... and it's very strange. My school district's liason for interns and student teachers, whose daughter I had last year, asked me to host a student intern this fall. I agreed, rather reluctantly. And things have been going well, for the most part. Intern X is very pleasant and willing to learn. I don't even have her in my classroom for the whole day, because only 2 of my classes are social studies, so during the language arts classes she goes to see other social studies teachers. She mostly observes, and last week she taught a two-day lesson, after which I gave praise and constructive criticism. Why, then, do I still feel uneasy about all this? I asked myself this question the other day ("Self, why are you uneasy with this situation?") and got the following reply: I am uncomfortable being in a leadership position. This may sound strange from someone whose job it is to lead 70 8th graders each day and keep them from descending into a Lord of the Flies scenario, but I realized that when it comes to peers, I shrink from the role of real leadership. I'd much rather be in the position of a student- asking advice, trying things, getting a pat on the head from those overseeing me. But when it comes to being the teacher (to a peer)- knowing how to encourage, how to give criticism gently yet firmly (since my inclination is to soft-pedal the criticism to the point where it becomes meaningless), how to communicate expectations- I really dislike it. I think this is mostly because there's no one telling me how I'm doing- mentoring me on how to mentor, in effect.
Chalk another one up to "things I discover about myself that I didn't even realize were there". Hopefully now that I realize the issue behind the discomfort, I can face it better.