As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m pleased to highlight my next Latina Shero:Teresa de-Leon Hernandez. Teresa a former Oakland Native, is a first grade teacher in the Hayward Unified School Distirct. She’s taught grades first through sixth for 38 years and is still full of energy, dynamic and enthusiastic about teaching. Teresa views teaching as a calling; NOT a job, and it’s very evident in her relationships with students, families and staff.
She graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Liberal Arts and has taught every since. I first met Teresa when we taught together at a charter school in the city of Antioch, CA . Drawn together by hardship and purpose we formed a tight bond that exists today. What I most admired about Teresa’s teaching at the time was her ability to gently guide students to make good choices, and to strive to give their best even in tough situations. Her genuine love for each student is reflected in their trust and respect for her. She has the ability to tap into and promote each child’s strengths, thus this creates an atmosphere where they feel safe to learn and thrive.
Her spirit of camaraderie is a strong asset and she’s well loved by her teaching teams. Teresa is passionately committed to early literacy and she consistently delivers small group interventions as well as one-one, to assure her students succeed. Compassion and empathy are her inner guides for all students, but especially second language learners. She remembers all too well the struggles of learning to speak and perform in English as a child. Her authentic insight helped me to accurately reflect the challenges of Latino children learning to read English in my Mari series, and I”m grateful.
I salute Ms.Hernandez for being “That” Educator who is there for the students and your fellow colleagues. I miss working with you Teresa and would go into the teaching trenches with you anywhere!! Love You Chica!!! xoxox.