TSTC alum starts career before graduating

Miguel Hernandez

Miguel Hernandez graduated last year with his Associate of Applied Science degree  in Education and Training from Texas State Technical College, and before even putting on his cap and gown, was offered a position at NINOS Head Start at Lamar Elementary School in Harlingen.

The 20-year-old now works as a teacher’s aide, while working toward his dream of becoming a principal and someday a superintendent.

“My interest for teaching started in high school. I was the student always helping around the classroom,” said the Brownsville native. “And when I got to TSTC and did my first observation as a student, it clicked. This was the career for me.”

Hernandez said every day in the classroom is different and he can honestly say he is excited to go to work every morning.

How did TSTC prepare you for your career?

The hands-on training I received in Education and Training made all of the difference in how ready and confident I was entering the classroom as an employee. We practiced everything from lesson planning to technology in the program and this is what helped me find my way in the field.

By the time I entered the classroom as an official teacher’s aide, I already had several hundred hours in a classroom under my belt and I knew what was expected of me. Our instructors ensured that we understood every concept so that we could lead successful careers.  

Who at TSTC had the greatest influence on your success?

My Education and Training instructors Myriam Aguila, Mary Hollmann, Tony Desjardins and Alicia Tijerina all had an influence on my success.

They are all seasoned educators with years of experience that they are always willing to share with their students. They really immerse us in the education field and genuinely want to see us succeed. They help connect all of the dots so that we become better people and educators.

What are your future goals?

In the near future I want to gain experience in the Head Start arena and eventually become a Head Start teacher.

But ultimately, I hope to earn a master’s degree and work my way up to principal, and finally superintendent, so I can help students in their educational journeys and make a difference in their lives and the community.

And maybe somewhere in there, I can earn a degree in psychology so that I can help and understand students on a deeper level.  

What advice do you have for other TSTC students?

Education is so important and opens doors of opportunity. One of my favorite quotes reads, ‘When we hit our lowest, we are open to our greatest change,’ and this is what I want students to remember. No matter how many challenges come your way, you need to remain positive and keep going. This is what allows us to grow and get the education we need to lead successful lives.

Also, get involved on campus. TSTC has so many student organizations that teach leadership and community service. As a volunteer myself across the community, from animal shelters to registering people to vote, I was able to gain skills that I now apply to my job, and it really helped shape who I am and gave me a different college experience.