I have the best job in the world. It is never more evident that what I do is a Good Act than when I help adult students finally figure out how to do Algebra.
All of my Algebra students are adults. All of them. That's not because there are no younger Algebra students but because there are so many older ones. It's the shift from concrete to abstract, from dollars and cents to x and y. They may have tested through the class when they were young, with the rules drilled in to their heads by rote, but none of that remains in the adult mind when it isn't understood. They got left behind by standardization, the kind of standardization in fact of "no child left behind". Ahh, irony.
My job is to fix that. To pay attention to them and thus teach THEM, not the student next to them, not the mythical average student. And nobody is more touchingly thankful for what I do than the person who *knows* he needs me.