We are trained to exhaustion--often on techniques we know well and have used for quite a while. We also have to take courses to keep current in our subjects in order to keep our licenses. Our education association lobbies for us and keeps us well informed on what is going on with all legislation that would impact us.
In some states teachers are fired for low test scores. Virginia isn't one of them (was a very, very close vote in the legislature though). Test scores do make up the largest part of one's yearly evaluation and can cause one to be designated as being in improvement. That adds a ton of extra work and stress, and long term failure to improve can lead to termination.
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The students are being trained to use their native language in a grammatically correct manner and to write argumentatively without errors in logic. That is what is expected of them on the state writing test in two weeks. I don't think it's asking a lot, but for this particular group it is because they have never bothered to learn the most basic tenants of English grammar, and there is no other way to know them. They have had horrible writing test scores from the primary grades on up to high school, and they are making no effort to do better now. They don't seem to believe or care that they cannot graduate without passing this test even though they could be moved along even with failing scores at the lower grades.
If it's the history of the English language, someone has uploaded an excellent BBC documentary on that topic to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsVz5U76kX0. If you are interested in the history of the country, here are BBC documentaries on that: http://shop.bbc.com/us/video/documentary/icat/videodocumentary#esp_cf=CategoryTitle&esp_filter_CategoryTitle=British%20History&esp_hitsperpage=48 I have found the great majority of BBC documentaries to be excellent. I didn't look on YouTube for any of these, but some may be there. I have used the history of the language more than the history of the country for classes. I teach juniors. It's the senior classes that get into the country's history. I hope this helps you some.