One of my colleagues, one I seldom speak to, blasted me today for writing assignments and texts that she sees as totally inappropriate for the students I am teaching. she said that they assume knowledge the students could never have, and that the students she sees at the writing center are totally at sea.
I see some of her students who are at sea also, though she assumes the material she teaches is so much closer to their experience. I insist that it's not the material, but the way it's taught that makes the difference.
Of course, some students are going to fail, no matter what you teach them. But all the same, aside from my defensive reaction, she may be right that I really should be teaching at another level.
I try hard to make whatever I'm teaching accessible to the students, and see my colleagues teaching material that is at least as challenging. In fact, I am often surprised at just how much they ask of their students, and they are getting it from them too. So perhaps it is just that our perceptions about teaching and these students are worlds apart, something I had already guessed, though we hadn't spoken much.