Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mr. Farnham

This is the message I left at the memorial site when I learned my High School Biology teacher, Mr. Richards Farnham, had passed away.

Mr. Farnham was a great teacher. For me his greatest lessons weren't about Biology, although I did learn a few things. What I remember most was that he had no patience for pretense or sham. He taught me that ideas, and learning, and animals, and science, and people all matter, but that school doesn't. School is just an annoying set of arbitrary rules made to be subverted. Tests and grades are distractions. What matters is looking, really looking at the world around you, observing carefully, thinking and making connections. I spent a year as an assistant in his classroom, changing smelly paper under mouse cages and carrying jugs of sea water for the turtle, so I could hang around him and learn.

My mother, my uncle, my aunt, my brother, my sister, and I were all students of Mr. Farnham. And all of us carry a little piece of him into the future. Thank you Mr. Farnham.

My sister's memories of Mr. Farnham