Teacher and Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-13, and LAUSD Daily is celebrating the classroom heroes who work every day to educate, lead, mentor and inspire the students of L.A. Unified. Each day this week, we will profile a teacher or substitute teacher selected by their Local District administrators as an example of the highly skilled and dedicated professionals who make up our teaching corps. Today, we feature R. Sunil Melattinkara, a math teacher at Thomas Jefferson Senior High School in Local District Central.
Born and raised in India and fluent in six languages, R. Sunil Melattinkara has brought his global teaching experience to Thomas Jefferson Senior High School, where a sign posted in his math classroom reads, “Welcome to the wonderful world of learning.”
There, day in and day out, the teacher known to students and colleagues as “Mr. M” takes his high-level math students through mind-bending lessons on linear equations and matrices, polynomials and logarithms, sines and cosines. He incorporates technology into his instruction, with flexible tasks that allow students to learn in multiple ways.
“Mr. M. encourages students and teachers to believe in themselves and to continue trying even after several failed attempts – to consider yet another way to find solutions to math – and to life’s – toughest problems,” said Jefferson Principal Agustin Gonzalez.
Administrators credit Mr. M with the incredible improvement in student performance on Advanced Placement Calculus exams. Since he arrived at Jefferson in 2009, the pass rate on the rigorous Calculus AB exam has jumped from zero to 65 percent, while 100 percent of his class passed the Calculus BC test. In addition, the class average has jumped from 1 to 4.5 on the 5-point scale, a score that makes students eligible for college credit.
“We are fortunate to have teachers like Mr. M. who bring so much love, knowledge and effort and instill hope and promise for all students,” said Local District Central Superintendent Roberto Martinez.
With master’s degrees in both education and mathematics, Mr. M has been a teacher for more than 20 years. He and his family came to the United States in 2007 as part of a cultural exchange program. Mr. M was inspired and influenced by his father, who taught math in the family’s native India. That legacy is one he hopes to one day pass down to one or both of his two sons.
“Teaching, teaching, teaching,” Mr. M. said. “That is my passion.”