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Rewards of teaching

March 14, 2009

Re "A formula for fun and success," March 8

A calculus teacher collects a $1,000 prize for his teaching ability. A corporate executive who runs his company into the ground collects a multimillion-dollar bonus. This pretty much sums up how much education and teachers are valued in this country.

This state, in particular, puts little value on learning. We need to take a hard look at our priorities. Education should be at the top of the list. If we all have to pay more in taxes, so be it.

Helen Freeman

Anaheim

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Sam Calavitta's unorthodox teaching style resembles that of a sports coach or a drill sergeant rather than a traditional teacher -- and it is exactly what kids need.

In the United States, our military and our sports teams routinely turn average young men and women into exceptional ones. Yet in the classroom, most teachers prefer to review homework, offer notes and few examples and then assign students to work by themselves or in small groups.

Coaches of sports teams make their charges practice drills over and over, often offering immediate, drill-sergeant-like feedback until everyone gets it right. This teacher-led practice is exactly what is missing in many of our classrooms.

Alex Benn

Los Angeles

The writer is a math teacher at Byrd Middle School in Sun Valley.

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