Like his ubiquitous lab coat and goggles, Eric Lane’s enthusiasm for science cannot be confined to the classroom. Since joining Fay in 2011, Eric has taught 8th grade Physical Science, a lab-based course that covers coding, motion and forces, and chemistry. He also launched Fay’s robotics team and has led clubs in remote control racecar building, robotics, and Minecraft. On the weekends, Eric has led trips to local science hubs like the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium. One of Eric’s other passions at Fay has been nurturing the growth of the wrestling program. Fay wrestling has returned to strong form in recent years due to Eric’s enthusiastic promotion of the program, which has focused on introducing wrestling to Lower School athletes, recruiting from other sports, and providing a wide array of opportunities to compete.
After ten years as a dorm parent, Eric was thrilled to have his son Keighan move in with him in the summer of 2020. Eric, Keighan, and their Australian Shepherd Ahsoka live in Steward Dorm. We recently sat down with Eric to talk about his favorite events at Fay and the joys of sharing his passion for science with students.
What is your favorite unit to teach in Physical Science?
Definitely the coding, because there is so much math, and it has real-world application for my students. Scientists are doing so much of this work in their own labs, and there is a lot of coding involved in the collection and analysis of data. Having logic skills, like writing conditions for an “if” statement, gives students such a good foundation. So many jobs, even in the corporate sector, involve crunching numbers and data from a database, and you are applying the same kind of logic in an SQL database search that we are doing in our classroom.
How has your role as a dorm parent impacted your teaching?
I’ve always enjoyed those nights in the dorm when I’m on duty for Study Hall, and I’m able to help the students. Of course, with Zoom, that turned into being able to help any student and not just the kids in the dorm! It can also be eye-opening to see what the student experience is when they are trying to work on their own, versus working on something together as a class. It has really helped me to understand how to design better homework assignments, and to always be ready to come up with new ideas when something doesn’t work.
You do an excellent job of recruiting athletes to try wrestling. What’s your best sales pitch?
Offering a level playing field. Most wrestlers in our league are brand new to the sport in middle school. When I started at Fay, the people who had been stewards of the program had left, and it was on me to carry on the tradition of these hugely successful teams. It has been a rebuilding process, but it’s been a fun challenge to attract kids and get the team to be successful again. Wrestling isn’t a sport that most kids have prior experience with, but if you are a younger player in the hockey program or a basketball player with taller peers, it’s a good opportunity to play a competitive sport where it’s a fair match between you and your opponent. I’ve had quite a few converts over the years who have stuck with the sport through high school. With the year off from wrestling due to the pandemic, it’s a great sport to join now because so many high schools are going to be looking to fill those teams up again.
What is your “can’t miss” event on the Fay School calendar?
I really love the Friday Night Lights events throughout the year because so many people get to see my team in the winter, and I get to watch other teams, too.