AACT Member Spotlight: Carmen Foschino

By AACT on March 1, 2022

Carmen Foschino

Every month AACT spotlights a passionate member who is dedicated to enhancing chemistry inside and outside the classroom. This month, we spotlight Carmen Foschino. She teaches Chemistry at The Scholars' Academy in Rockaway Park, NY.

Tell us about yourself.

I'm a happy and positive person. What fuels that is my marriage of 34 years, my two children, and my four grandchildren. Seeing my children happy and prosper in their own lives and careers puts me in an awesome place. Watching my grandchildren grow and being a part of their lives instills more passion in me to stay positive and to appreciate what I have. On a personal note, I love reading every morning with my cup of coffee, gardening (flowers, vegetables, herbs), cooking, and shopping, especially for shoes—don't ask me how many I own!!

Why did you become a teacher? Did you always want to teach?

It's the only job I've ever had, and the only one I've ever wanted. Teaching kids has always been a passion for me. I love to see the excitement on their faces when they learn something new, and when the confusion becomes the aha moment. It brings me such joy to be able to help kids understand the world around them. I love to encourage them to be the best they can be. Kids are like sponges: keep them interested and they'll always want to absorb more. Every day in the classroom is something new. You never know what will be inspiring that day. That willingness and excitement in their eyes when something makes sense and I'm responsible for that makes me want more and to continue. I want to instill my passion in them. That's my reason for wanting to be a member of this amazing profession.

What topic do you find hardest for students? How do you teach it?

Le Châtelier’s Principle! My lessons are clearly laid out on task sheets with a title that fits the subject matter. My lesson here is appropriately titled "All Stressed Out". I find using a seesaw works best to understand the shifts, however, they must also understand that there are not two sides to this process. Equilibrium and stresses occur in one system (as was pointed out to me by a wonderful mentor I work with). Using diagrams to show this one system is changing helps them see the process.

How do you monitor the progress of your students? How do you ensure underperformers excel?

First, I like to move around the classroom. I believe that keeps students on their toes. My classwork is on a task sheet that provides background information, learning targets, and scaffolded lessons. Within those lessons are midpoint check-ins, assessment questions, and Google forms where students submit individual answers. Some I can see immediately, and some they submit so I can review later in the day. Seeing these responses and having students self-reflect on their work helps me judge where they may need additional help. For underperformers, I make a point to have homogeneous grouping so I can work with those students. My task sheets always contain supports and resources for students to use if they need additional help. My task sheets have links if a student would like a private meeting or some extra time to do work. I always offer extra help hours outside the classroom and will give students passes to come up and work with me on an individual basis. I do my best to reach everyone!

What do you do to remain current and bring the latest science into the classroom?

I have several magazines that I subscribe to, including ChemMatters. I also like the kid-friendly Science and Nature articles. I look for science articles that pertain to the lessons I'm teaching and include links, questions, videos for them to research. I want them to make connections from what is being taught to the real world! Being a member of AACT and ACS, I'm always looking for the latest news and how it can tie into what they're learning. Some I share as homework and some I use for them to complete projects.