For the last few months, SCFLTA has invited you to get to know your SCFLTA board. This month SCFLTA would like to introduce you board members Julia Royall, and Clay Hendrix!
1: What is your name?
My name is Clay Hendrix.
2:What level and language/s do/did you teach?
I teach German 1-5 and International Baccalaureate in the 9th-12th grades.
3: What made you want to be a language teacher?
I initially wanted to be a history teacher, but at university I really got inspired and wanted to learn German. After I graduated, I chose to do my MAT in German out of both convenience and a passion for German, but ended up very excited with language instruction and am glad I chose it over history (which I get to teach fun lessons for anyway!)
4: What has been the most rewarding part of your job?
It's been really cool running into students after they've graduated high school who have been taking German in college. Several have done the same exchanges to Germany I did, lived in dorms my friends did, and taken classes abroad that I did.
5: What advice would you give to a new teacher?
I think the most important part is to care about the students. Whatever else you're doing, they're what's important, they're what matters.
6: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing world language teachers today?
It's difficult to say, because I think a lot of the struggle extends beyond our own corner to the profession as a whole. Personally I see a lot of antagonism towards teaching and schools in this country that is accelerating in a way that's worrisome to me as teacher shortages expand. I think this leads to the biggest problem facing us is a declining number of WL teachers, especially ones who have dedicated several years to gaining the unique skills to be a language instructor. Also as WL teachers leave the profession - some prematurely - we run the risk of losing hard fought for programs at schools state and nationwide. It's important then to do what we can to recruit new, younger teachers into the career from university programs, and provide support to those considering leaving, and perhaps resources for teachers in difficult or unsupportive schools to make lateral moves to nearby schools rather than into new careers.
7:How did you get involved with SCFLTA?
I've been going to and presenting at SCFLTA conferences since I was in graduate school as far back as 2009. I eventually joined the board as a liaison from the board of the SC-AATG.
8: What role do you play in the organization?
I am a liaison from the board of SC-AATG where I relay news back and forth between organizations. Over the years I've done help setting up conferences, and have also presented on occasion.
9: What has SCFLTA meant to you over your career?
SCFLTA has given me ample opportunity for attending sessions to improve my instruction (one of my favorite activities I use in class I got from a session I attended in 2009) and meeting with and coordinating with other language instructors. I've either met new people to work with, or been able to see old colleagues and friends again after long times apart.
10: What do you see SCFLTA doing for the profession in the future?
I think SCFLTA will always serve a role of helping integrate and assist new teachers into the culture, and offer teachers young and old new ideas for language instruction based on new research or even new creative activities conjured up by instructors willing to share their unique skills.
11:What is one non-teaching related fact about you?
There's so much I can write that it's difficult to keep it to one thing. Right now my daughter is 3, and I really enjoy spending time with and taking care of her.
For the last few months, SCFLTA has invited you to get to know your SCFLTA board. This month, SCFLTA would like to introduce you board members Julia Royall, and Clay Hendrix!
1. What is your name?
2. What level and language/s do/did you teach?
French 1, French 2, French 3&4 Honors
3. What made you want to be a language teacher?
I struggled in school until the day my French teacher told me that I was good at French. From that moment on, I developed confidence in French, but also became more confident in all of my classes. Thanks to her and other teachers who supported me, I recognized a need for all children to have teachers who find their strengths and advocate for them. I developed a great love for French and Francophone cultures, and knew that being a French teacher would be not only enjoyable, but a way to be an advocate and support for children.
4. What has been the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job as a French teacher is having the opportunity to see students recognize that they can learn another language and develop enthusiasm about communicating with people from other cultures.
5. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
First and foremost, enjoy your students. Learn from them. Consider every class an opportunity to learn. You may struggle and there may be tough days, but it will get better. Join professional organizations, and seek ideas and assistance from veteran teachers. Your colleagues are your greatest resource as a new teacher.
6. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing world language teachers today?
Today, we have students in our classroom who have had a wide range of personal
and educational experiences over the past few years. What we have always done to reach our students may not work anymore. More than ever before, we are needing to differentiate instruction and adapt our lesson plans to meet the needs of our students.
7. How did you get involved with SCFLTA?
I became involved in 2020 as a Regional Representative for the Lowcountry.
8. What role do you play in the organization?
I currently serve as an Affiliate Representative for the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French).
9. What has SCFLTA meant to you over your career?
SCFLTA has been a great help to me since I moved back to South Carolina in 2010. The conferences have provided meaningful professional development that has greatly helped my teaching practice. In addition, I have been able to meet colleagues across the state who are now friends, and also people with whom I an collaborate.
10. What do you see SCFLTA doing for the profession in the future?
I think SCFLTA will continue to be a valuable resource for the World Language teachers of South Carolina. We have a talented group of members who are always willing to help other teachers in our state and beyond.
11. What is one non-teaching related fact about you?
I have been a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the last 5 years, and my little sister recently graduated high school and is now in the military!