A reader named Rcharvet wrote the following about his career as a teacher in an impoverished district in California.

All I know is for nearly 30 years, I taught the kids no one wanted. Back in the day, AWNOLD S wanted to have merit pay for teachers based on test scores (results). I turned and asked the kids, “Have I provided you with materials that you need? Have I stayed after school to help you? Have I helped with just about anything? Then why don’t you do your work? They replied, “I don’t know; there are always better things to do.” I said, “So if I am going to be evaluated on my “merits” then I am screwed, right?” I know they meant well, but just had no family support. At one school, we were testing and I said, “Just do your best.” The young student turned to me and said, “I don’t even understand the directions.” Meanwhile (our school was rated at a 1 out of 10) the other school was in the wealthy area (10) and didn’t even sweat the test. “What test?” Far too many had the stress levels of 34 year olds; translated for parents in the court system; made dinner and lunch for their siblings — they had more important things to do. Even though I would be deemed a “bad teacher” for not getting the kids to be “10s”, my son said that I was making a bigger difference in their lives than at the comprehensive high school. I stuck it out with “my kids” because they needed someone to believe in them; a hug; a ride home; food and water and clothes; and someone to remind them, “Without you, the world would be a darker place. You are meant to change the world whether you know it or not. And it will be the little things you do that with create the biggest change, not memorizing some facts for a test that you forget a week later. But, I guess that doesn’t count when looking at the analytics. Needless to say, for most teachers, why would they work at a place with kids who score low on tests? In the end, my tombstone would say, “He helped everyone and those who needed him the most.” Sad for those kids.