Bullitt East High School Pre AP English teacher Laura Pierce Foster has been named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by The National Society of High School Scholars.
Foster was recognized for her excellence in teaching and for the encouragement of and dedication to the academic success of students. She was awarded an NSHSS certificate and is eligible to apply for grants to attend professional conferences, to pursue an advanced degree, or attend other leadership development opportunities to further enhance the delivery of classroom instruction. She is also eligible for Claes Nobel Educator of the Year.
“I was very surprised!” Foster said. She was nominated for the honor by one of her students.
“Teaching today is hard,” Foster continued. “It is a thankless job with little ability to promote or receive recognition. However, as I read the line, ‘this honor is presented to you because of your dedication to teaching and learning and the difference you are making as a role model, source of inspiration and leader in your profession’ it struck me that while I spend my days doubting everything I do, questioning every decision I make, worrying over every student, someone took notice and went out of their way to nominate me for an award I never knew existed. Every day, I go above and beyond the call of duty as an educator because I have great expectations from my students, but even greater expectations of myself.”
Foster is in her 14th year at Bullitt East. She has taught English at every grade level including AP Literature and AP Language. She has also assisted in the implementation of the Pre-AP English program to Bullitt East, originally called Honors English, as a means to better prepare those students who are interested in taking Advanced Placement courses by providing access to the Advanced Placement curriculum and a laser focus on AP standards.
“This program has proven to be very successful for all of our students,” she said.
Over the years, Foster has seen a consistent dynamic in students.
“After teaching for 14 years, I realize that students have changed, their needs have changed, and as such, I as an educator, have changed, but one thing remains constant: I want every student to succeed and to realize that success is defined by his or her own terms and isn’t the same for everyone,” she said. “I want each student to find his or her voice and use it. I want each and every student to know that they are capable of conquering great feats and that they are capable of surviving failures and setbacks. I want them to become the best teacher they ever had.”
While Foster recommends education as a profession, she encourages students to find their passion and attempts to help each of them navigate their future choices based on each individual’s needs and interests, while helping them to maintain a realistic outlook.
“If a student is interested in education, or any field for that matter, I help them explore the why,” she said.