Paul, a teaching coach in a failing district, writes in Kitchen Table Math about the challenge of teaching a group of students that range from above grade level to five years below. Who does the teacher throw under the bus?
. . . if you follow the rules, and it’s perilous not to, you are by definition throwing 80% of your class under the bus. Teachers adjust the curriculum to try to push as many of the distribution as possible through the eye of the needle. They teach to their median. So by definition 40% of your class is bored and 40% don’t get it.
But I thought today’s teachers could differentiate instruction for every child’s needs. In my day, they couldn’t and there always was a bored group and a lost group. I survived by reading surreptitiously under the desk. I relied on friends to kick my chair if the teacher called on me.