by John Beisner
Esteemed Fellow Instructors,
Welcome to my web log! I'm calling it a “wlog” for short—hope it catches on.
Allow me to introduce myself and it:
My name is John Beisner, your humble colleague. I've been with Five Keys in Northern California for nigh upon three years. During that time I've taught in custody and in the community, both Independent Study and Classroom Instruction. Like many or most of you, I've been called upon to teach in just about every subject area. This has brought me into contact with tons of curriculum (literally) as well as tons of other teachers (probably also literally). This has led me to some real hard conclusions:
1) Five Keys teachers are awesome. I mean, 98% of us are amazing 98% of the time. Statistically speaking, this makes us some of the most outstanding humans who have ever lived. Congratulations!
2) Number 1 notwithstanding, we're mortal, fallible humans. As such, we tend to prefer what we already know. This applies to cereal, clothes and curriculum. Since we're often called upon to teach the same subject matter over and over, we tend to rely upon the same, familiar materials. Tried, tested and true. But also tired?
To wit: I've adopted the internationally renowned curricula assessment criteria developed by Dr. A.E. Geigenhopfer. For each packet, I will ask the the following questions: is the packet...
Then you can say, “that packet is good, but is it REALI good?”
Okay here's the rub: I have no expertise in curriculum, no grounds to criticize those who compiled or created it and no claim whatsoever to any insight beyond that of my peers. If anything, I know less about what constitutes “good” curriculum than those many teachers with vastly superior experience. “Why, therefore” (you may justly ask) “should I pay any attention to this wlog?”
Good question! The answer is that this wlog is not meant to be didactic (it won't be REALI good) but rather to give exposure and attention to new curriculum. After reading a review, you'll likely have one of three reactions: you'll say...
1) “What an interesting and amusing review! Now that I've been inspired to check out this new curriculum for myself (something I might not have done otherwise given my busy schedule), I fully agree with John's assessment and shall add this new curriculum to my repertoire immediately. Reading that wlog—and visiting the BITE in general—was certainly worth the 2-10 minutes of my time. Hurray! I'm happy now.”
2) “I checked out that new curriculum for myself and wow, that John is an utter fool. His assessment is all wrong and his acronym is only slightly catchy. I find the curriculum to be [better/worse] than he says and [will/won't] start using it in my teaching practice. I'm really glad I spent 2-10 minutes of my time reading that review—and visiting the BITE in general—so that I can [implement/avoid] that curriculum going forward. I'm happy now...albeit in an agitated kind of way. Grrr/hurray!”
3) “I have no idea what that guy is talking about and don't really care about his opinions. The world is already too full of acronyms and wlogs for my liking. Still, I'm glad to have been made aware of this new curriculum. I'm so busy being a statistically outstanding person that I might not have noticed it on Chaska's Curriculum Blog since, being mortal, I tend to be biased toward what I already know and trust. What an excellent use of 2-10 minutes of my time! Hurray.”
See the redemptive potential of my sometimes half-baked opinions? Like reading a review of a movie before you see it, it doesn't really matter if you agree with the reviewer or not. The review will have pre-heated your intellectual oven to help you more readily achieve your own delicious opinions. Who knows? I might even say something intentionally controversial just to add a little intrigue. You can always rip my arguments to shreds in the comment section. I'll just blame it on Dr A.E. Geigenhopfer, who is not a made up person at all.
Thanks for reading!