We all know Ms. Anna Fernandez as the funny and caring Spanish teacher here at Christian Brothers. But how much do you really know about her? All of her students love how easy she is to talk to and the close personal connection she shares with them. The Talon talked to Ms. Fernandez about her […]
We all know Ms. Anna Fernandez as the funny and caring Spanish teacher here at Christian Brothers. But how much do you really know about her? All of her students love how easy she is to talk to and the close personal connection she shares with them. The Talon talked to Ms. Fernandez about her background and those close to her about how she has left an impact on them.
Ms. Fernandez grew up in Winters, a really small town near Davis.
“My favorite part about my childhood was probably growing up in a small town,” she shared. “You knew everybody, and my neighborhood was all about hanging out and playing after school” .
Before attending college at UC Davis, Ms. Fernandez didn’t know that she wanted to be a teacher.
“I minored in education, because in my head, I always wanted to do the more research part of it. I wanted to collect data and work on making school policies and the school department better,” she explained.
“So when I applied to graduate school, I applied to a masters program, which also had a credential component to it. So in order to get that credential, I needed to student teach, so they put me out there and then once I started teaching I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t bad at all.’ Then I decided to get my masters but not continue to pursue a career in research and instead try teaching, and I’ve been loving it ever since.”
Ms. Fernandez’s interest in education grew as she decided to apply for a job at CB. Her initial fear before applying was the fact that it was a private school, which she had never experienced before. But once she started, she knew Christian Brothers was the place for her.
“I was a short term sub for about a month, but CB was my first really full-time teaching job,” she revealed.
“At first I was a little hesitant — knowing that it was a private school — because I grew up in all public schools, and when I student taught, it was all public. I had no idea what a private school would be like. CB had an open position and it just sounded pretty interesting from what other people were saying about CB. They said how it was Catholic and I grew up being Catholic, so I just went for it and applied. It was one of the first jobs I ever applied to. They offered me the job so I stopped doing the whole job hunt and started teaching at CB.”
Many students have created tight bonds with Ms. Fernandez during their high school years. She’s easy to talk to and makes all her students feel like they can come to her with anything.
“My favorite thing about teaching is interacting with the students,” she explained. “I think it’s pretty cool that you’re not only able to teach but also hang out and interact and build relationships with students. Getting to know the students has been the best part.”
“I hope to make an impact on someone in a positive way.”
Sam Noe (’18) is a junior that has had Ms. Fernandez as her teacher and explained why she loves her so much.
“I love how much she connects with us. She not only knows us as students, but she knows us on a personal level as well. She’s really open to having a relationship with you.”
The importance of creating a productive as well as fun learning environment is obviously important to Ms. Fernandez, as she gives her students a class to look forward to.
“A normal day in the classroom is kind of hectic sometimes,” Sam laughed. “It’s a lot more fun than other classes even on days when we are just sitting there taking notes. We still have good class conversations, and I feel like in a foreign language class, that is not something that usually happens, so it’s really fun.”
Sam went on to talk about how Ms. Fernandez teaches in a unique way, balancing learning and fun. Sam explained how she is always willing to help you when you need it, and she will be patient until you understand it.
“Her teaching style is laid back but strict at the same time,” Sam shared. “She’ll help you out a lot. You never have to be afraid to go up and talk to her because she is really caring. But she is strict in the way that she wants you to get your work done, and she’ll set guidelines for how to help the students do well.”
Mo McGovern (’17), a former student and now TA for Ms. Fernandez, agreed with Sam.
“I remember as a teacher that she was pretty chill but strict when she needed to be. She’s someone that you could talk to and [feels] comfortable around. She makes you feel more like she’s a friend than a teacher.”
Mo has been a TA for Ms. Fernandez for the past two years and shares a close connection with her.
“I decided to TA for Ms. Fernandez junior and senior year because I had an open period, and she was the first person I thought of because I just always love talking to her.”
“Our relationship now is more like friends,” Mo said. “I haven’t been her student for a while and so it’s more of a friendship than teacher-to-student relationship. I eat lunch in her classroom sometimes, and she was my Kairos leader so that was amazing.”
Mo’s favorite memory of Ms. Fernandez is experiencing Kairos with her as a leader.
“Being able to share the bond that Kairos gives with her was amazing, and I didn’t know she was going to be my leader,” Mo said. “When I found out, I was so excited because she is someone who I was familiar with and felt comfortable around.”
“She’s so funny and caring. She definitely has a part of her that’s like, ‘Okay we have to get to work,’ but there are also sides of her where we have time to joke around and not everything has to be so strict and serious. She allows students time to have fun in her class and have conversations with her. She is just fun in general to talk to and to be around.”
A colleague and friend of Ms. Fernandez, Ms. Kelsey Wong, spoke about her relationship with Ms. Fernandez and how close they’ve gotten this past year.
“I have known her since last August, but we didn’t hang out as much until maybe the middle of last spring — so around February/March of 2016.”
“I would say Anna is an introvert, but when you get to know her better, she’s super warm, passionate, and really loving, and she really cares about her students. She’s also really funny. For us, it wasn’t an instant connection at first, but now she is one of my best friends and we really get along because we have a similar sense of humor,” Ms. Wong expressed.
She added that having someone in the foreign language department to learn from and to help guide her is also very nice, as Ms. Wong is still quite new to teaching at CB.
“She gives me great teaching advice on how to better test my students and what some good activities are that work for her,” she shared. “It gives me the chance to interpret it how I wish and to use it in my own classes. Even today we were talking a lot about things like finals, and she was giving me great advice and I’m always just like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is such a great idea! Why didn’t I think about that before?'”
Ms. Wong discussed her initial fears about teaching and how Ms. Fernandez helped make her feel welcome.
“When I first started teaching here, I was really nervous about the age gap and everything because a lot of teachers here are older, so she just made me feel more welcome. We have a lot in common, like our interest in social justice,” Ms. Wong explained.
Ms. Wong has loved working with Ms. Fernandez as a colleague, but she also deeply respects Ms. Fernandez’ personal traits.
“She is really good at discrepancy. She doesn’t have a big mouth, and I know I can trust her. She’s very loyal. I just really love having her as someone I can go to just to hang out with but also someone I can go to to ask work questions,” Ms. Wong shared. “She is my closest friend on campus, so it’s nice to have someone in my department that I can really trust. Having her as a close work friend is really great because it makes coming to work a lot easier and more fun.”
It’s evident that Ms. Fernandez knows how to make her students feel comfortable and treat them as if they are her friends, and her students definitely appreciate her for it.
“I’ve learned that teachers don’t have to be just teachers. You can share a relationship with them. I talk to her more as if we were just friends,” Mo expressed.
“She has taught me to really just be true to who you are and [not] let other people change you,” Sam added. “Ms. Fernandez is just an overall amazing person. She is really easy to talk to about anything.”
We all know and love Ms. Fernandez and every wonderful part of her personality: loving, kind, funny, loyal, and easy to talk to. She makes her students feel loved and works with them until they understand new concepts. Her room is always flooded with kids during breaks, lunch, and after school because students feel so comfortable in her accepting presence.
As students, we want to thank you for everything you have done for us, Ms. Fernandez. Thank you for always being someone we can go to when we need homework help, have personal problems, or just to talk. We love you, Ms. Fernandez!