Education loves acronyms. I suppose all organizations do. We name things in a way we hope people will remember so that we can say or email one word instead of the three, four, or five. It’s bureaucratic shorthand. The problem comes when we actually stop to think about them.
An email arrived today on the heels of one reminding us to talk to our students about HOT. In an effort to amp up the rigor of our lessons, we are being pressed to employ Higher Order Thinking whenever possible. This is demeaning for several reasons. First, it assumed we weren’t already doing this. Second, it fails to take into account student motivation. Increase the rigor they command. And the kids tell us, nah, I’ll take the hit. They’d rather freeze us out and take zeroes than face the more difficult HOT tasks.
Today’s email was less deplorable, but lamentable nonetheless. It seems the special education department wants all teachers to fill out a joint google-doc on a student’s performance prior to the student’s annual planning meeting (or PPT: planning and placement team, I believe). They named it the PLOP form. I kid you not. Present Levels of Performance form. Everyone needs to use the same doc so that we can see each other’s PLOPS. No, really. That’s what they told us and – here’s the amazing part – they said it with a straight face. They probably even thought we were being immature at laughing at this. Why not call it Student’s Levels of Performance, someone snickers from the back of the room. Couldn’t it just be the PL form – performance levels form – a science teacher suggests. Why not call it the PPT form, a rookie asks. All are vetoed. The form has already been made. Thank you for your input, but no. Fill out your PLOPs and be sure to look at other teacher’s PLOPs when you do.