Sunday, October 23, 2016

Veteran Newark Teacher's Descent into "The Tyranny of Sight Words"

My sight words for the upcoming week are "is, this, no" for my kindergarten ESL unit on transportation... Abigail Shure, Newark teacher 
There is no need to create works of fiction related to the particular hell so many teachers are subjected to in the world of Aggressive Monitoring by clueless supervisors. It seems the more experience a teacher has the more aggressive the monitoring, inversely related to the amount of actual teaching experience the monitor has.

You see, these supervisors really don't need to interact with children, since they see teachers as children, the more experienced these teachers are, the more they are treated as infants.

Our Newark teacher correspondent comes up with yet another tour de force.
The Tyranny of Sight Words

On Friday, I met with my vice principal for the umpteenth critique of my lesson plans. The slow learner child buried deep inside of me can never seem to get it right. The focus of the latest iteration of lesson plan torture is sight words. 

I can hear you all saying, "What? Really? She doesn't know what sight words are? How long has she been teaching?" 

You may breathe a collective sigh of relief. I do know what sight words are. I merely did not understand their centrality in the nightmare of lesson planning. I am now cognizant of the fact that sight words must last for the duration of one week and the presence of those particular sight words is required in all intentional read alouds for that particular week. My sight words for the upcoming week are "is, this, no" for my kindergarten ESL unit on transportation. The words were conveniently gleaned from the confluence of the book Is This the Bus for Us? and the list of 114 sight words. 

A problem emerged, however, when I naively attempted to add Iggy Iguana's Trip to the reading list. I favor Iggy's trip because he flew in an airplane. Unfortunately for my charges and me, "is, this, no" make no appearance in this sacred text and the book has been relegated to the maybe read later pile. Due to my ineptitude in locating enough books with the week's sight words, I am scheduling the hideous practice of repeating a read aloud of Is This the Bus for Us? albeit with a new focus of instruction. I managed to squeeze in Curious George because that classic contained "is, this, no" and George traveled by car, row boat, ship and balloons.

As part of my district's wise initiative of Aggressive Monitoring, I am expected to assess my children three times each net forty minute period. It was suggested by my administrator that I vary the assessments to include word writing, arranging magnetic letters, labeling and circling the correct word type activities. I spent five and a half hours yesterday devising two weeks worth of sight word central lesson plans for my kindergarten and first grade charges. Did I mention that I already have 49 students? I live in terror that my top favorite books will not be replete with the appropriate weekly vocabulary as I enter the realm of the Tyranny of Sight Words.

Abigail Shure
Next week's sight words for Abbie's principal of vice: are, you, an, asshole.


  1. Insane enough to be funny if children weren't involved. The sick part is that "Iggy Iguana's Trip" is a phonics reader so it looks like teacher is supposed to use only phony, formula texts for read alouds. Sick. Sick. We used to wait until 7th grade to ruin school for kids. Now we start early.

  2. is = hope
    this = imagination
    no = perseverance
    When nothing makes sense, I just play with words to find sense. Abigail Shure makes total sense.


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