2016-17 MES Teacher of the Year - DeeAnn Hernandez
What were the factors that influenced you to become a teacher?Having grown up with a mother as an educator, I know that teaching is in my blood. I have always had a love of guiding others in many areas of life. This is the reason I pursued a psychology degree. When my own children were young in elementary school, the principal noticed my leadership skills among the parents in the PTA. I also volunteered to help teach the school’s Character Choir and Orchestra. The principal approached me about becoming a teacher for the school and hired me in August 2009. As I was teaching Kindergarten and going through the ITeachTexas certification program, I fell in love with teaching young children. It has since become a calling for my life.
Describe what you consider to be your greatest contributions and accomplishments in education.The greatest accomplishment any teacher can aspire to, in my opinion, is to have current and former students coming to you to tell you how much you mean to them and all you have taught them. As well as parents acknowledging the impact you have had in their child’s life. I am so fortunate to be at McClendon and have my past 3rd graders, who are now in 5th, still rush the halls to hug me and argue with each other who is my favorite (of course, they don’t know they all are)! My greatest contribution is not only assisting students in their learning process but building those relationships with them to let them know they not only matter to someone but also that they are loved for who they are; that I BELIEVE in them!
How are your beliefs about teaching demonstrated in your personal teaching style?Our beliefs about teaching always pour over into how we teach. As mentioned above, I think it is imperative to make learning as fun as possible. I have been called “crazy” before by my students and I actually take this as great flattery! If I am acting crazy then I must be catching their attention. I move around a lot while teaching using my entire body when possible. I love to have the students do the same movements because if students are using their whole bodies to learn the material then they are more likely to remember it.
I love to give the students a challenge with higher order situations or questions to create opportunities to “up their thinking”. I”ll say something like “I am going to try to stump you, but you guys are so smart that I don’t know if I can”. They love this because they already feel successful and love to prove to me that I couldn’t stump them. This is so fun for me as well because I LOVE to see them expanding their brains to reach something they might not have tried otherwise.