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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Passion For Education: Two SE faculty members turn love for teaching into book

SE+associate+Spanish+professor+Angel+Hidalgo+stares+at+a+computer+being+used+by+SE+associate+humanities+instructor+Anel+Herrera.+Joel+Solis%2FThe+Collegian
SE associate Spanish professor Angel Hidalgo stares at a computer being used by SE associate humanities instructor Anel Herrera. Joel Solis/The Collegian
SE associate Spanish professor Angel Hidalgo stares at a computer being used by SE associate humanities instructor Anel Herrera. Joel Solis/The Collegian
SE associate Spanish professor Angel Hidalgo stares at a computer being used by SE associate humanities instructor Anel Herrera.
Joel Solis/The Collegian

CAMERON WEBSTER &
RABBIA MOLAI
campus editors
collegian.editor@my.tccd.edu

Faculty members Angel Hidalgo and Anel Herrera are the epitome of the American dream, two immigrants who used education to overcome hardships. 

When you arrive to a different country, the first thing you must do is to adapt,” Hidalgo said. “My Cuban culture is different from the North American culture. So, you must find a way to integrate into the new society and learn the language.”

Hidalgo is an SE associate Spanish professor and Herrera is an SE associate humanities instructor. Their passion for education led to a collaborative effort, resulting in their book “Be Successful in America.” 

“We are dedicated to education, and we have an infinite love for the teaching profession,” Hidalgo said. “It was easy for us to write about our experiences, but the goal of the book are the students. No matter where you come from or the obstacles you face, you just must focus on studying, and you will surely achieve success.” 

He started his journey at TCC as a student taking English as a second language and eventually earned his associate degree in art. After his time as a student, he felt like he needed to stay connected to the school in some way or another and knew he would end up coming back as an instructor at some point.

His experience as an SE professor is one of the reasons he wanted to write the book. 

“The book has taught me to strengthen myself as a teacher and as a writer,” Hidalgo said. “The main thing is that I understand the students better, and in this way, I not only teach them Spanish, but I also help them in their decisions and goals for the future.”

Herrera is Mexican American and was raised by her grandmother in Laredo, where she grew up in a conservative, Spanish-speaking household. One of the most important lessons she was taught was that continuing her education would lead her to a better life.

 “I always knew I would not become a housewife,” she said. “Education was always the way to succeed in life.”

Herrera spent her freshman year of college at the Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Life, however, led her to Dallas, where she decided to take a break from school. She said she knew she would always go back, though.

After nearly 10 years away, Herrera returned as a student to the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, with a minor in business administration, but she was not done there.

“There was a professor who inspired me to keep going, and I started my master’s degree and graduated from UTA with a modern languages in Spanish master’s degree,” Herrera said.

They have previously worked together on three other books before “Be Successful in America.” Both Hidalgo and Herrera have such a passion for education that writing books together seemed like a no-brainer. 

For them, the most important part of the process was using their own experiences as immigrants and the similarities and differences from their upbringing to create a fusion of knowledge from both the male and female perspectives.

Hidalgo said it was incredibly important to both him and Herrera to keep the wording of the book simple to understand so it can be easily accessible to students and instructors. They have structured the book to have a natural flow from the perspective of being a student to becoming an instructor, highlighting all the trials and tribulations along the way.

“I had written a book of poems in Spanish before this,” Herrera said. “The idea was to write about our experiences, but because I am a doctoral student pursuing a degree in educational leadership, Dr. Hidalgo asked me to also write about my knowledge in education.”

Herrera contributed to the book with insight on “how to manage a classroom,”

“leadership,” “educational theories” and information on “how to create a lesson plan.”

According to Herrera, the book was written with the theme of inspiring students to pursue their goals. She wants educators who read the book to remember they too were once students.

“Professors need to be helpful, and they also need to remember that we are here to serve the students,” Herrera said.

The experience of writing the book has helped Herrera heed her own advice during hard times. She hopes her story shows others it’s possible to continue their education no matter what.

“My background as a student who was able to come back to college after taking about a 10-year break made me think that if I can do it, other students can as well,” Herrera said. “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.”

Hidalgo and Herrera have poured their heart and soul into creating this book for future students and instructors in hopes of helping them gain the success they seek, regardless of the struggles they may face.

“You will see that there will be obstacles along the way, but if you prepare yourself and have a goal, you will surely achieve success in your life,” Hidalgo said.

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