From The Classroom To The Hard-courts, Mr. Hernandez Is On The Move!

Mr. Hernandez (black shirt) uses his experience on the road to teach students how to find athletic success at Day Creek.

Maximino H.

Mr. Hernandez (black shirt) uses his experience on the road to teach students how to find athletic success at Day Creek.

Arush V., Josep M., Pablo G-S., Ginny Z., and Nikki K.

Imagine teaching math all of your career before making a sudden switch to P.E. Mr. Hernandez, a former eighth-grade math and science teacher at Day Creek Intermediate, has reintroduced himself as a P.E. teacher for the 2022-2023 school year. Hernandez had been teaching within the four walls of a classroom for twenty-three years, yet it was time for something different.

“I wanted to be a P.E. teacher from the start,” said Mr. Hernandez. However, when he originally interviewed in the Etiwanda School District, a P.E. position wasn’t available. A math and science position was, so he accepted the position. Two decades have passed, and Hernandez established a long legacy of wearing a lab coat and teaching equations before making the recent switch to the hardcourts and gym. When a P.E position opened at the conclusion of the 2022 school year, he wasted little time before accepting the district’s offer.

Mr. Hernandez originally attended college at Azusa Pacific University, completing the requirements to teach P.E. “I had a minor in kinesiology, which is the study of the movement of the body,” he said. 

Mr. Hernandez knows all about taking care of himself. As a cyclist who started biking when he was in middle school, he has been cycling professionally since 2004. Hernandez has won many titles, including a recent California state championship.

Hernandez’s work ethic comes in handy when teaching middle school students who often struggle toward finding success. When he loses races, he shared that he grows from the loss and works hard to improve his skills. “Cycling is a sport where when you don’t win, you learn,” he said.

After his first race in 2004, “somebody on the side said that I was the strongest, most dumb bike rider they had ever seen,” Hernandez said. He quickly learned that he was using his strengths at all the wrong times. After the race, his coach offered him several pointers that he took to heart. The results for his next race? First place.

All of those years of racing have added to the knowledge Mr. Hernandez gained in college regarding rest, diet, and exercise. He recognizes how invaluable it is that P.E. teachers work to motivate students to want to stay fit. “As long as you enjoy moving, you can find ways to motivate others to move,” Hernandez said. 

Mr. Hernandez has had to adjust expectations with his recent career change. Working with a large number of kids on the courts and fields takes a different set of skills than teaching math and science in the typical classroom.

“What’s been odd is the difference between working with thirty or thirty-five students to working with two hundred to three-hundred students at a time,” said Mr. Hernandez. 

There are also benefits to the job that he didn’t initially expect. With those larger groups comes an opportunity to impact the lives of a greater number of students in a unique environment. 

“Honestly, I think that it’s building those relationships…to get to know the kids other than just a math kid or just a science kid,” Hernandez said.

And if building rapport helps encourage a stronger, faster, and healthier middle school student, then Mr. Hernandez has achieved a whole new kind of victory. 

“If we can teach you anything else in middle school, it’s to have a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to be a pro athlete. You don’t have to be a world champion of any sort. But just learning that you can do this and have fun with your friends,” Hernandez said.