Teacher of the week 3: Richard Cortez
Teachers are real life superheroes. Every day, CHS teachers touch the lives of thousands of students, and their work extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. To show appreciation for these teachers, the Crier asked students to identify teachers that have made a real impact in their lives. A new student and teacher will be featured each week.
For week three, Michael Kim, ‘17, and Adithya Chari, ‘18, nominated math teacher Richard Cortez.
Kim: [Mr. Cortez] led me towards my passion in computer science. I took his computer science class, and I really enjoyed it. It led me towards deciding to major in computer science in college. He also taught me how to think logically in computer science and life in general.
Chari: Mr. Cortez’s teaching style allowed me to understand the logic behind what I was typing, and he forced us to work with each other and consult other sources to improve our code. His emphasis on teamwork and self learning allowed me to fully understand Java.
Crier: What was your reaction when you found out you were a teacher hero?
Cortez: [I was] honored. The awards that require student nomination are the best ones.
Crier: How do you make computer programming easier for students to understand?
Cortez: I try to relate the material to things they have done in the past. I also try to make kids understand that learning is a process. It doesn’t come quickly or easily, but when it does it feels good. This is in contrast to topics that are really easy for students. The other thing I do is to allow students that don’t do well to redo their projects. This gives the students that struggle a chance to feel that same sense of accomplishment, even if it is delayed a couple of weeks.
Crier: What are some things you like to do outside of school with your family?
Cortez: We enjoy camping during the summer. We also enjoy playing board games and reading books together.
Crier: If you went on a math themed competition, and the prize was a million dollars, which other teacher from your department would you take as your partner and why?
Cortez: Mrs. Willis because of her dedication to teaching. She is one of the hardest working people that I know. [I would also choose] Mrs. Mogge because of her dedication to our low achieving students. She has taught our lowest level for years and those kids couldn’t have a better teacher.
Crier: What’s your favorite math concept?
Cortez: I really don’t have a specific one. Instead I would just say that my favorite part of computer science is seeing students light up when it finally clicks. It is unlike anything I have experienced in regular math classes.