Saturday, October 18, 2014

The weekend of SLOP.


My mother has often accused me of speaking a foreign language.  As an educator, my every day vocabulary is filled with SLOs, GIEPs, LDC, IEPs, SDIs, and countless other acronyms that are normal jargon to me.  She's a fairly good sport as I spout these with the fluency I never achieved learning to speak French in high school, leaving her scratching her head in frustration and wonder.

Perhaps it's our text saavy society that is contributing to our increased use of acronyms - LOL, BRB, TTYL are certainly commonplace in the texting world these days.  Education, however, has had the greatest handle on acronyms for years, confusing parents, teachers, and students a like for decades.  



Word Origin and History for acronym


word formed from the first letters of a series of words, 1943, American English coinage from acro- + -onym "name" (abstracted from homonym ; see name (n.)). But for cabalistic esoterica and acrostic poetry, the practice was practically non-existent before 20c.

It might be helpful to know that acronyms are now so popular that they are no longer identified solely as nouns.  The fine folks at recognized the past tense verb, acronymed, the adjectives acronymous and acrymonic, and, of course, the adverb, acronymically, although I suspect that the afore-mentioned mother will object to these words as non-qualifiers on her Scrabble board.

It seems that in education, people are so adjusted to the use of acronyms that they innately identify them, without regard for intention.  Take, for example, the administrator who asked that one in-service day be dedicated to curriculum review.  Innocent enough, until the reviewers were asked to complete a curriculum review action plan.

Yes, complete CRAP.  It was a directive.

While it is evident that the intent of that administrator was strong, the seriousness with which that assignment was received was less than enthusiastic.  And it is not isolated to a single district. There are great examples of poorly-considered acronyms on the A.S.S. site.  (I know you'll look -- just probably not on your work computer.)

Another favorite of mine came from the district of an acquaintance, who was working hard to assist struggling teachers with their Teacher Improvement Training System.  It was strongly suggested that that program might result in sexual harassment lawsuits from female employees.

As educators, we're expected to be above reproach when it comes to inadvertent stupidity.  It seems that there should be strong acronymic (see what I did there?) consideration given when titling anything, particularly anything related to assessment.  Sadly, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Education has acronymically fallen victim to their own lack of acronymic awareness and are now requiring that all public school teachers in Pennsylvania complete Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) which will count, in my case, as 35% of my total evaluation profile for this school year.  Oh, and how do I design and present my SLO?  Why on the SLO Process Template.

Yes, this weekend I am revising my SLOP Template to present to my principal next week.  It's also a bit of a struggle to consider that the SLOP should really be valued so highly, given the apparent lack of consideration that went into the process.
 Meanwhile, I'll stay focused on what I can, I guess.  (Today I get to see my high school classmates at my 35th reunion - GREAT!)

I'll perfect that SLOP in the best way possible, creating MAGIC.

and do my best to find Peace.

"Serenity now!"  - George Costanza

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