I didn’t have many male teachers growing up. Â When I got to junior high, that changed. Â My science and technology teacher was Mr. Banks (yes, kids, way back when in the olden days, they used to actually have a class called “technology” and in it we had commodore 64’s. Google it!).
Mr. Banks was a tall cat. I always thought that he could be an ex-basketball player. Â Maybe he played for the Knicks? He had this laid back “don’t f**k with me” attitude that made all the kids love him and respect him all at once. Â And in that neighborhood, with those kids, that wasn’t always something that everyone could accomplish.
I loved Mr. Banks because he listened to me. Â I was good in his science class. I remember him letting me go to the classroom during lunch period so that I could dissect a kidney.
The biggest impact he had on me though, was in his technology class. Â That’s the class where we learned all about computers. Â I remember that the other kids used to like to play video games. I don’t recall what the general purpose of the class was or what we did as far as assignments were concerned. I suppose it was to introduce us to the wonderful world of computers. Â Well, I didn’t much get to play Nerm the Worm or Karatika like the other kids. Â Why, you ask? Mr. Banks had another game for me. Â One that I played for nearly the 2 years of junior high. Â I’ll never forget the name: Science Island. Â The gist of the game was simple. Â There was a storm coming and in order to get off the island and survive you had to answer all sorts of questions.
I remember asking him if I could play another game. Â And in his very laid back sort of way that he spoke, he simply told me no, to go back to playing my game. Â By the time May of my 8th grade year rolled around, I knew all the answers to the game. Â But more than that, Mr. Banks expected more of me. Because I played the educational game, I was also allowed to use this dream creation of a program called PrintShop! With it I did all kinds of banners including: “Live to Love!” Complete with butterflies and hearts at the end. Â Ah, good ol’ dot matrix. Â You could print those out and then use your own markers to make it color (which is exactly what I used to do thankyouverymuch). Â I remember that when the gym teacher was retiring, I was asked by the faculty to make him a banner. Â I got to stay late and print it all out for his retirement party. I was very proud to have been given such an important job!
Mr. Banks introduced me to technology. Â Opened my eyes to the possibilities. Â He also instilled in me the desire to do and be better. Â To not care about what was popular but to focus on what was important. Â While I initially envied the kids that were playing Nerm the Worm, I eventually got to play it and found that though it was fun, I got very little out of it from a learning perspective. Â I guess that makes me a nerd. Â So what? That was alright by Mr. Banks and it was alright by me.