Faculty Focus: Chris Jackson

By Wendy Ma
Published: April 2010

Many might know Spanish teacher Chris Jackson as the “traveling man. From East Asia to Africa and South America, he has seen it all, as he has traveled to over 70 countries around the world.

“Whenever I go to a different country, I try to learn their culture and their ways so that I can fully experience everything, Jackson said.

Jackson’s international background has made him a valuable teacher in the world language department.

He incorporates lessons that he has learned from his travels into the classroom and often tells his class stories of his adventures.

He grew up in a small town in Vermont where everybody knew everybody. As a kid, Jackson would go skiing in the mountains of Vermont and enjoy the snowy scenery.

The high school Jackson attended provided him with few choices. “There wasn’t even a Spanish class! Jackson said.

He desperately wanted to escape and explore the world.

During the summer of his senior year in high school, he traveled to Latin America with some friends, which is when he first began to learn Spanish.

“ When I went to South America, I fell in love with the rich culture and, of course, the language, Jackson said.

After high school, he went to college at the University of Vermont. Although he greatly enjoyed learning there, he felt that he wanted to pursue a career that would connect the world.

That is why he chose to major in the foreign language of Spanish.

He took a year off of college to go to Seville, the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain, to learn more about the Spanish culture and language.

Jackson did not initially work as a teacher and tried many other careers until he finally decided on teaching. “In order to gain experiences and wisdom, I tried many different things, Jackson said. His other jobs included working as a translator, instructor of technology, a business consultant and a plethora of other jobs.

So, how did Jackson begin his career in teaching? Jackson explains, “I have always wanted to be somebody that could make a difference in society and help many people.

Jackson got his teaching license in history, French, and Spanish when he was 40 years old.
Jackson chose to teach Spanish because he believes that Spanish is not really a “foreign language at all. It is a language that is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States.

Even though he has tried many different careers, he has found teaching to be the most fun and exciting.

He has been a teacher for 15 years and he has taught at South for 11 years.

“Teaching at South has been a very fun experience because I get to influence many other people, Jackson said.

When he first came to South, he was surprised by how many choices there were, as it was one of the best public schools in America.

Over the years that Jackson has worked at South, he has seen many different things, some good and some bad. Regardless, he is proud to be a part of South’s great learning environment.

“Kids think that we teacher have no idea what it’s like to be a teenager, but hey, I was once a teenager too! Jackson said.

Other than teaching Spanish and traveling, Jackson has many hobbies. “Outside of school, I like to play my guitar and sing, Jackson said.

He especially enjoys listening to country and folk music and playing the piano.

Jackson’s unique travel experiences, well-rounded interests, and passion for the Spanish language allow him to be a very respected member of the South community.

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