Cannon-Clary College of Education

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    Meet Elizabeth Recinos

Like others in the Degree Completion in Education program at Harding University Northwest Arkansas, junior elementary education major Elizabeth Recinos began her college education at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. After hearing from Dr. Meredith Young, director of Harding University Northwest Arkansas, and learning about the small class sizes, Elizabeth said she was drawn to transfer to Harding because of its community atmosphere and helpful teachers and administrators.

“They know you more than maybe if I would’ve gone to a bigger program,” Elizabeth said. “Just the fact that it’s smaller helps because they really know your needs and everything.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Elizabeth was working during the day. She said she appreciated the evening classes because it allowed her to work and go to school at the same time.

“It allows people of all ages and stages to be able to attend school,” Elizabeth said. “Personally, I am not a mother with a full-time job, but I've met individuals who are, and this has benefited them. If I ever want to go back to school at the Rogers campus for anything, I know I could do that without worrying about it interfering with my life.”

Elizabeth grew up speaking Spanish with her parents and did not learn English until she attended preschool. She said because of this, she was a struggling reader throughout school. She said during her time at Harding, she has realized the accommodations and help she received made an impact on her education.

“Now as I look back and have taken classes at Harding, I realize that when teachers put pictures in the directions or read instructions or questions out loud, it was for us — [English-language learner] students,” Elizabeth said. “If it wouldn't have been like that, I would have been very lost on what to do. As I look back, I do appreciate the time and effort teachers took to help us be a part of the class like everyone else.”

Elizabeth said she never intended to become a teacher, but her growth as a reader influenced her to want to help kids in the same way.

“I realized that I liked helping out students who really didn’t comprehend because I was a student who always needed that help,” Elizabeth said. “Once I got to the point where I understood and I was able to help them, I realized, … ‘I like to help them out. I like seeing them understand what they’re learning.’”

These influential teachers and experiences motivated her to specialize in English as a second language. She said she wants to give to students what many of her teachers gave to her.

“Having struggled myself, appreciating what other students and teachers did for me, and knowing that there will be several students who will need this same help, whether in my native language or in another, I want to be prepared to help them learn even when it's in a new language to them, one that they are still learning about,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth will graduate from Harding in May 2021 with a degree in elementary education. She plans to stay in Arkansas for the foreseeable future but hopes to eventually teach internationally.