For the next few months, get to know your SCFLTA board. Each month we will introduce board members! This month, we begin with Dr. Jason Bagley-Cooler, SCFLTA Executive Director and Xiaolin (Rebecca) Feng, the SCFLTA 2022 World Language Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Jason Bagley-Cooler
What level and language/s do/did you teach? I teach high school French, levels 1-5.
What made you want to be a language teacher? Actually, I didn't start out to even teach! Thanks to my high school French teacher, I wanted to do something with French, and I wanted to go to Clemson. I thought I wanted to do international business until I took economics in high school and realized that that was not the field for me. Education was what I decided to try after I gave up on business.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? I think most people would agree that it's super rewarding when you have students who get in touch with you after they've graduated or finished with your class and have had an experience with another culture or have decided to continue studying language. That is always a great feeling!
What advice would you give to a new teacher? Take time for self-care. This has become increasingly important over the past few years, and is so important! You can't serve from an empty glass!
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing world language teachers today?
I think that across the board that a shortage of teachers is a crisis. The teaching profession is not as attractive to many young people these days, and I think it's something that we all have to strive to change.
How did you get involved with SCFLTA? My first interaction was actually when I was working on my MA, and part of our course work was to give a presentation session at the annual conference! Then I was asked to be the SCFLTA webmaster and editor of The Crescent newsletter. Here we are 16 years later!
What role do you play in the organization? Currently I serve as the Executive Director.
What has SCFLTA meant to you over your career? SCFLTA has been wonderful. I actually left the teaching profession for two years because I felt that I was losing my passion and language ability. I didn't know as a young teacher about professional organizations and the connections and friendships that result from participation. SCFLTA helped my return to teaching be much more fulfilling, professionally.
What do you see SCFLTA doing for the profession in the future? I'd love to see more participation, of course. We have tried to get some initiatives going for collaboration and community building, but there hasn't always been great participation.
What is one non-teaching related fact about you? I got married last year and married life has been great! I also do yoga about 6 days a week.