Teachers that made a difference — Mr. Drescher

Robert Drescher - 1970 SUHI

Teachers that influenced me — Robert Drescher/Chemistry

It is difficult to find dedicated teachers. You know what I mean. People who invest time in their students, and infuse life, with some of their exuberance.

Sadly, these series of tributes come too late. While my mind is still conscious, I will tell the tale, of how they transformed me.

Robert Drescher. Chemistry teacher at my local high school. I guess the first thing you notice about him, is his bow tie. He was unconventional from the beginning.

Mr. Drescher had a passion for trivia and obscure information. Each day we were greeted with some bit of trivia carefully crafted on the board. Chemistry may have been what he was teaching, but he also taught an appreciation for irrelevancy. So began my own quest for resolutely insignificant information.

His interest in weather, did not go un-noticed. We were always free to check the barometric pressure, on his ancient barometer. Yes, it had a column of mercury. Today, I collect rain data for cocorahs.org. (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) I remember Mr. Drescher, with each bit of rain data I report.

Everything I know about Chemistry, atoms, and Quantum Mechanics, started here. He made Chemistry anything but mundane or ordinary. I was hooked. In my senior year, I took an independent study in Honours Chemistry. I was privileged to be with him a second year.

The one thing I will remember that has stuck with me all of my life, is something he called, “Dimensional analysis.” What’s that? I will use his own quote:

“If you are trying to compute miles per gallon, but instead end up with furlongs per fortnight, you have the wrong conversion formula.”

Yeah no kidding!

He never could quite pronounce my Italian last name. So I was called Mr. Gur. It worked.