“I was determined that one day I was going to walk by and know what they were saying,” Richardson said.
Richardson has been influenced by teachers over the course of her life. Both of her parents had been teachers, and her father had been a school administrator. However, Richardson did not always know that she wanted to teach Spanish.
While at Rutgers University, Richardson decided to live in the Puerto Rican cultural house, La Casa Boricua.
“It was an awesome, total-immersion experience. I learned so much about the culture including the food, the music, dance, and even las novelas, [Spanish soap operas],” Richardson said.
After graduating from Rutgers, Richardson began working as a substitute teacher while she studied for the PRAXIS exam, a test required to teach full time in New Jersey. Richardson enjoyed substitute teaching very much, and it eventually lead her towards an opportunity to become a bilingual teacher.
“I became very excited about being immersed in the culture once again as a teacher. It was a transitional program, so students started kindergarten learning all subjects in Spanish, with ESL classes [such as] reading, writing, [and] math. Everything was taught in Spanish. In the second grade, they began transitioning to English in their classes.”
Richardson has been teaching in Princeton for 11 years. She enjoys watching her students grow into the language over the years, as well as mature into young adults.
Outside of school, Richardson enjoys reading about how to better herself as a teacher and also enjoys 5Ks.
“Attitude is probably one of the most important things that a student can have. It’s important to know what is expected of them from their teachers and try their hardest to reach their full potential in their classes,” Richardson said.
Furthermore, Richardson adds that communication between students and teachers is essential to realizing that full potential.
“Communication is so key — whenever there is a concern, it’s so important to communicate to the teacher because the teacher only knows whatever the student says. There are students who just remain silent and don’t say anything, and later on when you hear of their problems, it may be too late. So, communicate, communicate, communicate.”