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    "worst" teacher - to JS
    By Carolyn

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    Hi JS,

    During my first three years of teaching, I was stuck in a situation like yours. I worked as a remedial math teacher for our school, and I was sent the very lowest children (usually around fifteen kids) from each classroom--a collection of the lowest from five fifth grade classrooms, a collection of the lowest from the fourth grade, and so on. Most of the teachers purposely chose their "lowest" to be their behavior problems. I taught those who were also very, very low and very, very sweet, but they all had one thing in common: They could not do the quality of work that the other children could. It was very tiring and stressful teaching kids like that. I also felt at some point that I was not accomplishing as much as I could have or should have. Between you and me, I don't know how I survived working in those conditions, and after the third year of doing that job I told my principal that I had to quit. I had been taken to the hospital by our school's nurse with stress related problems one school day and had to go on medication. I had had to settle for this job, because I was a new teacher and jobs were scarce in my area in relation to the supply of teachers.

    I had a very low class last year. Almost all of them had failed the state tests in math and reading the year before I got them, and I kept reminding myself of my limitations as a teacher. The kids had poor attitudes, and the parents weren't much help for their children. Many of them could not, or would not, stay on task.

    Don't worry about those tests. You will do everything that you are expected to, but you, too, should realize that as a teacher you can only do so much with these children.

    If you want a shoulder to cry on, e-mail me. I'll listen.

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