Principal Doublespeak: Having the Lesson Plan Takes Priority Over the Lesson


    If you haven't been following the travails of Moriah, a middle school science teacher in the process of receiving a U-rating, head on over and read the latest entry in the bizarre world of the NYCDOE. I know people at the school and this principal, notorious for emphasizing minutia and noted for choosing one teacher a year to pick on for a career-ending experience. One day Moriah will give the ok to go public with this stuff so that when someone googles the principal's name they will read this excerpt (head over to Untamed Teacher for the entire saga.)

    MORIAH: There is a big difference between not having a lesson plan and not having a lesson plan on the desk during a lab.

    PRINCIPAL: Tell me what the difference is.

    MORIAH: The difference in not having a lesson plan would have meant that I did not know that I had to bring 8 triple beam balances. I did not know that I had to bring 8 graduated cylinders, two bars of soap. In other words, I would not have known what to do that day. But the lab was very very carefully planned. All materials were present. I knew the exact procedure. All the children knew the exact procedure. There was 100% success rate in finding the density of both bars of soap. Children were able to write up a lab, an example of which I gave you and which I have here. So it would be impossible to do all that without writing up a lesson plan, but my emphasis was on having the equipment rather than having a piece of paper that I have memorized. You are always welcome to ask for it. I usually have a written lesson plan, but there are times when perhaps I might get caught without the piece of paper, but the lesson is not only planned, I have it memorized in my head.

    PRINCIPAL: But as per Chancellor’s memo 666 and the faculty handbook that you received at the beginning of the year, you must have a written plan and you must have the lesson plan available when it is requested. You said just now that you “usually” have a written lesson plan. All teachers must have a planned lesson. A written lesson plan. Please explain to me why you did not follow the faculty handbook, the Chancellor’s Regulations and the Principal’s Memos. You must have a written lesson plan ALL the time.


    On march 23, 2007 I was a traveling teacher and I had a small cart with 13 science project boards from 7F the lowest class that I had.

    The science projects were:

    How does color affect the melting rate of ice?
    How does a change in air pressure affect an egg?
    How does temperature affect an electromagnet?
    How can we use cabbage juice as a pH indicator?
    Which substance filters water the best?
    What is the effect of soda on the fizz of a soda?
    Will seeds grow better in a covered jar or an uncovered jar?
    How do we find if a food has starch?
    How much bounce will a handball lose if it is dropped from different heights?
    Have you ever wondered how clouds form?
    How will different amounts of baking soda and vinegar affect how high a film canister will pop?
    How does density of a liquid affect how ice floats.
    How can we test different liquids for pH?

    At that time I was overwhelmed by the number of boards on the cart. We were going to have a science project fair for 7F. Ms X came in and asked for the lesson plan and when she couldn’t find it she turned around and left without looking at the science projects of 7F. Without giving the children the approval that this low level class needed.

    PRINCIPAL: Let me repeat my question. Why did you not have a lesson plan?

    MORIAH: It was buried under 13 science boards.

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Principal Doublespeak: Having the Lesson Plan Takes Priority Over the Lesson


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