Can “Education” qualify as an official language?

Can the language you use at your job qualify as an official language?

I think so. I think I am officially bilingual.

Take for example this statement:

“My educational philosophy is that all students can achieve their maximum potential, given the proper academic supports, the most up-to-date technology, and using best practices in teaching, tracked through performance based assessments. These same students can and will achieve a level of mastery in all core subjects, quarterly and yearly which, when all students performing at their highest potential, will be more equipped to compete in a global society with minimal challenges. If we, as educators combine our skills through collaboration at grade-level and department meetings, and through professional development, we will achieve our common goal of making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in every school and meet the benchmarks of No Child Left behind (NCLB).”

Ok, did you know what I just said? If not, I don’t blame you. If, after you read this you still don’t know, don’t fret as the translation will be at the end of this column.

Why is it that in the educational field we find ways to make simple conversations more alien than they have to be? Is the quest to make ourselves look smarter in the eyes of non-educators so important that we strive to make them “feel” inferior and at times, ignorant?

Now, how about this statement:

“The student is not making adequate yearly progress toward measurable annual goals based on established state curricular standards”

Translation: your child is failing.

We can’t even say that a child is failing to a parent without speaking in foreign tongues. Instead of saying: “I’m sorry Ms. Understanding and Mr. Unclear, your son/daughter is failing,” we say: “Ms. Understanding and Mr. Unclear, your child/student is not making expected progress toward quarterly goals which does not allow him/her to master the given curriculum in the time frame given to him/her in comparison to his grade level peers.”

Now after the parent snaps back into consciousness and his/her eyes are no longer glazed like donuts, we attempt to “explain” and “clarify” what we just said but instead of speaking English, we continue to speak Education. “I’m sorry, Ms. Understanding and Mr. Unclear, the reason why your child is in danger of being retained at his grade level is that he is not making any attempt to meet the educational standards, based on state guidelines. There are several minimum benchmarks that he/she is required to meet and based on the classroom, district, and state assessments given to him during each quarter of the current school year, your son/daughter is not progressing at a rate that will ensure he/she continues on with his/her classmates.”

We even put what we just told them in writing and make them sign it (to guarantee receipt) before we send them home to decipher what we just told them. Is it any wonder that we get 100 phone calls after that? 90 of those calls are from the parent(s) trying to get answers for what they were just at the school about, but the other 10 from the district office trying to figure out what in the world we told the parent that has them so confused?

What is the district’s response? Call the parent back and explain it to them again.

Get out the smelling salts, I think they just fainted.

What ever happened to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid)?

So maybe that’s why we as educators seem to enjoy talking to kids over adults. They just tell it like it is and keep it simple.

Unlike adults in education who seem to relish in the creation of a more complex language that only other educators can understand.

Although my friends in the medical and legal professions would disagree and say they aren’t the only ones who have invented another language and can officially qualify as being bilingual.

Oh, by the way, the translation for the first statement is: “I really believe that if we work hard to teach kids well, then they all can learn and succeed!”

See, was that so hard? Simple sentence, easy to understand.

So the next time I am asked if I speak another language, I will say unequivocally: “Yes I can articulate the Educational language in an eloquent manner, both in the written and oral format, in the proper context using the appropriate grammar and vocabulary in daily conversations and communications.”

Translation: yes.

Send in the Clones

Districts are cutting budgets.Clones

Schools are cutting budgets.

Workplaces are asking workers to do more with less.

People are being asked to do more for less.

It sure does seem like the operative formula for saving money in schools and districts is: resources (R) – money ($) – staff (P) + more work for those that remain 🙁 – FURLOUGHS = A BALANCED BUDGET :)!.

So what is the solution? Maybe we should rethink the societal opposition to human cloning. Why do you ask? Maybe that way we can be in 100 places at the same time and be effective and not kill ourselves in the process.

Don’t believe me? Well let’s see. We get to work in the morning and parents are already there to talk to us about some issue. Meanwhile, we have a staff meeting to conduct first thing in the morning. If not a staff meeting, the district office is calling about something a parent called about or some paperwork they need submitted, or something they need completed that they need someone from the school to come take care of. ALSO, the students need morning tutoring but the teacher is absent and we have to fill in until someone can be found. BUT several other teachers called in sick and you need to find subs for them AND the orders for books, technology, or the like didn’t arrive and have to be checked to see what happened yet SUDDENLY someone from the district office shows up to do an audit of something and you have to sit with them while they go through it. HOWEVER it’s almost 9 a.m. and the remainder of the student body is arriving and instruction begins on time every day and every classroom has to be monitored. Did I miss anything?

Now I know this is a partial list and none of you have ANY of these issues first thing in the morning. Schools always run smooth and everyone is there every morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to teach the children.

But for those of us who have no arms from being pulled in more than two directions every second (we only have two arms), cloning ourselves seems like the only solution. That way, no matter what is going on, no matter the time, no matter the meeting, no matter where someone wants us to be, we will always be there. Though we need to find a way to link the clones to communicate the information given to them. That way, we will always be “in the know” even though we are not there, yet we are there.

Come to think of it, bad discipline issues by the students would take a nosedive because they couldn’t get away with anything anymore. Every time they turned around, “we” would be right there, watching.

One more benefit added to the list of having a clone.

We also have to find a way to clone our experiences so that we don’t have 100 people looking like ourselves but behave and act differently due to varying levels of experience. We also don’t want them to wise up and leave either. The whole point is to have “me” everywhere, all the time, getting things done. That wouldn’t work if “I” (the clone, or clones that is) decided to quit.

Now that, the nature versus nurture, product of our environment discussion, will have to wait for another day.

First Post…and Welcome to the Lounge!

Ok, I am just about ready to put up my first post. I  must admit I am nervous to start this thing called “blogging” but I have been told to just  “dive in” because I would be surprised at how many people want to talk about the things I will be blogging about.

Before I begin, I have some thanks.

First to Michael Smith and his blog. You can find the link to his page under the contact link above or in the list of blogs that may interest you on the right column of the page. I can’t thank him enough for answering all my many questions (some at some REALLY late hours…do we ever sleep?) and his good advice on blogging. He even answered one of my questions in his blog. Nice.

Second, to my friend Tasia (no, I won’t throw her last name out there in blogworld) who after I told her what I was thinking about doing helped (ok, came up with) create the name for the site. Great minds do think alike. Hope you enjoy what you helped bring into existence!

Third, my dad who convinced me to blog. I’m not sure he (or I) knows what he has got me into. 🙂

Lastly, to all my friends in the “Friday Club” at McCormick & Schmick’s who were very supportive of the idea and are excited to see it come to life and read what I have to say. To Kim, Phil, Norm, John, Jim, Kyle, Kathy, Frank, Julie, Tasia, Jennifer, Sam “The Man” (from Tin Fish), and any others who have traveled in our little but ever-growing circle, I love you all and know that YOU ARE THE BEST!! Thanks for all your love and support. Knowing all of you since we met has enhanced my life in ways I can’t imagine or put into words. You all are the best friends a person could ever have.

So everyone, get ready. I hope you will enjoy reading my musings and give me yours. I have one more addition (which probably won’t be the end…these things tend to take on a life of their own) to this site before I fully launch it and release it out to sea (so to speak), so get ready and I will talk to you soon!

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