Colman McCarthy {op-ed, Oct. 31} is as right as the rain that finally arrived here in September. I finished college in 1952, but the classroom wasn't any different back then. I had profs who jumped up and down at the blackboard in their eagerness to impart to us what they loved so well. At the other end of the spectrum, I remember one in chemistry who spent 49 minutes at the lectern reading the text aloud and 60 seconds specifying the next session's assignment.

In my time, most students held in awe anyone with a formal degree; PhDs were virtual gods and were absolutely addressed as "Doctor." Thus, we suffered -- not in silence, but in passing along to those behind us the scoop on whom to avoid if possible.

A good teacher must 1) know the subject cold, 2) have an organized mind, 3) be an extrovert, 4) be a rhetorician and 5) communicate enthusiasm. The ideal professor must be a thespian, exiting the podium with a sense of fatigue as well as accomplishment.

Perhaps the imperatives of the latter 20th century and the coming of the 21st will dictate change, and the students at the University of Iowa are waving the sword of a vanguard. I hope so. But still, where do we find the pedagogic paragons who can wind the stems of their intellectual clocks as Mr. McCarthy would have it? Sadly, come what may, the onus will continue to ride the backs of students, present and future. EDWIN DALLAS KENNEDY College Park