Friday, October 24, 2008

Spotlight on Mr. Banka

Mr. Robert Banka

Teacher of Science

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Bob Banka

• College(s) and degrees(s):

University of Pennsylvania, BA in Geochemistry

• Work experience:

20 years as the 7th and 8th grade bio/chem and math teacher at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson, NJ.; 5 years, both full and part time, chemistry lab instructor and IA at Burlington County College in Pemberton, NJ

• Favorite books:
o fiction: The The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)
o nonfiction: Chronicles, Volume One (Bob Dylan)

• Last movie I loved:

"Magnolia" directed by P.T. Anderson

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:

Eric Clapton's "One More Car, One More Rider (Live):"

• Person (living or not) that I'd like to have lunch with and why:

Film director Stanley Kubrick, because he was such a recluse and so little is known about his personal approach to filmmaking - his decision process, how and why he selected the projects he undertook. What was he thinking on the set and how did he determine what he beleved was the best way to communicate his ideas to the viewer with images and sound.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

An art museum

• One item on my "to do" list that I can't seem to get to:

My degree is in geochemistry, and yet I've never been futher west than Ohio! All but the very northern reaches of New Jersey is a giant sandbox. There's almost no geology here to speak of. A voice is pleading... "Go West Young Man."

• Favorite animal:

Scottish Terrier. I was lucky enough to have one for a while. Her name was Bonnie.

• Favorite sports team:

Philadelphia Phillies

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

A cruise along the coast and into the interior of Alaska

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:

Professor Vincent Sollimo - an inorganic chemistry teacher who got me hooked on all things chemistry, which if you think about it IS all things. He was a fabulous presenter who had high expectations for his students, as well as the ability to generate enthusiasm and the desire for his students to reach them. Something he saw in me brought him to ask if I would like to begin leading review sessions for students having difficulties with some of the concepts being taught in class. I agreed to do so and found that I enjoyed devising new approaches to the material that would help the "lights go on" in the minds of students. Everything I've done since leads back to those review sessions and the boost of confidence given to me by Professor Sollimo.

• Anything else:

I have a passion for nearly all types of music from opera to smooth jazz to rock and folk. I've been playing guitar for many years and currently I play and sing in a 5-piece band. It's a wonderful distraction. I also enjoy writing poetry.

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