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Fun Look at Our Serious Work: Academic Alphabet Soup

by Alan Sitomer
January 3, 2012
Become long enough in the tooth as an educator and you’ll realize that with the dawn of each new calendar year also comes the DONAROBA (Dawn of a New Round of Buzzwords and Acronyms) in the world of reading, writing, literacy, and schools.

It’s a COS (Confection of Scholarship) concocted by BBs (Bureaucratic Buffoons) about which you better not GCWYPD (Get Caught with Your Pants Down).

Luckily, my EIDE (Experience in Dissecting Edu-babble) can help guide you through the upcoming MOH (Morass of “Huhs?”) many readers of this quarterly column will surely face over the course of the next 12 months.

And so, without further ado, here’s a heads-up on the 2012 POO (Pipeline of Obfuscation).

Without a doubt we’ll all be in P4C-Core (Preparing for Common Core) mode. Unless you live in an NFM4UH (No Federal Money for You, Honey) state because Common Core is not on your DSDOE’s (Dysfunctional State Department of Education’s) to-do list. And while the BOSTs (Bashers of Standardized Testing) will be out in full force, the DOA’s (Defenders of Accountability) will be right there to meet them head on. Indeed, the bloody street fight pitting teacher versus teacher, administrator versus teacher, politician versus teacher and parent versus teacher will—sad to report—continue.

Unfortunately, this arms race is not contained to any one, single battlefield—it will be a time of war on many fronts. We’ll have the BUTULs (Break up the Union Loons) versus the PTUAACL (Preserve the Union at Any Cost Loons), we’ll have the AOBCSTTNROTC (Advocates of Blindly Chartering Schools Though They’re Really Not Outperforming Their Counterparts) lobby versus the QSOADAGETWDKS (Quit Stealing Our Average Daily Attendance Gripers Even Though We Do Kinda Stink) lobby, and of course, we’ll see the CEBM (Corporate Education Billionaire’s Mafia) take on any and all comers who dare to question their insight, ability or motives.

Indeed, each of these clashes will go toe-to-toe on television, on the Internet, and on Capitol Hill during the first eleven months of 2012. And why only eleven months? Well, it’s an EY (Election Year), which means that the CPWPAL (Cartoonish Politicians Who Pander and Lie) will be out in full force telling you anything they think you want to hear in order to secure your vote. Come December ‘12, they’ll all be back to their tone-deaf agendas.

Not to spoil your New Year’s diet plans, but since I come from the philosophical school of SPESDSS (Sugar Provides Emotional Solace During Stressful Situations), I suggest you plan on packing a few extra jelly doughnuts in your lunchbox this year. The kind with the GGO (Good Gooey Ooze) injected into them. When the seas of schooling get rough in the months ahead, you’ll thank me in spades.

Of course, the world of literacy instruction won’t be spared from all the tumult. The WGTNMFFF (We Gotta Teach New Media, Forward, Forward, Forward) progressives will launch lots of grenades at the ITCOTLNJTTTMETIDNRKHTUTTM (It’s the Content of the Lesson, Not Just the Technology, That Matters...Even Though I Do Not Really Know How to Use the Technology Myself) crowd. And though I do not consider myself to be all that prescient, I do believe this one is a battle that will most likely last for at least another decade.

The DOCs (Defenders of the Canon) will stand nose-to-nose with the AOYAL (Advocates of YA Literature). The EO (English Only) faction will knock heads with the BI (Bilingual Instruction) believers. And the WMDAWCTROTS (We Must Do Anything We Can to Raise Our Test Scores) crowd, well...who won’t they fight?

But curiously, there will be “shades-of-grey” skirmishes as well, such as when the fearful PEFOTOEWALOJs (Prepare ’Em for the Test or We’ll All Lose Our Jobs!) employees find themselves in conflict with LIAMTJTBT (Life is About More than Just the Bubble Tests) workers. Interestingly, this is will be a quarrel where members of each sideline find themselves opposing yet simultaneously sympathizing with their counterparts on the opposite sideline—a real head-scratcher indeed.

So what more can you do beyond arming yourself with jelly doughnuts to make sure your PFTQ (Preparation for this Quagmire) is where it needs to be as the calendar year turns?

To that I say, think MBAS (Mind, Body and Spirit).

To fortify your mind, think like a child.
To nourish your body, I recommend green apples.
And when it comes to your spirit, well...has any teacher ever really gone wrong watching this?

Alphabet soup has long since absconded with literacy education, public schooling and cogent administration. Therefore, in 2012, you might as well just EMOTS (Expect More of the Same) because you know soon enough someone is gonna PALOHMROOTBACIONP (Pull Another Load of Horse Manure Right Out of Their Butt and Call it Our New Policy).

Alan Sitomer was named California's 2007 Teacher of the Year. In addition to being an inner-city high school English teacher and former professor in the Graduate School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, Alan is a nationally renowned speaker specializing in engaging reluctant readers who received the 2004 award for Classroom Excellence from the Southern California Teachers of English, the 2003 Teacher of the Year honor from California Literacy, the 2007 Educator of the Year award by Loyola Marymount University and the 2008 Innovative Educator of the Year from The Insight Education Group. He’s the author of six young adult novels, three children's picture books, two teacher methodology books, and a classroom curriculum series for secondary English Language Arts instruction called THE ALAN SITOMER BOOK JAM. A Fun Look at Our Serious Work will appear quarterly on the Engage/Teacher to Teacher blog.
© 2012 Alan Lawrence Sitomer. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise.
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