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I have always tried to respect people and their professions ["Teacher evals in court," News, Feb. 8]. I would never dare tell a plumber working in my house or a mechanic fixing my car how to do their jobs.

For some reason, everyone who has sat in a classroom feels he or she can tell teachers how and what to teach. I agree that districts should get rid of bad teachers, but those who believe that a test can say who is doing a good job are dead wrong.

There are so many outside factors, economic and social, that affect students, making it hard to pinpoint the reasons for failure or success. When I was a department chairman, I had advanced-placement teachers who saw 100 percent of their students pass state exams. Yet those same teachers' percentages dropped by 30 to 40 points in their lower-level classes. Did they forget how to teach between the third and fourth periods?

As a teacher, I had students tell me they could not study or do homework because their child was ill. I've heard about students having to stay home for a week to watch brothers and sisters because their parents could not miss work.

A person who brings 100 clients into his company in a year, as opposed to one who brings in 20, can be called more successful. It's not as easy in teaching. I know we need to evaluate, but relying on exams is a very bad way to do it.

Robert Melo Sr., Massapequa Park

Editor's note: The writer is retired from the South Country school district.

Enough already about teacher evaluations. Conduct unannounced observations, like in every other job.

You can't judge a teacher's performance solely on student performance, because some of the kids don't want to be there. These students are usually a discipline problem and disrupt classes and the teacher's ability to teach. Administrators need to see this and kick these kids out.

Jill Holmes, Centereach