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.