Jordan Clark (’13) is one of the latest Southern Virginia University alumni to put his education to use in the local community. Clark started teaching Spanish at the middle school level in Lexington, Va., this fall.
“I love it,” Clark said. “I love waking up and doing what I studied for and what I wanted to do. It’s great to have a job that you worked hard for.”
Clark learned Spanish while living in Peru as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While attending Southern Virginia, he quickly realized he had a passion for the Spanish language.
“When I came back from my mission,” Clark said, “I learned I loved the culture and language, and that’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
Clark, who transferred to Southern Virginia in 2010 after attending Santa Barbara City College, chose to major in Spanish and minor in politics.
After working as a Spanish tutor at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington while he was still a student, Clark now teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade Spanish at Lilburn Downing Middle School. Clark still plans on furthering his education at the graduate level, and hopes to teach college eventually. But for now, he enjoys teaching Spanish to younger students. In the two years he spent as a student at Southern Virginia, Clark found that small classes with personal focus are the most effective model of education.
“I love the small class environment,” he said. “When I was at my old school in California, I was in classes with 125 students. It was so impersonal. You didn’t know the professor, they didn’t know you, you were just a name on a list. But I believe in the genius of small. What made the difference was being able to interact with the teacher one on one. That’s what I try to do with my students. I try to imitate what I did here with my professors.”
Clark says the most helpful aspect of small classes at Southern Virginia he’s been able to transfer to the middle school level is teaching a foreign language through conversation.
“[Professor] Konstantinova’s teaching style in the class was more conversational,” Clark said. “Which really showed how teaching can be more than just standing in front of a class lecturing, but actually talking back and forth and having a conversation.”