How many of these characteristics are top priority in your classroom? Countless homeless, foster, low-income, and abused students are enrolled in K—12 schools nationwide. When students with special needs, English language learners (ELLs), and students who’ve been suspended from school are added in, it’s apparent that being a teacher isn’t easy, especially now when teachers are expected to raise test scores at all costs. In fact, today teacher morale—particularly in high-needs schools—is at a 20-year low. Nevertheless, it’s still possible for teachers to work effectively with “challenging” students.