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Watch and Learn

Observational instruction—“student teaching,” to use a familiar but not-technically-accurate term—varies with the subject, but even more by the student teacher’s supervisory instructor. The difference between strictly observing and “hands-on” observation is particularly significant.

The latter is tiring, to be sure, and often frustrating. The exhaustion, at least, is a good sort of exhaustion. But just watching it done? Exhausting in a bad way, the exhaustion of sitting up straight in the slow-motion purgatory of boredom. If you thought Gauss-Jordan elimination, the generalized algorithm for solving a system of n linear equations in n variables, was tedious when first learning it, imagine watching it after mastering the advanced professional methods built upon it.

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