In this chapter, we explore how one preservice teacher analyzed positions of power during his time as a student teacher. To begin, we provide a brief scenario. A few weeks into student teaching, Jay, a pseudonym for a preservice teacher in a ninth-grade English classroom, attempted to engage students in conversation about proper comma usage in a list. After asking students to read their lists, one student read his aloud. With chalk in hand, Jay began writing a series of inappropriate slang words in Spanish (e.g., bésame culo) that he did not understand. Although students laughed and added commentary to the list, Jasmine (a student) told Jay, “They got you cussin’ and you don’t even know it.” These kinds of interactions were frequent for Jay, whose goal was to be a teacher who leveled “the playing field” in the classroom through dialogue and relevant curriculum. After this lesson, Jay reflected,
I try to position my students and myself on an even field when it comes to writing, but where classroom management is concerned, I need to place myself above them as the authority. My students need to position me as someone who should be respected and listened to.