By Michael O’Shea
Ask any student at Broadneck about Mr. Boccia and you’ll hear rave reviews. Mr. Boccia started teaching chemistry at Broadneck during the 2020-2021 school year. This year, he continued to teach chemistry and began teaching physics. His Bruin Blocks are a popular spot for everyone, not only his students. This popularity is what led him to win most influential educator in the science department after just his second year of teaching.
Before he began at Broadneck, Mr. Boccia worked as a chemical manufacturer for various cosmetics companies. He saw and worked with brands such as Pantene and Gillette. Prior to this, he worked at the Institute of Fluorescence in Baltimore. For most of his life, he constantly heard from his peers that he should become a teacher because of his talkative personality and eagerness to share knowledge. Eventually he began the process of becoming a teacher, with perfect timing, too; soon after COVID hit, he was let go from his job due to the pandemic, but was hired at Broadneck just two months later.
Broadneck students will tell you that Bruin Block is one of the most valuable portions of the day from Broadneck students. It gives them time to catch up on work, relax, eat, and see friends. Many students choose to spend this time in Mr. Boccia’s room. Whether they go to visit him for help in his class, or just to hang out, he will always welcome those students in.
Mr. Boccia develops close relationships with each one of his students, and takes the time to provide for everyone’s individual needs. He feels that this is the best part of being a teacher, saying that “at the end of the day, the good relationships are what matters.” But don’t just take Mr. Boccia’s word for it–a student in an anonymous survey says they have “never met a teacher who’s more willing to get to know every single student.” Many others appear to feel the same way, one pointing out that he “genuinely cared about [their] interests outside of the classroom.” Mr. Boccia adds that students have approached him and told him that they feel safe in his room.
Aside from his relationships with students, Mr. Boccia is able to make learning interesting. One student remarks that he “engages with students in a meaningful way.” He also continues to help students, even when they do not have him as a teacher anymore. Many students have noted that he is passionate about his teaching during class, and that makes him stand out from the other teachers. He truly wants his students to take something valuable away from his class, even if it’s not course material, he wishes to “instill some deep seated curiosity” in his students.
The humanity that Mr. Boccia brings to his classroom is what makes him stand out. His students view him as a person to talk to and connect with, rather than just a source of education. This is what makes him the most influential educator in the science department.