Share

Paul Miller Loved Teaching Math So Much That He Did It For Nearly 80 Years

Paul Miller shares a fun with his grandson, Max. They play poker together, yet as a numbers guy, Miller is tough to beat.

LA Johnson/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

LA Johnson/NPR

Paul Miller shares a fun with his grandson, Max. They play poker together, yet as a numbers guy, Miller is tough to beat.

LA Johnson/NPR

Most teachers these days final no some-more than 5 to 10 years in a classroom, yet Paul Miller taught math for scarcely 80. At one point, he was deliberate a “oldest active accredited teacher” in a U.S.

His career started in his hometown of Baltimore. It was 1934, a Dust Bowl was wreaking massacre in a Plains, Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by military in Louisiana, and a thuggish politician named Adolf Hitler became boss of Germany.

Miller taught facile propagandize kids by day, college students during night and his mom on weekends.

“I had to learn her how to write her name and a residence of her house,” he says.

His parents, Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, had really small schooling. They had arrived in a U.S. prolonged before a Nazis assigned their nation in 1941.

“My relatives spoke Yiddish,” says Miller. “They didn’t know any English during all.”

Lisa, Miller’s youngest daughter, talks about her father’s career as documented by journal clippings and photographs on arrangement in his room.

LA Johnson/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

LA Johnson/NPR

Lisa, Miller’s youngest daughter, talks about her father’s career as documented by journal clippings and photographs on arrangement in his room.

LA Johnson/NPR

Miller didn’t know English really good himself when he started abbreviation school. But he went on to do good and enrolled in a usually college he could afford, a teachers school. It incited out to be a good preference since training was one of a few jobs accessible during a Great Depression. Every dollar Miller done as a clergyman he gave to his relatives — until he got married.

Miller and his mother lifted 7 children during some flattering tough times. The family struggled on his clergyman wages, yet Lisa, Miller’s youngest child, remembers that as prolonged as her father was teaching, he was happy.

“I don’t consider he ever deliberate it work since he desired what he was doing,” she says.

Miller was inducted into a National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2011, an respect he never expected. “If we spin a clergyman to spin famous, forget it,” he says.

Courtesy of Lisa Miller


hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Lisa Miller

These days Miller, who has mislaid many of his hearing, stays in an assisted vital trickery in Baltimore where his family visits him often. His grandkids, Ilana and Max, call him “Papa.” Miller loves personification poker with them, yet he is tough to beat.

“Until we met Mr. Miller in 1978, we always suspicion math was boring,” says one of his former students, John Shapiro. A mechanism engineer, Shapiro listened we were profiling his all-time favorite clergyman and says he had to come by and explain because he favourite Mr. Miller so much.

“He had a approach of creation it really easy, really simple,” he says. “It worked for me, that’s for sure.”

Miller says he lights adult when former students come by to see him, bringing behind smashing memories and reminding him of a impact he has had.

The pivotal to training math, says Miller, boils down to one thing — repetition. “Repetition is one of a foundations of learning.”

Repetition and rote memorization aren’t accurately slicing corner these days, yet it’s tough to remonstrate with a recommendation Miller gives teachers who are only starting out: “Be certain that we know your subject.”

You have to consternation though, is that enough? we remind Miller that even gifted teachers who know their things are withdrawal a contention in droves these days. So we ask him either in his 78-year career, there ever was a time he felt like withdrawal a profession.

“Any time we have a bad day we consider of that,” says Miller. “The subsequent morning, it’s all forgotten.”

Miller chuckles. It’s transparent he still misses being in a classroom. Even a heart conflict during age 84 didn’t stop him from going behind to teaching. Miller continued for 14 some-more years.

By a time he late in 2014, he had created a college math text and spin a initial Maryland clergyman to be inducted into a National Teachers Hall of Fame.

It was a prolonged overdue approval that Miller wasn’t certain he deserved and positively never expected.

“If we spin a clergyman to spin famous, forget it,” he says laughing.

The famous Paul Miller will spin 101 in October.