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Bagley helps a teacher in Virginia ...

Published June 18, 2013 5:03 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

This column by a retiring English teacher in Roanoke, Va., has been the most popular article on The Roanoke Times website for a couple of days.

It's a good piece. But no doubt was boosted by the clever decision of someone to attach a cartoon by The Salt Lake Tribune's own Pat Bagley.

— A letter to the ones left behind — Joan Vannorsdall... First, accept that meeting the individual learning needs of 110 students every day is simply impossible. No matter how many benchmark tests you administer, how precisely you think you have identified each student's Achilles heel, how much you love them — you can't control when they went to bed (or didn't) the night before; what they ate for breakfast (or didn't) that morning; whose parent just went to prison or lost a job. Life doesn't get measured very well on Quia tests, when you get right down to it.Think of it this way. Put a physician in a room with 25 patients, every single one of them with a different state of health/illness. Could the physician diagnose all of them with the same set of tests? Could she treat them all effectively in a 50-minute session? Accept that you are not a miracle worker, even if you are expected to be. Know you are doing the best you can do, as often as you can do it. ...