstop, with brief moments when he was presenting information. Apparently, the talking bothered neither the student teacher nor the rest of the class. Again, I am part of the discipline that requires mostly quiet rooms but maybe I need to take a look at that position.

The other thing is that he spoke to each student in a small voice. When one raised his or her hand, the teacher approached and either kneeled or bent over in order to exchange information quietly and without intrusion. Although I am confident that I have had many quiet conversations with my students, those were the only ones he had.

Finally, teacher failed to introduce me as the substitute for the class. I had several students walk up and ask my name and my reason for being there but that was because the student teacher neglected to indicate why I was in the room. I’ll take full responsibility for this oversight. In the future, I’ll be certain to indicate to a student teacher or educational assistant in charge that it’s good business to introduce me. It’s not at all about recognition. But perhaps some of the habits that we take for granted are lost on some of the generations that follow us. In any case, I won’t let it happen again. For all concerned, it’s a good idea to reveal the identities of all those present. Shalom.

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