Humans of Parkland: Montserrat Oliveras-Heras
Montserrat Oliveras-Heras, originally from Spain, is a Spanish professor at Parkland. She attended both Universidad Central in Barcelona and the University of Illinois for her BA and graduate studies respectively.
“I started at Parkland teaching sporadically at night years ago, but I was hired full time in the fall of 2004,” she said. “I grew up in Barcelona, Spain. I perfected my English in Ireland while working as an au-pair. I attended the Universidad Central in Barcelona for my BA, and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for my graduate studies.”
After finishing her graduate studies, she began teaching. She taught at two other places other than Parkland.
“I taught in an Adult School in Spain and at the University of Illinois,” she said.
After teaching at both the Adult School, and the University of Illinois, Oliveras-Heras chose Parkland, because it was the perfect fit for her.
“It was the perfect choice for me, because my life was changed by education, and I wanted to help to provide that same change to others,” she said. “I was happy at the University of Illinois, but I felt that the faculty there cared more for research than teaching, and I was interested in teaching. I like the small classes we have here and the interaction we establish with our students. I have always had my students refer to me by my first name.”
Not only is Parkland the perfect fit for her, several friendships have been made between herself and some students. She enjoys seeing current and past students around town.
“I have made wonderful friendships over the years among my students and some of my former students are now best friends,” she said. “I love going around town and having students greeting me with a smile everywhere I go: banks, car dealerships, laundromats, restaurants…”
Oliveras-Heras has had many wonderful memories at Parkland College, but her favorite of all times is a student whom she refers to as MM.
“Yes, [when it comes to my favorite memory] I want to mention my favorite student of all times,” she said. “Her initials are MM. She was French. She was a student in one of my conversation classes. One day, I requested a short composition. In hers, she stated that she was born in 1919. Thinking it was a mistake, I pointed it out to her…She said: ‘No, I was born that year!’ That meant that she was 84 at the time! And still learning Spanish!”
She says that what she saw in MM is the kind of seed she would like to instill and see in all her students.
“That is the seed I’d like to instill and see in all my students: the seed of curiosity and the desire for a long-life learning,” she said. “Not only she was still attending classes, it was a delight to have her in class: witty, fun, smart… [She was] interesting, [and] participatory… I am proud that my institution offers the possibility of continuing learning to the community.”