What’s Lit Lancaster?

Fiona Beauchamp

The staff of Bergen County Academies (BCA) has a variety of teachers with a diverse range of passions and pasts. This year, many new teachers joined the staff, among them Mr. Lancaster, a 9th, 10th, and 12th grade teacher who formerly worked at Bergen Tech. To gain some insight on his previous experiences in both an academic and personal setting, the Academy Chronicle interviewed him and discovered some eye-catching facts. From his ventures in Vietnam to his undercover martial arts life, Mr. Lancaster has led a lit life that should be shared.

AC: How has your time at BCA been so far?

ML: BCA has been great so far! Both the student body and faculty are inspiring in their levels of diligence and work ethic, and the level of support from bothhas been incredible.

AC: How has this experience differed from Bergen Tech?

ML: Though each campus has its unique culture, schedule, and programs, the high expectations of students and faculty are consistent across both. Moreover, my experience with positive collaborations with other teachers has fortunately been another area that my experience here parallels that of BT. I will say, though, that I am really enjoying having QuickChek and Chick-fil-A within walking distance here!

AC: Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

ML: I went into my college experience as an undeclared major, and then originally sought to be a professor or researcher in the field of psychology. Though psychology was interesting to me, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in graduate school, which prompted me to start exploring other options. I started to read and take more of an interest in history, and I was still connected to a few of my prior teachers. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I officially declared an education and history major, but I have sought to be a teacher or in the field of education ever since. I did end up with a psychology minor though after all!

AC: What influenced you to begin teaching history, and has that always been the subject you wanted to pursue?

ML: As I mentioned, psychology was going to be the subject I would have pursued. However, once I made the shift, history was the subject that grabbed my attention. I started using history as a tool to understand our contemporary reality and began seeing connections between choices made in the past and their modern-day effects. To this end, I saw —and currently see— history as a tool that can be wielded to promote empathy and ameliorate societal issues, or one that can breed intolerance and ethnocentrism. I hope to teach students how to wield it with care.

AC: What do you like to do outside of teaching?

ML: I enjoy trying a bit of everything! I play music (mostly guitar), write non-fiction articles (mostly about education), train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (currently a purple belt), work out at the gym, read (currently Ho Chi Minh: A Life by William J. Duiker), and travel.

AC: You mentioned you like to travel in your free time, and I heard from one of your students that you have been to Vietnam. Can you elaborate on this trip?


ML: Yes, I was in Vietnam for 4 months last year, from February 2022 to May 2022. I lived mainly in Hanoi, and was there on behalf of a grant called the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching. Through the grant, I conducted research to investigate how Vietnamese public high schools taught the Vietnam War in comparison with United States public high schools. Despite this focus, I was also able to do a lot outside of my research, including competing in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament there, joining a charity group to help fund those from single-parent or orphaned households in the rural countryside, and plenty of trips and adventures. It was a great time!

AC: Are there any other fun facts about yourself that you would like BCA to know?

ML: Students should ask me about the time I had to be removed by security from the Texas State House. It was all a misunderstanding, I promise. 


Thank you to Mr. Lancaster for taking the time to answer the Academy Chronicle’s questions. He has been a great addition to the BCA community through his passion for history and gripping talents in other fields. Welcome to BCA, Mr. Lancaster!