A teacher wrote:

…I have been asked to provide more documentation, assessments and curriculum maps with lessons to my admin to justify my work, and I am feeling overwhelmed and misunderstood….

Everyone takes it as natural that, if a teacher wants to be in the good graces of those who employ her, she would of course provide such documentation, assessments and curriculum maps, or risk a slap on the wrists at one end or firing at the other. Thus control is maintained and teachers are put in strait jackets and have legitimate complaints like the one above.

Most teachers believe in the “unspoken policy” described above without thinking that there are options. Those who see options are typically labeled as radical and made to look and feel odd and somehow not in the club. This takes its toll over the years.

But in giving in to the machine, teachers make an error. They allow themselves to be bullied. They believe the game.

(As Greg implied a few days ago, those forced lesson plans and curriculum documents rarely if ever get read or thought about by anyone. How many times has anybody in our PLC been confronted over fake curriculum docs that they submitted in order to just hand in the required documents? I never got caught once in 38 years.)



16 thoughts on “Bullying”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Dear Bullied Teacher,
    As Ben said, the documentation – curric maps, scope & sequence, word lists, goals, mission & vision, guide blurbs, Cornerstone Assessment (to insure a common language experience across schools) parent overviews are CYA for the admin. This ‘stuff’ is rarely used by the average CI teacher, if they are given the academic freedom to co-create language with the Ss before them. There are lots of curricular docs to beg, steal and borrow from here on Bens site.
    I refer you to our (Winnetka Public School) Wiggins & McTighe-aligned World Language KUD’s – Knows, Understands and Does.


  2. Why not do Tina´s “assessment battery” That provides a TON of evidence of student work.

    Here’s another thing I did: Have students re-tell any of the stories from the entire year. They must 1) Describe the character 2) Tell the story: Where, when, why, with whom, problem solution. They record this on video chat through Lets Recap dot com.

    You grade it on a three tiered scale: 100 percent- Can do the task with ease 80 percent- Can do the task with some difficulty 70% Can do the task with much difficulty.

    Some kids came with it memorized. Who cares? Those same kids know how to translate it anyway. Plus you get some good samples.

    I announced this a week ahead of time. It took 10 minutes to do in class due to technology stuff.

    I have a crate with the timed writes. Each student maintains a folder. I do those once every 1.5 weeks. I use the Scott Benedict Template which has the lines numbered. I have a student job of “folder alphabatizer”. I have students write the date clearly on their timed write form.

    I only look at those once in awhile. Occasionally if I need more grades I use Blaine Ray’s Timed write rubric for a grade. BOOM!

    How many traditional teachers can tell you how many words their students can currently write in the language by going to alphabatized folders in a crate?

    Another option: Multiple choice scantron exams based on the stories. 20 questions. Send that through the scantron machine…..BOOM Now you have just assessed reading comprehension.

    1. How can I find out what Tina’s assessment battery consists of or get access to it? I am so appreciative of the all the videos, candor and support that this community provides!

      Thank you!


      1. Phil the assessment battery is currently part of the intense writing that Tina and I – Tina more than I – are doing to prepare the Cycles book. Greg got that information at our Chicago workshop last summer, but we should have it available by January or so.

  3. It’s very hard for anyone to understand that the experts- Dr. Krashen, Dr. BVP say that assessment has NO PLACE in language classes.

    BVP has been saying on his podcast that assessment is a waste of time in language classes. This is an ACTFL-published author and SLA expert. If there’s an admin that you have confidence with I’d start sharing that type of stuff in short doses.

    If no one questions the system nothing changes.

    One of my colleagues at work (teachers in another department) told me he took 4 years of Spanish including AP Spanish in high school and doesn’t know ANYTHING.

    This experience is near universal in the USA. Now ask yourself….was the problem that they weren’t TESTED enough?

  4. This past summer at iFLT when Dr. K and BVP were chillin’ onstage, answering Qs from the fans, some asked a very pointed Q again about assessment in the WL classroom and Dr. K affirmed that it had NO PLACE IN THE WL CLASSROOM.

  5. I actually had the former head of curriculum say to me, when I brought to her attention that language acquisition isn’t conceptual like math or social studies and cannot be measured the same way – non-linear, unconscious and all that, and she said, “If you love it, you can measure it.” To which I responded, “How much do you love your children? What are the metrics on that?”
    She just smiled back….

  6. Now with the PERA law in Illinois, which links 30% of teacher evaluation to demonstrable student growth, if my kids get a ‘0’ on a 10 item vocab pre-assessment, and then a few months later get a 3 – or whatever rate of improvement I designate as the target – but say in this case it’s 30% – and they demonstrate that they ‘know’ 3 words a few months later – then Viola! my Ss have improved by 30% and I’m good to go… 3 words!!!
    Absurd, ¿no es cierto?

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