The saddest thing about the education career I have worked in for 22 years is that, according to most mainstream opinion outside of every school building, we never get it right. We are always pressured to look for new curriculums, give more tests, hold teachers for accountability, having to accept the physical and emotional results of very bad and sometimes abusive parenting and then be told we are the reason the kids don’t learn. The teachers today are scared of not looking right on paper for the saving fate of the school, to be sure we are not responsible for messing up the way a test is given, the way a specialized curriculum tells us to teach, or how we handle a violent kid who has no rules on what they can’t do for our protection. But it’s common to see most of the kids accept us for who we are in most cases. Most kids love us. They don’t complain and say we’re not trying to teach them. They all know the game very well. There are three groups of kids; One group loves to learn and takes pride in it no matter how crazy and nutty some of the curriculums are. One group decides what they want to know and when they want to know it, and if they even want to care about it at all, preferring to be a clown, a troublemaker, a sleeper, whatever. One group really has trouble getting it down, trying to understand but can’t push against the wall of not enough time, or not enough practical real life and hands-on projects to get what it all means, so they get labeled and shifted down the hall. They know what that label and that class down the hall means; the same thing everywhere you go–that it’s the kid and not the system that is out of balance. The label sticks all the way through grade school and junior high and high school–no matter what people say—it sticks for 90 to 95% of the kids labeled. But I’m telling you it is mostly the system, and sometimes a teacher who can’t or won’t handle the fact that it’s ok for one or more kids to stay in the regular ed room, even if they won’t get higher than a D. The teacher can change that. I’ve done it lots of times–changing the way I grade and what I grade and what I give for assignments based on abilities. I have to add that I’ve never had a load of higher than 11 kids in the special ed classes I have taught. And if I had a class of 20 or more, I could still do it until I was told not to which has happened before even with only a handful of kids. I think my main purpose and audience for writing this is not the families with the kids who can and want to learn the stuff in the schools, who can handle the books and worksheets and tests that dominate 90% of the lessons given. It is for the rest of you. Go easy on your kids if they can’t get it because it is only 20% of their challenge and 80% of the way the system works. And please go easy on the teachers a bit. Yes, there are some who don’t listen to the parents, who think they are dukes and duchesses of a castle whose authority reigns over your home. But most of the teachers really do care and really do try to work the best they can through the pressures of outside groups and government who don’t know what it is really like to teach under control of a crippled and out of date system. I am a great teacher, so I’ve been told by many, and I say it is because of the great teachers I had and recognized while they were teaching me. I always said to myself as I struggled through 5 years of college to be a teacher. ” THAT teacher is who I want to be like.” And I worked at it. I love to teach. I understand it very well. I know that most of our teachers everywhere do not deserve the public and government verbal and legislative beatings we have to take. In my opinion.