Memories of Mr. Boyle
Russell Weis:
Schreiber, 1974

The following remarks are adapted from a letter I sent to Mrs. Boyle after I heard the sad news of Mr. Boyle's passing:	

	We all know how special a person Mr. Boyle was. I am of course very saddened by this news, but I take some consolation in the fact that he died at 71 years of age – a prime number. I also take solace in the fact that he will live on in my memory and will continue to influence students through me, every time I walk into my classroom.
	My friends and I still talk about how one of our most enduring memories of Mr. Boyle's class is how much fun we had holding competitions amongst ourselves over who could recite the prime numbers the quickest. And I will always think of Mr. Boyle as being in his "prime," since he was such a youthful spirit, in both body and soul. In fact, I thought of him just a few nights ago, because I was wondering about starting to play soccer again after a break of many years and I thought of how he still was playing basketball and running. And I thought of him a few nights before that, since my daughter happened to ask me out of the blue who my favorite teacher was and I without hesitation answered, "Mr. Boyle, of course." 
	As I find myself in a teaching role these days, it is perhaps not surprising that I rediscover each week different ways in which Mr. Boyle has influenced me. There is much that can be said, but perhaps the most enduring things I learned from him are that it is okay to be yourself in the classroom, that it is important to enjoy your subject and to transmit your enthusiasm to your students, and that it is absolutely imperative to do so in the most creative way possible. I don't know whether I have done all this as much as I would have liked to, but I do know that Mr. Boyle stands as a shining example in my mind, someone whom I strive to be like each day I walk into the classroom. I will always remember him as a model teacher and a "gentle man," one who was able to inspire both the best work from and the best feelings in his students while never raising his voice, as our desire to keep his respect was more than enough to keep us focused and engaged in our learning.
	I'm sure I will remember Mr. Boyle every time I step into my classroom, every time I pick up my trumpet, and lots of other times besides. I think creating some sort of memorial scholarship to honor his memory would be a way for Mr. Boyle's legacy to live on in the town that he made such a big contribution to through his career-long commitment to giving his best to his students there each and every day.
	I close with some reflections that I wrote for an education course that I took a while back. I sent them along to Mr. Boyle once as part of one of my seasonal correspondences, and it makes me glad to think he got the chance to read them:

When I think back to those teachers who had the most profound impact upon me, creativity, commitment and total command of the classroom are the qualities that come to mind. I am still in touch with my favorite teacher of all, my Middle School (called “Junior High School” back then) math teacher, whose creativity was legion. Whether he was timing us as we strove to be the fastest to recite the prime numbers from one to fifty or challenging us with “Row Quizzes” or marking our math notebooks – which he encouraged us to make as colorful, complete and creative as possible – Mr. Boyle always engaged us in the subject matter in ways that made learning not only productive but also fun. To us students lucky enough to have him, there was no doubt in our minds that Mr. Boyle was not only committed to the subject matter but also to each and every student, as both a learner and a complete human being. Our respect for him mirrored his respect for us...
A special person...
Tuesday, May 13, 2008