So through a strange series of events, I found myself going out to eat a late supper/snack with my wonderful wife at a local fast food joint. We were talking about our day and work and things. Then, they brought me out the wrong item. I thought we might have communicated it wrong because the price was different from what I ordered. (They charged $.20 more, but I didn’t make a stink about that.) But I did ask for them to get me what I ordered. They told me that it rang up right. (So why advertise it for $.20 less than you charge, eh?)
Then while my wife was eating her food, which came out right, I suddenly started ranting. I was telling her that one of the things we have to do as a result of our status and having the state babysitter (I think the official name is “PSP”) is subject specific vocabulary. As I was talking about that, all of the sudden I started ranting. I complained that while it was subject specific, I never knew if it was on topic with the subject in question. All I had was a list of words with no direction from the subject area folks. I complained that I had to switch what I was doing where I had kids writing on various topics at the beginning of class and doing math work as exit drills that would make them think to simplistic vocabulary (and I gave a few examples of the words from our list noting that the words I would like to give for vocabulary were far more mind-stretching) and reflective writing (which is basically good) at the end. I pounded the table. The clerk was almost afraid to give me my food.
I have no quarrel with the idea that we need to make some changes in the way we teach. I have no quarrel with the idea that electives need to help support the core classes. My quibble is that the vocabulary that is brought out from my unit is far more challenging than the vocabulary I am being forced to do. I am missing time challenging the kids to think because I’m forced to follow a cookie cutter approach to teaching that stifles excellence and panders to achieving mediocrity as long as everyone does it. 10 – 15 minutes taken away from challenging writing and math so that we can deal with minor stuff…it’s no wonder I can’t get through my curriculum at the right pace…..