I am Feeling Acronymonious
There are lots of acronyms in the world of education. Sometimes we use the same ones for very different things. For example, E.D. This could mean you have a Doctorate in Education. It could also mean that a child is Emotionally Disturbed or has an Eating Disorder. On a calendar, it can mean that we have an Early Dismissal Day. If you are B.D. (Bob Dole) with an E.D., it means you have an Erectile Disfunction.
We usually don’t have to deal with the latter in Elementary education, thankfully.
Sometimes I confuse my acronyms. I attribute this to my age and the fact that my passwords to various software and hardware take up most of the storage space in my brain. However, my students seem to have this problem as well.
We were talking about different definitions of tolerance in my 5th grade Gifted and Talented class, and I asked my students to think of things that they felt were kind of acceptable today, but that they felt should not be tolerated. Most of them immediately thought of things that they felt were unfair to kids based on their ages, like driving, voting, and Rated R movies. One of my students raised her hand. This student often thinks in a completely different universe from the proverbial box, so I should have been prepared as soon as I saw her hand.
“Miss. What is your opinion of PTA?”
This completely threw me off kilter.
I am on the PTA board. That being said, I could probably think of a few things that could be done to improve the PTA. However, they were not necessarily the same things to which a 10 year old girl would object. Did she think kids should be on the Board? Was she going to suggest that we should serve doughnuts and pizza at the meetings? Did she want to vote on the nominations for the Nomination Committee – which seems amazingly redundant? Oh, wait. The last one was my perspective, not hers.
I was speechless. She took this to mean that I didn’t understand her. Which, apparently, I didn’t.
“You know, Miss. When teenagers are kissing in the park?”
“P.D.A.! You mean P.D.A.!” about five of us all realized at the same time.
“Public Display of Affection,” one of the boys loudly and proudly translated.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry,” she said sheepishly.
My relief to find out that she was not talking about PTA was short-lived. My tolerance of P.D.A. seemed to be an equally, if not more, dangerous topic than my tolerance of the PTA, with the potential to lapse into a very not appropriate classroom discussion.
How was she expecting me to respond to this, exactly?
Well, if you are E.D., and get suspended because you have an emotional outburst, or you are out of school early on an E.D. day, and you are in the park with your girlfriend, who has been fighting an E.D. because of the irrational expectations for women in today’s society, and you decide to engage in a P.D.A. instead of doing your homework, then I think your expectations of ever getting an E.D. in graduate school are P.D.A. (Pretty Darn Arrogant)
I would like you to note that, according to www.acronymfinder.com, there are over 115 different definitions of P.D.A. including Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia (which I am pretty certain, now, that I have) and Past Doctor Adventure (which I thought was a great way to start referring to my experiences in medical offices, but apparently refers to the Doctor Who novels.)
But I digress. Suffice it to say that I successfully changed the subject from my student’s suggestion to a more appropriate one about the P.D.A.’s teachers must engage in each time the students get a holiday on P.D. (President’s Day)
Professional Development Activities, People! Get your minds out of the gutter.