The California Language Teachers Association (CLTA) was proud and honored to announce that Maggie Chen was awarded 2020 California Teacher of the Year. She represented California for the position of Southwest Conference on Language Teaching, Teacher of the Year at their Annual Conference at Disneyland Resort February 2-4. The winner of that regional event will be able to go on to represent the regional event at the American Council on the Teaching of Forgein Languages in 2020.
Chen teaches IB Mandarin Chinese at Granada Hills Charter. She also teaches students in grades K-8 at the iGranada campus and enjoys working with students in different age ranges everyday.
Chen is working as an LAUSD Language Consultant, designing curricula for grades 6-9 intermediate Mandarin learners as well as providing support for LAUSD Mandarin teachers. She still serves in her long-time position as Program Leader in the Mandarin Teacher Leadership Institute for all levels at UCLA. If that is not enough to take up her time, Chen is also involved being the Technology Strand Program Leader at the California World Language Project, L.A. Stars.
Having won multiple awards and scholarships, Chen has co-authored Chapter 1 in “Career Technical Education Course for Entrepreneurs,” has been an Advisory Board Member for the book “Modern Readers: College Series,” has worked with and created multiple curricula, has taught Mandarin and English as a second language (ESL) for many years, presents at conferences, has been a national guest teacher advisor to the College Board Guest Teacher Summer Institute, contributed to the publication “A Guide to Chinese Guest Teachers,” and even more to come.
With all of this, Chen’s difficult past has motivated her to become the inspirational woman she is today, always striving for greater opportunities. Growing up in a poor family in Taiwan, Chen learned that education was the most valuable part of being successful for the future.
“Education for women in Taiwan wasn’t valued as much as it should have been. My father treasured that nobody can take away knowledge from you because it is all in the mind. I took that to heart, when he said the only way we could get out of poverty was through education. The only thing my father could afford was to give me an education,” Chen said.
Chen also strives to spread her culture to her students through teaching the Mandarin language and deeply cares about the future of all her students. Her understanding and warm-hearted personality helps her students feel more comfortable in her classroom, and with the culture she is trying to share. This genuine quality of her teaching is what stood out to the CLTA community and is one of the reasons why they have chosen her as Teacher of the Year.
“I just feel so lucky to have received this award because there are so many wonderful teachers out there that have read about me, recognized me, and nominated me for this position. Now I see this as a mission because I have to take this responsibility and go to the regional competition to represent our state. Although I am a shy person and I am anxious about doing this, I am grateful for this opportunity” Chen said.