In no way am I trying to trivialize my profession, but I've often thought that being a teacher is similar to playing a game of cards. I play the hand I'm dealt. I've no control over which cards I get at the beginning of the year, but I do control how I play the game. Now that the game is almost over, I look at my cards and ask myself, "How'd I do?" It's tempting to look at certain cards and list off excuses as to why that particular one didn't do as well in the game as I would have liked. I've been there many times when someone asks "How's so and so doing?" and I start listing off home, social, or motivation problems that get in the way. Although valid, those excuses are things I had no control over. I can only worry about how I strategically used that card to its best advantage. My goal is to find a way to sharpen my card playing skills in a way that ensures the success of each one in spite of the external factors that I have absolutely no control over. Pie in the sky? Maybe.