The Douglasville native has been involved in learning Spanish since middle school. She was part of the first group of Douglas County middle school students to start taking a foreign language when it was offered at that level.
“I felt it was important to be bilingual because it has been shown that bilingual students usually received higher grades in school, overall, then their monolingual peers,” she said.
Hernandez is no stranger to the Douglas County School System either as a student or employee.
The 29-year-old mother of one is a 2003 graduate of Chapel Hill High School and has been employed by the school system for six years, serving as an office clerk at Beulah Elementary School before transferring to the district’s front office.
“I taught Spanish classes for our school system employees, but I had a strong ambition to teach Spanish to our students,” she said.
With that desire, she attended Mercer University and earned her pre-kindergarten through grade 12 teacher certification in Spanish.
This is her first year as a Spanish teacher at New Manchester High School and she said her first couple of weeks has been, as she termed it, “great, just like I had anticipated.”
“I am very happy to be in the classroom teaching high school students in my Spanish I and II classes,” she said.
Hernandez said the most difficult element of teaching high school students a foreign language is eliminating the false belief some have that they cannot learn another language because it is different from English.
She said she does not see a big difference in teaching Spanish to high school students or older adults, though students generally seem to realize the growing importance of understanding and communicating in a foreign language.
However, Hernandez said she does not want her students to learn Spanish just so they can pass a class.
“I believe it is important to teach a language like Spanish in such a way that students can actually use it throughout their lives,” she said. “Advances in communications are making our economy, and even our lives, global in scope.”