I was lucky to have had an exceptional math teacher in elementary school, Professor Thales. He was not funny. He was not especially patient with slackness. His exams were tough, and we had to work hard on home assignments. But he taught exclusively math. He was passionate about it, and his classes were precise, clear and straightforward. His teaching was based on strict logical reasoning. From him you would expect no nonsense, no condescension, no wasted effort, no paternalism. More than anything, he would never lower the bar.
I was lucky to have had in the seventies in Brazil good math education provided yet in the traditional Catholic mold, before the entire Brazilian educational system was poisoned by Marxist pedagogy. It was therefore with interest that I've read an article in the "American Educator" by Hung-Hsi Wu that proposes a math teaching model for the US that resembles the one that I was lucky to enjoy while young in Brazil. According to Wu:
Given that there are over 2 million elementary teachers, the problem of raising the mathematical proficiency of all elementary teachers is so enormous as to be beyond comprehension. A viable alternative is to produce a much smaller corps of mathematics teachers with strong content knowledge who would be solely in charge of teaching mathematics at least beginning with grade 4. ... Indeed, this is an idea that each state should seriously consider because, for the time being, there seems to be no other way of providing our children with a proper foundation for mathematics learning.
We have neglected far too long the teaching of mathematics in elementary school. The notion that "all you have to do is add, subtract, multiply, and divide" is hopelessly outdated. We owe it to our children to adequately prepare them for the technological society they live in, and we have to start doing that in elementary school. We must teach them mathematics the right way, and the only way to achieve this goal is to create a corps of teachers who have the requisite knowledge to get it done.