When walking through the halls at Northwood, students may see some teachers that they have never seen before. There are many teachers new to the school this year, but none are as new to the profession as Spanish I teacher Cris Herrera. Herrera graduated from UNC-Pembroke in May 2015, and this is his first job.
Herrera knows that his new job comes with lot of new responsibilities and pressure.
“It is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, because I am not just thinking about myself anymore, I am thinking about 30 plus kids now,” Herrera said. “It is only the first week of school, and I can already feel the pressure. I just try not to let it get to me in class.”
Herrera didn’t always want to work in education.
“When I first got to UNCP, I was a mass communication major because I wanted to be a DJ so I could broadcast music,” Herrera said.
Herrera changed his major because of a relationship and how difficult and competitive it is to be a DJ. When he did this, his mentor from the Spanish department suggested teaching. He was reluctant at first, but eventually gave in.
“Everyday, she would talk to me about teaching,” Herrera said. “She tried to convince me for the rest of my college career.”
After graduating, Herrera contacted the Chatham County AVID Coordinator Terry Greenland. Greenland helped Herrera look for a teaching job in the area.
“Mr. Greenland helped me market myself to the schools so I could get a job,” Herrera said.
As a teacher, Herrera has a lot of objectives that he wants to accomplish. His main goal is to make his students feel comfortable.
“As a teacher, I want to get the students more involved and familiar with the language,” Herrera said. “I want to get them out of their shells so they can experience new things with the Spanish language.”
Herrera is also a teacher that believes in giving lessons that don’t just apply to the classroom.
“One thing that I stress to these students is that we all make mistakes everyday,” Herrera said. “I also make sure the students know that it is important to pay attention in every class, because you never know when something could come up in life.”
Herrera knows that there are not very many young males in the teaching industry, and he acknowledges the many obstacles that must be overcome. Herrera is a young teacher with little experience, but he wants it to be known that he is an authority figure.
“The obstacle I have to overcome is drawing the line with respect,” Herrera said. “I have to get used to being an authority figure more often; I am more of a laid back guy, but when it comes to doing our work, I lay down the law and tell them we have to get it done.”
Herrera graduated from rival school Jordan-Matthews and has no hard feelings coming to the other side of the cross-town rivalry.
“I don’t have any hard feelings because I am the type that wants to get better no matter what,” Herrera said. “With the football game coming up, I am definitely going to be cheering for the Chargers.”
Herrera loves being back in the Chatham County area.
“It is cool being back, and I believe it is going to be a great school year,” Herrera said.
– By Jailen Leach