March 09, 2007

Sing with me: "It's a small world, after all..." Ian's mother and uncle took high school chemistry and physics from the same teacher, at the same school, I did, though about 20 years before me. And well, P. Q. Boomer is still at it, according to this article, which Ian's father forwarded to me.

Boomer is a performer. Too bad he didn't start his own circus or something. As a teacher, I'd say, not so much. It's always amusing to read these profile articles full of fond memories, but I'd really like a slightly more balanced approach. Not all the (former) students who don't like him didn't do well in his class. I did just fine. But, he definitely plays favorites to (a) popular students and (b) students whose parents he taught. His textbooks, in the early 1990s, dated from the late 1970s (so there is no mention of anything recent in chemistry or physics). When the text book wasn't clear enough and he was confronted with a student question, his response was always "Go read the book." And, as best as I could tell, he never reviewed the homework that was turned in; as long as your responses looked like they were long enough to be right, you got your points. It's entirely possible that I would remember much more chemistry and physics today had Boomer actually taught, instead of relying on old books, recycled lectures and showy demonstrations.

That said, he's quite the character, and the greater SLV area is more colorful with him, Boomeria, his castle (complete with secret passages!), his guillotine, his (homemade) pipe organ, his portcullis ("Slowly! Heads are softer than Iron!"), his catacombs, his water wars (which were a thing of the past when I was a student at SLV nearly 15 years ago - drought and all), and his trusty attack geese.

He will likely keep teaching until they do have to haul his cold body off his lab table. I think the school board should have made him an honorary teacher ages ago, so he could keep doing his explosions and keep luring folks to Boomeria for his annual Christmas Carol Organ-a-thon, while also bringing on a new science teacher to "complement" his class with up-to-date science and explanations for those confused by textbooks or who simply want to know more. Boomer may have inspired some students to "lucrative careers in Silicon Valley and Hollywood", but I'd bet they are all of the generation preceding mine. The gentleman whose quote closes the article is likely the father of one of my peers; he's 50 and I recognize the last name.

No comments:

Post a Comment