Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kim Foglia

"My biggest pet peeve about science teaching is approaching biology as a second language — making it an exercise in vocabulary memorization — rather than an approach to questioning how the world works and on the flipside an understanding of interwoven concepts explaining how the world works."

I learned tonight that Ms. Kim Foglia, the most generous teacher I never met, died today. I learned this from a post by one of her students, whom I never met, though did share a few words. I am glad I got to thank her for her help.

I kept a letter of hers in my pocket, written for struggling AP teachers like myself, trying to satisfy the College Board while guiding young adults through a dense curriculum. She reminded me (and so many others) why we teach, and that the why matters as much (or maybe more) than the what.

Kim also taught through her cancer. She shared her story as a teachable moment, but it never defined her.

She shared everything, everything!

We will miss her help, her words, her lessons, and her silly penguins.


The Science Goddess said...

I am saddened by this news. I, too, found her an incredible source of inspiration when I was teaching AP Bio. Sigh.

S Seckel said...

What a wonderful tribute to one of the best teachers I, too, never met. The materials on her website and her suggestions on the listserve improved my teaching in ways I'm sure I don't even realize. She will live on in the lives of so many others she touched through the years.

RIP Kim Foglia.....you will be missed.

doyle said...

Dear S Seckel,

Her website is truly amazing, and her help on the listserve was phenomenal.

What separated Kim from just about everyone else was her relentless energy and her willingness to help one on one. I bet everyone who ever reached out for her help got more back than they expected.

I don't know if you saw this on the listserve, but Kim helped at least one other biology teacher even as she was dying in December.

Kim changed the way I teach. Her letter helped me keep at it.

Joyce said...

What a tremendous loss for all the teachers Kim Foglia has mentored through her website and listserv, for all the students who will no longer be blessed to have such an enthusiastic and encouraging teacher. I am deeply saddened that I never had the pleasure of meeting Kim Foglia and heartbroken that now I never will. May her soul be blessed.

ana said...

I am saddened by this news. Her website has been a tremendous source of help for me during this first year of AP. My thoughts are with her family.

Mrs. Utley said...

The world has lost an incredible person! I, too, never met Mrs. Foglia, but she helped me more than she will ever know. Her advice on how to teach Biology and to help kids learn how beautiful and how incredibly complex life is will stay with me forever along with countless other teachers. I pray for strength and peace for her family through this time. And I hope they are blessed by the knowledge of how much their wife and mother was admired and appreciated. Blessings Always! Marla Utley

doyle said...

Dear Everyone,

I just got my 9th edition Campbell's. I'm stirred myself into panic mode, looking at schedules, and what we need to do.

Then I read Kim's words, and things start to fall into place again.

She truly loved life.

Her shared information matters tremendously, of course, but it's her spirit that I needed the most.

And her spirit will continue to guide me.

Kieran said...

MY AP Biology class would not have even gotten off the ground without the invaluable materials shared by Ms. Foglia. I can only imagine how much help her students recieved if complete strangers like myself were constantly supported by Ms. Foglia. Thank you Kim Foglia.