Local teacher named AGS Geography Teacher Fellow

Clark one of 50 chosen nationally

The American Geographical Society has named Justin Clark, a ninth-grade advanced placement human geography teacher at both Sulphur and Barbe high schools, a 2018 AGS Geography Teacher Fellow.

Clark is one of 50 teachers selected nationally to travel to Columbia University next month for the AGS Fall Symposium. In New York City, Clark will meet with the world’s leading experts in geographical and geospatial knowledge in an effort to enhance the learning experience of his students.

Clark said he chose to apply for the opportunity for his own personal and professional enrichment.

He said he used his knowledge of “Lake Charles’s place in the world energy economy as a leading site of LNG production in the United States” as the foundation for his application essay.

Understanding the relevance of Southwest Louisiana’s position within the global economy helps student focus and retain the advanced content of his human geography course, Clark said.

“Geography knowledge helps students and others understand what makes the Lake Area function and work,” he said. “They are the future leaders of the area and I want to give them a base knowledge for what will make their future world function.”

At AGS, Clark will hear from “some of the finest and leading minds on the ideas of geopolitics, environmental quality, transportation and living standards” arming him with powerful, new content to add to his curriculum. Such “relevance” is the energy behind his course’s effectiveness, Clark explained.

“Students are able to automatically see how things from the classroom fit into their daily lives. It’s a real-world application they don’t get with other subjects,” he said.

After spending 10 years in the private sector, Clark returned to education saying, “I found exactly where I needed to be. I wouldn’t leave teaching geography for anything.”

Clark said the most rewarding aspect of teaching geography is “honestly, when my kids correct their parents on a geographic subject or tell them the ‘why’ of something.”

That means “they learned something and they had the confidence to apply it,” he said.

Clark said the most rewarding aspect of teaching geography is “honestly, when my kids correct their parents on a geographic subject or tell them the ‘why’ of something.”

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Justin Clark, a ninth-grade advanced placement human geography teacher at both Sulphur and Barbe high schools, is one of 50 teachers named a 2018 American Geographical Society fellow.

Special to the American Press

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