Saturday, January 18, 2014
"Any Advice?" Part Three
When my student teaching ended in the late winter of 1966, I was exhausted--but I also felt I'd done pretty well. I figured that if CT (Critic Teacher) had been worried about me, he would have spent more time in my room than the four class periods he managed to make it during my ten weeks or so. And Hiram College didn't seem too worried, either (the supervisor came for only one period my entire tenure).
But Hiram College ... there was an issue that it's time to confess. My father, Prof. Edward Dyer, was the chair of the Division of Education--had been since the fall of 1956. Yes, he was in charge of the teacher-training at Hiram College. (Actually, he was about to finish his final year at Hiram; the next fall he and Mom were both on the faculty at Drake University in Des Moines, a university whose new president was Dr. Paul F. Sharp, former president of Hiram College and friends with my folks since undergrad days at Phillips University in Enid, Okla.) Anyway, I think I probably would have had to have been a spectacular failure before anyone would have said too much to me. Maybe not. (Yes, I had a course from Dad--that's meat for another blog sandwich.)
But I had other evidence I'd done okay. The kids liked me (well, most did); CT had told me repeatedly I was the best student teacher he'd had (always hard to tell what that means--I mean, what if his only other two student teachers had been serial killers?); there was even a chance for a job the next year at West Geauga High School. I wanted only a high school job, mind you. One of CT's warnings to me: Whatever you do, don't get stuck in a junior high school. Oh, no, sir--not I! (You wouldn't consider, oh, thirty years or so "being stuck," would you?)
In those days Hiram was on the quarter plan: three quarters during the traditional school year; a fourth quarter (optional) in the summer. My student teaching grade came in two parts: 12 quarter hours for "Student Teaching in High School" and 5 quarter hours for "High School Curriculum and Methods," a course taught by my Hiram supervisor. It never met, not once. The former grade--the 12-hour one--was a grade that CT got to award. And I was confident. Until I saw that 12 hours of B+ on my grade report (I got an A in the course that never met--pretty nifty, eh?). I was dumbfounded. I thought I was the best student teacher CT had ever had.
Surely a mistake, right? I approached my Hiram supervisor, who said he'd check it out. He got back to me: CT had told him that you can't be an A teacher when you're just a student teacher. What? Of course that's true. But I was not a teacher; I was a student teacher. No matter. The B+ stood--and still stands--as does my permanent determination to go find CT one day (if he still walks the surface of this planet), tap him on the shoulder, punch his face when he turns around, and, while he's struggling to his feet (yes, I will knock him down!), I will say: You can't be an A boxer when you're an old man. Then I will deliver a few vicious kicks in a few sensitive areas before I release the hungry wolves I've brought along. Feeding time.
And now ... I think about that grade. Did CT really award it to me? Or was my Hiram supervisor just passing the buck? Now I'm angry all over again!
NEXT TIME: When I became a CT, too, later on ...