Who am I? One might ask. I know a lot of my middle school students begin struggling with this question. In all honesty, I am, as an adult (whose age is for me to know and for you to possibly try to find out) am still struggling with. Here is what I know:

I was born in Orange County. To some of you that may give you the impression I grew up “rich” or “privileged”. I don’t know what you have heard about “the OC,” but not everyone there is rich or privileged. I was neither. At the age of 3 my family moved to Irvine, CA (still in the OC) where I lived until moving to the dorms at Biola University.

I graduated from Irvine High School in XXXX (remember, I choose not to make my age super easy to figure out), however I did graduate in this millennium.

My school was very academically competitive. In my lunch crowd we had AP Scholars of Distinction, a National Merit Finalist, and in general a bunch of nerdy, geeky, smarty pants and bandos. (I was a choir nerd and super jealous that I did not do well enough on the PSAT to be a National Merit Finalist). I am proud to say I was an AP Scholar with Distinction, having passed 10 AP exams all with 4s or 5s (with the exception of AP Spanish, sadly, I only passed that one with a 3). I received 1 B throughout high school for one of my semesters of AP Physics. My hubby, a Physics/Math double major at UC Riverside says that my AP Physics was lame, mostly because it was not calc based. I say, having jumped from junior high exposure to physics to AP made it stinking hard.

My weighted GPA was well over a 4.0, however, due to the academic competitiveness of my school they did not publish who valedictorian was. I know for sure I was in the top 5% of my class. I have heard it on the grape vine that, if published, I would have been the stated valedictorian.

My freshman year of high school I was bound and determined to attend Stanford. By sophomore year, my sights were set on Harvey Mudd. Then, in junior year, I attend a preview event at Biola University, and fell in love. With the school, not with some dude I met there :).

So Biola University  became my home for the next 4 years. After falling in love the spring of my Junior year I attend an event on campus on November 8th, XXXX (my senior year). The event is no longer held at Biola. It was call BEAT: Biola Early Action Time. Attend for a day, visit classes, find out if your accepted before you leave. So on November 8th I left campus with an acceptance letter and a plan to apply for THI,  or Torrey Honors Institute. Now, I did still apply to Cal State Fullerton, as it was actually within my family’s budget. To this day, XX years later, I am still paying for my Biola education. If you not aware, Biola is a private Christian school, and stinkin’ expensive. (worth every penny).

Upon graduation I made plans to attend UC Irvine to study for a Masters in Math with a Teaching Credential. … Get to Irvine after the best summer ever (4 months of summer due to graduating around Memorial day then starting a quarter system school practically in October), only to find out the professor in charge of the program is gone, and no one bothered to tell me the program to which I had received acceptance essentially no longer existed.

So Masters in Math, no teaching credential it was.

This is when I discovered something I had forgotten, like since 8th grade. I had forgotten that math can be a challenge, to put it kindly. A bang your head against a wall in frustration for hours on end, stay up too late, and work with a group of classmates hoping one of you will eventually make a breakthrough kind of challenge.

A challenge I failed to meet.

Enter failure into the life of Carisa Hernandez (I was not a Koch at the time).

So, Teaching Credential without Masters in Math, it was.

Enter failure.

So, career in hospitality management, it was.

Enter failure.

In 2010, I meet Mr. Koch. My life was not quite as failurific at this point. 2011 get engaged, November 21, 2012 married.

2013 – dream of become a teacher realized.

I had wanted to be a teacher since first forgetting how hard math could be in 8th grade. I am an 8th grade teacher because math became easy and fun for me in 8th grade. If I knew I wanted to be a teacher, why did it take XX years to accomplish my goal.

One word. Actually, one symbol. $.

If you are unaware, to become a teacher in the state of California, one must:

  1. Get a bachelors degree. $$$
  2. Get finger print clearance $
  3. Pass a bunch of tests $$
  4. attend a crendentialing program $$$
  5. student teach $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
  6. complete 2 years of induction $$$?

I just couldn’t afford to student teach. It was not a financial possibility for me. At the time I wanted to be a teacher it was not very easy to find internships. There were a glut of teachers. More teachers than available jobs, meaning next to 0 internships. Thus student teaching $$$$$$$$$$$ was the only way to get my credential.

Reality check: having 2 incomes and good credit can make $$$$$$$$$ possible. Now I will be paying $$$$$$$$$ for potentially the next 30 years to pay for my education, but I get to do what I love.

I taught 2 years at 2 different high schools in the OC. Then, I fell in love, again. This time with MDAE. The school I currently work at. I was wooed away from the OC, which Mr. Koch was very happy to leave and found myself in this strange new land, the High Desert.

I fell in love, first with Melva Davis Academy of Excellence, then with the high desert, then with HDC (getting to spend time with the most adorable neice and nephews on a weekly basis helped), then with my humble abode, then with Mrs. Melva Davis herself. (I was privileged to attend the dedication of our site to our eponym (I learned that word at said dedication), and Mrs. Melva Davis is one amazing lady. I am proud to work at the school named for her.

If you want to learn more about me as a human being  Find me on Facebook.

If you want to join me as a seek out new places, and boldy go where no man has gone before….Be a part of my PLF of Twitter  or join me on Voxer where you will find me as ckoch3226.

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