Dear Barbara ...
I've created the Dear Barbara column as a way for subs to get answers to questions about any subbing topic or suggestions that may help you solve a specific problem in substitute teaching.

If you'd like to submit a question, please click here and be sure to include your name and home town. Answers to the best questions will be published here.

I Don't Understand this Lesson Plan!

Dear Barbara,

Teachers seem to have their own language! Sometimes the lesson plans contain words and acronyms that I don't understand. When all the teachers are talking together at lunch, I feel left out. What is an IEP? What is DOL? What is ADHD? What is ESOL? What is DEAR time?

Drowning in Dallas,

Dear Rachel,

The jargon can be overwhelming. It can be embarrassing to ask questions that may be obvious to others. In time you will master these acronyms. But for now, here's a little glossary of some basic words used regularly in schools.

IEP - Individualized Education Plan. Special needs students have a document outlining the plan of study. This will include special modifications made for that particular student.

DOL - Daily Oral Language is an series of sentences with lots of mistakes! Students are told to edit the sentences and make them grammatically correct.

ADD and ADHD - these are terms representing Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity.

ESOL or ESL -English Speakers of Other Languages. At times during the day, ESOL teachers will take these students out of the classroom for extra help with language.

DEAR time - Drop Everything and Read

DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education

ESE - Exceptional Student Education - includes many areas, such as students with learning disabilities

GT - Gifted students. The special programs for these students are sometimes known as TAG (Talented and Gifted), or Enrichment programs.

SIP - School Improvement Plan

SAC - School Advisory Council

We teachers have our own language. For a full list of terms, see

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