Chemistry Teacher Lorenzo Foster Named High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year
St. Michael chemistry teacher Lorenzo Foster was named the High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year by the American Chemical Society.
Lorenzo was nominated by his mentor, Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D., to receive this award through the Baton Rouge local section of the ACS. He says that even though he was not expecting to win, he is still excited about the outcome. “At first I was surprised to be selected,” he shares. “I do not teach for any recognition. I do it to help my students. It is a great honor and privilege to receive this award. It means that I am making a difference in the world. I am helping my students to not only appreciate the world of chemistry, but also showing them how to become analytical and logical thinkers who will solve the problems of the future.”
Having a passion for science for as long as he can remember, Lorenzo attended LSU and earned his major in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry. Now, a veteran teacher of 11 years with experience in a multitude of grades and sciences, Lorenzo says that he has found his true calling in the high school chemistry classroom. “Throughout my teaching career, I have been able to share my love and passion for science, particularly chemistry, with my students,” he explains. “Seeing my students reach their goals and knowing that I helped them get there...that is what this is all about.”
One of the most important qualities of an effective teacher, according to Lorenzo, is being comfortable with your teaching content. The science curriculum must be made applicable to your students as well, creating more interest in the subject. Students in Lorenzo’s classes are always doing hands-on labs, whether it is creating ice cream to learn about solutions and freezing point depression or tie-dying their traditional and informative periodic table of elements T-shirt. Another student favorite is the flame test lab that involves heating up elements to see the colors emitted when excited electrons fall back to their ground state. “I always try to do classroom activities where my students can see science in action,” he attests. “My students who have gone on to take chemistry in college or even choose it as a major tell me they are able to breeze through a lot of classes. This tells me I am doing my job the right way.”
Lorenzo also explains that it is important to seek out opportunities for professional development to continue to master your craft. Last summer, he attended a week-long PD through LSU to become a certified Dual Enrollment Chemistry teacher at St. Michael High School. This new class option was offered to students this school year.
Lorenzo will be honored as the High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year at the ACS Awards Dinner later this spring in Baton Rouge.