Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why Is Abbreviaton Such A Long Word?

There comes a point in all new teacher's careers when they are sitting in a meeting, trying to keep up with all the latest pedagogy and curriculum, and are suddenly overwhelmed. Not by the sheer amount of information, which is considerable to say the least, but by the oppressive number and use of acronyms. "The API doesn't accurately reflect the AYP, but the CST scores are inconsistent with the goals of NCLB." The Academic Performance Index is a separate best from the Adequate Yearly Progress, but neither would exist without our good friend No Child Left Behind. Fortunately, if you've been in the teaching game for a few years, these abbreviations don't hang long in the air. They are simply digested along with the rest of the day's bulletin and we begin our day dealing with ELL students who were so recently ESL students and strive to remember to use our AE as we deal with the kids who will have to take the California Standards Tests. Then again, if you're new to the building and you're still trying to figure out where the bathrooms are, you probably want someone to make a distinction between English as a Second Language and English Language Learner. But by then, the fun bus has moved on.
Before you know it, someone will ask if you have read your student's IEP, and if you had considered scheduling an SST to discuss it before the next SSC meeting. I would be pleased and happy to tell you that I always make a point of stopping administrators and veteran teachers in their tracks and demanding, as a colleague of mine used to back in the day, to explicate themselves: Individualized Education Plan, Student Success Team, School Site Council. I try, but sometimes I get caught up in the wave. It reminds me of the observation my wife once made about the world wide web. It takes much less time to say those words than it does to say "WWW." Our efforts to save time and effort sometimes generate misunderstanding and obfuscation. Oh, sorry. I meant M&O.

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