“Video game boss” is not a metaphor that usually comes to mind when thinking about teachers, but Mr. LaJuan Foust embraces the character in his classes. This year, the history department welcomes Mr. Foust, who will teach Ancient and Modern World History.
Mr. Foust joins the community after eight years of experience at several institutions, with roles as a current event and public speaking teacher at the Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts; an adjunct professor in the Communications Department at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Massachusetts; and an Ancient World History teacher at Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey. His five years of teaching Ancient World History has made adjusting to Haverford less difficult.
Mr. Foust is excited to expand his knowledge in preparation for Modern World History.
“There are definitely some areas that I like to nerd out about that I haven’t had a chance to; so that will be fun,” he said.
Mr. Foust’s love for teaching sparked from a mishap in high school. Similar to Haverford, Mr. Foust’s high school—University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio—required students to complete a “senior project” prior to graduation. When his project fell through at the last moment, Mr. Foust decided to tag onto his friend’s work as a tutor at a local elementary school.
He recalled saying, “Hey, can I just jump on the horse? I’m desperate,” and his friend replied, “Yeah, that’s fine.” Mr. Foust continued, “So that was my senior project, and I actually enjoyed it a little bit. It was really fun.”
Upon graduating high school, he continued to teach as he joined the REACH program facilitated by his high school—a summer enrichment program for gifted African Americans around the Cleveland Public School System. As a member of the college faculty, comprised of college students, Mr. Foust had the opportunity to listen in on classes taught by mentor teachers in the morning and to teach his own class in the afternoon. He enjoyed his experience so much that he continued with the program for many subsequent years.
“That was really where the teaching bug started,” Mr. Foust said. “I would say my whole trajectory came to this point because of that REACH program.”
Outside of teaching in the history department, Mr. Foust will coach the Speech and Debate team with Mr. Javier Lluch, an activity he has both coached and participated in since high school. He will also coach the Third Form Soccer team.
Mr. Foust was drawn to Haverford by the faculty’s genuine care for the students that he observed when he visited and conversed with other teachers.
“I just definitely got a vibe that there is this desire to care about the guys in a way that’s more than just, ‘Oh, he’s just a kid.’ We’re trying to create young men who are going to actually do something in the world and do something of value.”
Mr. Foust also appreciated the school’s faculty diversity, not solely in terms of race but in terms of passions and ideologies as well.
Mr. Foust said, “We’re all so different, but at the same time we have the same goal. That’s something that I really value: if we’re on a team we want to have the same goal. We don’t want to have to deal with folks that are trying to do their own thing—that’s more detrimental than good. So I’m really excited to be working with the faculty.”
“I have a reputation for being very difficult, but at the same time, sophomore teachers are usually happy when they know that kids had me because they know certain things.”Mr. LaJuan Foust
Mr. Foust said, “I have a reputation for being very difficult, but at the same time, sophomore teachers are usually happy when they know that kids had me because they know certain things. So I take a lot of pride in that.”
He has a simple teaching motto for his students, “do work.” In school, which he describes as a video game, Mr. Foust believes that the work one puts in during the early levels accumulates to help one through the final stages.
“It’s one of those games where you figure certain things out to beat that early level boss,” Mr. Foust said, “but you’re going to need those same ideas and things and tools that you picked up, and you need the XP for when you go to the next boss because, when you get to the next boss, you’re going to need every single bit of that—and then some.”