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A Piece of My Mind
September 2, 1998

Hey! I'm a Teacher Too

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;280(9):765. doi:10.1001/jama.280.9.765

Between seeing patients, performing administrative duties, and writing papers, I don't often have time for epiphanies. However, just recently I had one. It started with that age-old problem that parents of young children dread: homework.

My son Azra and I were working on a set of second-grade addition problems. His school uses the Chicago System for teaching mathematics. I am told this method is problem-solving–oriented compared with the traditional rote learning of arithmetic that many of us grew up with. The system has its own set of intrinsic rules that few but the initiated understand. I'm sure it leaves many parents in the dark, despite the nearly nightly letters from teachers explaining what the little boxes on the worksheets signify.