HML Senior High names two outstanding teachers

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 0 Comments

HML Senior High names two outstanding teachers


Raul Hernandez has been named Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School’s (HML) Teacher of the Year. Hernandez teaches chemistry for all grade levels in Advanced Placement (AP) and honors, and he also teaches AP biology. 

“It truly is an honor to be named teacher of the year. I work with some amazing teachers and to be recognized by my peers is truly amazing,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez graduated from South Miami Senior High School back in 1984, and he received his degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at Florida International University. Although he never planned on being a teacher, when he made the career change, he knew he made the right decision. 

“Once I started teaching, I realized how much I truly loved it. I have been a teacher for the last 15 years and I do not regret my decision for one moment,” expressed Hernandez. “I feel I am truly blessed with an amazing group of students, fellow teachers and administrators.”

Hernandez emphasizes how important it is to establish a connection between teacher and student. He believes that creating this relationship is vital. He’s also a strong believer in preparing his pupils for the future. 

“I respect them all (students) regardless of their background,” Hernandez explained. “You also need to show consistency. If I let them know what I expect from them and make sure we complete this on a daily basis, they know what to do without having to be constantly reminded.”

Hernandez also sponsors the Science National Honor Society at HML. As part of the club, students are encouraged to participate in different competitions. These tournaments include the Fairchild Botanical Garden High School Challenge, Million Orchid Project, Growing Beyond Earth Project and many more. 

Hernandez’s students have consecutively won the silver prize for the Fairchild Botanical Garden Challenge for the last four years. Additionally, with the Growing Beyond Earth Project, students work and collect data to see if plants could flourish in the International Space Station. The data is submitted to Fairchild, which then sends it over to NASA.

Hernandez’s colleague, Johnny Garcia won Rookie Teacher of the Year. Garcia teaches iPrep English to freshmen and sophomores. Garcia actually had his beginnings in HML. In fact, Garcia graduated top three in his class and made it to HML’s Hall of Fame. He earned a full ride scholarship to the University of Florida, and even had the opportunity to travel the world. 

Garcia first began teaching in South Korea in 2012. He taught elementary students in Japan, and began teaching high school in Washington D.C. He eventually made his way back to Miami Lakes to teach at his alma mater. This is his first year teaching at HML. 

“Winning HML's Rookie Teacher of the Year award has been an absolute honor,” described Garcia. 

Garcia, like many freshmen in college, never knew what he wanted to do specifically. But after inspiration from his teachers at HML, and his teaching experience in Gainesville, a lightbulb went off. The rest was history. 

“I never truly knew what I wanted to do when I was younger, but teaching was always a consideration,” Garcia explained. “Even though I didn't specifically know the path I wanted to take, my teachers always pushed me to do better. Eventually, I had the opportunity to tutor migrant families in Gainesville. From there, I fell in love with teaching.”

Garcia explains that his method of teaching involves connecting the adult world with their own feelings. Rather than saying “the real world,” Garcia validates student’s feelings, and gets them ready for life outside of high school. 

"It's important to understand that their feelings and their situations are very real. I believe it's important to try to view the lessons from their point of view,” Garcia said. 


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