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9

The Unknown Math Teacher

George Berzsenyi is not a popular figure. I’m quite sure you have not heard of him. I haven’t heard of him either. But his success is not found in fame. His success is found in the thousands of lives he has touched. He has mentored a lot of high school students in the subject of math, and they loved him for it. He is, for the students, the main reason for their love of math.

Read the testimonies of these once protégés now turned the best scientists and mathematicians of America, as Joe Palca interviews them.

Teachers really are influential people.

(Image Credit: Sara Stathas for NPR)


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I envy those who enjoyed school and it must have been great to have such an inspiring teacher. I couldn't even tell you the name of my maths teacher, he was that uninspiring. In fact, I can only remember the names of three of my secondary school (England) teachers: one, because he instilled in me a lifelong love of geography and the other two because they were sarcastic sadists who got evident pleasure from beating boys with a cane. The rest just fade into a morass of mediocrity. Prefects were also allowed to beat the boys with a worn and flexible plimsoll (gym shoe) for minor infringements such as not wearing the school cap outside school. or eating outside mealtimes. This was a 'top school' and was always in the top five for university placements in the UK. Nobody cared about those who, like me, had no ambition to go to university. It has left me with an everlasting hatred of my schooldays. Such treatment would be against the law these days.
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