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    Don't take it personally!
    By Susan

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    It seems like everyone is blaming the teachers these days for students' shortcomings. I am so sick and tired of reading on the board that teachers feel that it is another teacher's fault when students are difficult. They may not have met your class ... or mine. Like you, I have a difficult fifth grade class. At my school we track the kids and then trade them around for different subjects. I have all the very challenged language learners, most of the serious behavior problems, and all the RSP students. Although everyone is low academically, mostly things are okay ... except when it comes to behavior. I don't know about you, but it seems in my class there are three or four students with MAJOR behavior problems, and they set off those kids who are on the borderline between good behavior and rebelling (about half the class). While some kids are always good and sweet, you barely notice these kids as you deal with all the problems. Despite the fact that parents don't support the school's disciplinary actions and kids don't consistently turn in work (and again, we're not talking about everyone here), teachers get blamed for what the kids do. It's a whole culture of blame, stemming from the stupid state that thinks the difference between low and high test scores is the teacher alone. I don't like all this blame and guilt, because it breeds negative feelings between teachers, administrators, and parents. I was very upset about all of this, but I talked to another teacher (a veteran), and she is feeling the same way about being blamed for her students' (now my students) performance on the test. So even though your situation really stinks, at least you're not the only one in it.

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