My Back Pages
Six Ways to Avoid a Supervisor (1952)
Flipping through issues of Educational Leadership from half a century ago will reveal more sharply satirical pieces than you might expect. And as with all satire, they hold some truth beneath the laughs. Such is the case with "Six Ways to Avoid a Supervisor" (PDF), a "helpful" list that appeared in the November 1952 issue.
Read the article: Six Ways to Avoid a Supervisor (PDF)
Author Jane Sherrod begins bluntly: "To some teachers, supervision still has the connotation of 'snoopervision.'" To ward off the unwelcome advances of the principal, curriculum worker, or other observer, Sherrod provides six strategies ranging in severity from the intimidating raised eyebrow to the boredom-inducing filibuster ("this technique involves grabbing a large volume and reading"). The beleaguered teacher could also choose to begin an impromptu game or request that the observer begin teaching the class himself!
This story does a good job of making light of an undeniable, important truth: supervision, and in particular teacher observation, can be stress-inducing and fraught. Have you ever witnessed—or even used—techniques like the ones listed in this article? How can supervisors make teachers more comfortable with observations?
In "My Back Pages," we look at important issues through the historical lens of the Educational Leadership archives. ASCD members can access EL issues from 1943 to the present by signing in at the right.
David Snyder is a reference librarian in ASCD's Information Resource Center.
ASCD Express, Vol. 6, No. 2. Copyright 2010 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.