Chemistry teacher Terri Mortemore was working with hydrogen balloons in her Maumee High School class Thursday, so naturally she made one explode.
“Always safely,” she quickly said about her controlled explosions in class. “I’m a teacher who does a lot of lab experiments. I’ve never been one who stood up and talked all day.”
Some of those hands-on teaching tactics and passion helped Ms. Mortemore earn High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year for the Toledo area from the local American Chemical Society. The organization honored her for sharing the excitement of chemistry and inspiring future scientists through her dedication to motivating students.
Ms. Mortemore has taught chemistry, and sometimes freshman science, at Maumee High since 1989.
“I think it’s fun to take a class every kid views as a difficult class, and I show them it doesn’t have to be that hard,” she said. “I like to have a little fun. We do a lot of demonstrations and explode things, burn things. Kids love that kind of stuff.”
Her teaching has evolved over the years. Computers weren’t common in the schools when she started, she noted, but now she’s excited about new science mobile apps that help her teach. New technology has kept her excited and energetic each school year.
One reason Ms. Mortemore believes she was honored is her help with Project Seed, in which high-school students work on a summer projects at the University of Toledo. Students receive stipends to do research with professors, and Ms. Mortemore said that results in Maumee students enrolling at UT to study sciences.
“She challenges students and gives them opportunities for applied chemistry to learn chemistry’s practical uses,” Principal Matthew Dick said. “She helps students see chemistry is more than what’s in a book and on paper. She goes above and beyond. Terri is an outstanding teacher.”
Mr. Dick believes Ms. Mortemore is extremely deserving of the award for all of her hard work.
“I’m very, very honored,” she said. “I just love teaching kids. I’ve had a good career — Maumee has been very supportive of me.”
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