I don’t know anything about Coleman’s research but the interview caught my eye because one of my roommates in grad school was one of Coleman’s advisees.
Anyway, here’s the key bit from the interview:
Sopka: But you do enjoy working with students or do you?
Coleman: No. I hate it. You do it as part of the job. Well, that’s of course false…or maybe more true than false when I say I hate it. Occasionally there’s a student who is a joy to work with. But I certainly would be just as happy if I had no graduate students…
Sopka: I guess your remark means then that you would like to avoid teaching undergraduate courses or even required graduate courses…
Coleman: Or even special topics courses. Teaching is unpleasant work. No question about it. It has its rewards. One feels happy about having a job well done. Washing the dishes, waxing the floors (things I also do on a regular basis since I’m a bachelor) have their rewards. I am pleased when I have done a good job waxing the floor and I’ve taken an enormous pile of dirty dishes and reduced them to sparkling clean ones. On the other hand, if I didn’t have to, I would never engage in waxing the floors, although I’m good at it. I’m also good at teaching; I’m considered very good at teaching, both by myself and others. And I’m also terrifically good at washing dishes, in fact. On the other hand, I certainly would never make a bunch of dirty dishes just for the joy of washing them and I would not teach a course just for the joy of teaching a course . . .
I’m the opposite of Coleman: I enjoy teaching and advising but I’m not always very good at it. Also, I can’t imagine what Coleman meant when he described himself as being “terrifically good at washing dishes.” I can picture someone being bad at washing dishes, or being competent at it, but being “terrifically good”? What could that possibly mean in a non-restaurant, non-cafeteria setting?