James Bettendorf: free spirit

His colleagues call him a free spirit. Generous and caring. A mature, solid, well-rounded person. Someone who puts everything he’s got into what he’s doing. And certainly no one can accuse James Bettendorf of retiring in his retirement. A math teacher to kids and an educator of educators, Jim is educating himself about poems and their impact.

Jim taught mathematics and worked in education for more than 30 years. “Math and poetry are similar,” he says. “Math is an art, a creative thing. And being able to approach math in different ways in the teaching process, to reach all kids, feeds that creativity. Teachers have to be like swallows.”

Teachers also have to bend with change. “Kids themselves haven’t changed that much,” says Jim, “but they’re exposed to so much. Today’s children have a much bigger frame of reference than children in decades past.

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