Richard Hernandez ’20 does it all, from cross country and new student orientation to SGA and peer tutoring. His true passion, however, is in math and education, which is why he dedicates most of his time to preparing for a career in teaching.

The Dream Team

For Richard Hernandez ’20, everything ties back to education. The North Branford, CT, native comes from a family of educators, and, true to his roots, he’s continuing that tradition by studying to become an elementary school teacher.

“My senior year of high school I did a volunteer program for an entire year at the local elementary school,” he said. “It was in a kindergarten classroom, and it was called the Dream Team.”

Photo of Richard Hernandez, an elementary education and mathematics double major

As a member of the Dream Team, Richard helped instill a love of learning in his youngsters, even getting them excited about Read Across America. This was a central experience in his life, as it gave him a sense of purpose when it came to his college search.

“I looked at 10 schools in Massachusetts and one in Vermont, and I just realized how great the education program is here at Elms,” Richard said. “There’s just a handful of education professors, and I got that feeling from them beforehand that they really cared and wanted me to succeed.”

Educational Theory and Practice

As a double major in elementary education and mathematics, Richard is preparing to take two MTEL exams during the 2018-2019 school year. Before he starts his teaching practicum, he is taking the time to craft his teaching philosophy and reflect on the different experiences he has had in the education program.

Prof. Rene was just incredible in teaching me the process of how to write a lesson plan,” he recalled. “I would go to her office two or three times per week, and she was always willing to have her door open and answer any questions I had.”

After observing classes at a local elementary school, middle school, and high school, he concluded that primary school is where he can make the biggest difference.

‘As a teacher, you really want to stress the enjoyment of learning, especially with those younger grades. It’s crucial that they get certain skills to succeed in both life and the classroom.’

Making math a fun subject to learn can be challenging, but with effective lesson planning, even multiplication tables and timed tests can be exciting, Richard said.

“You Can Learn a Lot Outside the Classroom”

When he isn’t studying in the library, Richard can be found all over campus: He’s a two-time captain of the cross country team, a two-time orientation leader, a three-time Student Government Association rep, and, if that wasn’t enough, he decided to become a peer tutor in fall 2018.

Photo of Richard Hernandez, an elementary education and mathematics double major

His reason for being involved in so much is simple: “It’s a great way to make an impact. You can learn a lot outside of the classroom.

“I’m a lifelong learner. I just enjoy learning. I love it.”

The education program at Elms offers a diverse range of majors that will prepare you to teach in a variety of educational contexts. Contact us or schedule a campus visit to learn more.