Category Archive: teaching

My graduation

In 2010 I started on a very part-time basis my Masters degree program through the university I work for, taking one class per term.  When I started the program I thought that perhaps one day when I finished and attended my commencement ceremony I might have a child to share the celebration with and lo and behold the day arrived and Sirena was able to be there with me along with the rest of my family. She was a huge inspiration to me in the last year of the program to finish the degree and it meant the world to me that she was there to see her Mama walk across the stage and get handed her diploma.

Photos from the commencement ceremony…











Words cannot describe how much my mom’s support means to me, especially when it comes to earning this degree. <3



My favorite photo of the day


Proud of my Masters’ hood! (Because when else am I ever going to get a chance to wear it?!)


Photos from the grad party my mom hosted for me…



My Aunt Kathy came up with a fun “What Would Lisa Do?” questionnaire that all of the guests tried to answer.



The winners (tied) for who knows me the best! 🙂



Part of the gang


The look on their faces says it all!


Love my siblings


My family <3


Proud of her Mama 🙂

Reflections on student teaching

It’s hard to believe that the 18 weeks of student teaching are actually over (as of May 10 to be exact!) because it seemed to consume my whole life while I was going through it.  Although it was the most challenging months of my life, juggling my 10+ hour days with working full-time, student teaching half-time, and being a student (not to mention all while pregnant!)…it was also extremely rewarding.

I worked with Mr. H’s class of 6th graders for the first half and Mr. R’s class of 7th graders for the second half.  Here are some highlights and some things I learned about myself as an educator:

  • I laughed a LOT with the students I was working with.  They are so entertaining in their creative ways of thinking about the world and they never ceased to crack me up.  My university mentor told me that I “smile a lot in class” which she says is great for building and maintaining a positive classroom environment but I honestly couldn’t see myself not smiling so much with their wonderful ways of looking at the world.
  • My experience with sixth graders is that they are sweet and still try to please the teacher.  My experience with seventh graders is that they think they know what’s going on, they aren’t afraid to question the teacher, and they engage in back-and-forth discussion with the teacher.  At least with these two groups of students I found that I enjoy working with seventh graders just a little more because they are just a bit more witty and I really enjoyed having that back-and-forth discussion with them.  They are a lot less inhibited, ask amazingly deep questions, and can engage in some higher order thinking than the sixth graders.
  • I learned that, although I’d be happy with just about any middle school history teaching position I was offered, I don’t think I want to teach eighth grade U.S. History as much any more–I realized how interested I am personally in the seventh grade curriculum (Medieval and Early Modern Times: the Roman Empire, Medieval China, Japan, Africa, Europe, Meso-American and Andean civilizations, the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason) and what an impact I can make on the understanding of and appreciation of these topics with my students as it seems to be the least focused on at least in my own personal experience in middle school.
  • I’m really good at pacing–I plan lectures, activities, etc. with just enough time to keep the students engaged but not let them get bored.
  • I was told by my university mentor, Mr. H, and Mr. R that I have an “incredible gift” of building rapport with students, something that they say is not easy to do.  I’ve always considered myself to be good with kids and although I had my share of challenges with classroom management, I do think that my ability to get to know the students on a one-on-one basis and connect to them in ways that not all adults are able to helped me manage the class a lot easier than if I hadn’t.
  • I realized that what I struggle with the most is:
  1. Planning ahead: I’d find myself working on lesson plans until the late hours of the night for the next day and although I know I had my crazy schedule to blame I do not want to be that teacher!  It always came together and I don’t think the students ever noticed but I definitely don’t want to spend my life doing that.
  2. Preparing for absences: If a student was absent and showed up the next day I always struggled with having materials and their missed assignments to get them up to speed–this is something I really need to come up with a good system for.
  3. Over-planning: This doesn’t seem like it could be too much of a problem (I mean, it’s better than not planning enough to fill a class period!) but if I can’t get to all of the activities/instruction I had planned for each day and have to push things back a day (which then can snowball) that doesn’t allow for me to accomplish all of the learning goals I had set up.
  • On my last day with the sixth graders, Mr. H made brownies for the class and had the students share reasons “Why Mrs. Delmar is going to be a good teacher”…their answers were awesome and my favorites were: “Because you make learning fun”, “Because you work really hard”, and, my favorite, “Because you like kids.”  The students made me a really sweet card too!
  • On my last day with the seventh graders, the students surprised me with cupcakes that they baked and decorated themselves and gave me a super sweet card as well thanking me for my time with them!
  • I was told on a number of occasions by different folks who came in to observe me teach that I am “a natural”–there are no words that made me feel more confident about my career choice than those.
  • Each day when I would leave at the lunch hour to go to work I did not want to leave.  Each day I would think about the day in the future that I wouldn’t have to and I’d have my own class, my own students, and my own ways of doing things and it would make me so happy.

I learned a lot about myself as an educator and more than anything it solidified for me that teaching middle school history is exactly where I am meant to be in life.  I’ll be filing for my California teaching credential this summer and my hope is to be teaching middle school history in the near future!

A baby story: Week 24

Week 24: Baby’s the size of a grapefruit!

We’re at the six month mark!  And me and Sirena have kept ourselves mighty busy this week.  I’m in my second-to-last week of student teaching at my first placement (6th grade Ancient World History) and I’ve been in charge of the class just about every day–it’s been a lot of fun albeit pretty stressful with having to plan instruction for three weeks total (we’re on Ancient India).  Also teaching related: this past weekend I went to an amazing conference on “Critical Thinking for Teachers” hosted by The Foundation for Critical Thinking and I learned so, so much.  I was so appreciative of the opportunity given me by the university I work for to participate in this conference on their dime and not only do I now have a ton of good stuff to use in the classroom, I also have a great starting point to work on my own thinking since I (along with many others) have a ton of work to do!  🙂

At the conference I had another “first” in this pregnancy–I had a random stranger ask me if I was expecting.  This is the first time that someone I didn’t know noticed the bulging belly and thought it was appropriate to ask if I was pregnant (definitely a touchy subject for some because I know that some women have been asked if they’re expecting when they’re not…oy!).  And over the weekend we had another “first”–Sirena got her first piece of mail!  It was a book mailed to her directly and the funny thing is, we’re not really sure who it’s from!  So if it was from you, come out of the dark so we can thank you properly.  🙂

She still kicks me all day long (I don’t think I will ever get tired of feeling her kick me!) and I got a good video of her squirming around in there.  I know some people find pregnant bellies weird (I’m kind of one of those) but now that it’s happening to me I’m so intrigued by it all that I can’t help but share the quirkiness with family/friends here.

Here’s a link to a 20-second YouTube video of our little grapefruit alien making herself comfortable.  There are two good shakes of the belly on this video.

Belly shots!

She seems to have gone through a pretty big growth spurt this week as the belly is making some major progress!  When I’m walking around I definitely feel more weight in the front and sometimes have to walk holding the bottom part of my stomach because it seems so heavy.  I can only imagine what it will feel like at 39 weeks like our good friend Kim (and Frank) are at right now!!

Lola ran up to me as I was taking these shots on a self-timer and dropped her ball at my feet then sat down and looked up at me.  That girl pretends to not be photogenic but, as each week’s post proves, she sure is a ham!

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained: Not sure! Of course the bathroom scale we’ve had since we got married 5.5 years ago decided to go kaput this week so I’m not sure how much we’re weighing at this week.  Until next week…
  • Updates on the baby’s room: It’s still slowly coming along.  Remember the leak we had in the second bedroom a few weeks ago from the big rains we had?  Yeah, well, it’s still not fixed.  The maintenance guy has returned this week and hopefully (fingers crossed!) it will all be taken care of by this weekend.  We did make a big baby purchase a few weeks ago, though, that I can’t wait to unveil when we can actually put it in the baby room: a beautiful dresser/changing table!  And hopefully we’ll have a crib by the end of the weekend as well (thank goodness for craigslist!)
  • The (dis)comforts of pregnancy: The past few weeks I’ve been woken up every other night with some pretty massive leg cramps–not only the typical charlie horse but simultaneously I get a cramp in my calf, in my shin, and in my toes…!  I also seem to still have an actual belly button but each week it gets more and more shallow.  Me and Kevin still can’t imagine what it’s going to be like without an actual belly button when the belly gets big enough!  Here’s hoping I don’t get an outie.  :-/

A baby story: Week 21

Week 21: Baby’s the length of a carrot!

There hasn’t been too much going on in the baby department this week.  Still lots and lots of kicks from the little miss which are always fun and exciting and Kevin has been feeling her with a lot more strength lately.  There was one morning that I felt a hard lump again on the right side of my abdomen and I knew some part of her (her butt maybe??) was sticking out with full force.  I turned the light on and looked down and…my stomach was completely lopsided!  So creepy (it reminded me of the alien coming out of the guy’s stomach in “Total Recall”) but so awesome at the same time.  Kevin felt the lump again but he got out of seeing my stomach all funky.

So far he’s the only one to feel her, who will be the next lucky one??  😉

In non-baby news: This week is now week three of my new schedule for the spring semester (my life seems to run on the semester system due to my job at a university) and I am just starting to get the hang of it.  I began student teaching this semester to finally earn my CA teaching credential in history–something I started in Fall 2007 at CSU Long Beach and never completed because, at the time, it was not financially possible for me to quit my job and student teach for four months with no pay.  I have been given the amazing opportunity to complete my studies at the university I work for (free 12 unit class? Yes please!) and, in addition to that, to be able to student teach while continuing to work a full-time job.  It is no easy task in the least and although I knew it was going to be rough, I guess I didn’t think it might be this rough.

Monday through Friday my days look something like this: Wake up at 6, leave at 7:30, student teaching from 8-11:30, working from 12-7, (ideally) asleep by 10, repeat.

Last week I was sick in addition to this crazy schedule which added a whole other dimension to it (I can’t take any medicine while pregnant so it just lingered on).  I’m the kind of person that pushes through being sick, though, so I didn’t let it get me down.  But this week I’m starting to feel the effects of the extremely long days with very little rest and a rough time sleeping each night.

The up-side is that my first student teaching placement is at a middle school in Alameda with an awesome 6th grade history teacher.  I’ve been enjoying getting to the know the students by working with them in small groups the past few weeks and I’m looking forward to my first two lessons in front of the class next week.  Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll end up running the show for the entire 2.5 hour class period a total of 9 times, the final week I’m there I’ll be running the show the entire week!  My second placement I’m hoping will be in Oakland somewhere, we’re still working on securing a school site for me.

More than anything, spending my mornings with a group of goofy 12-year-olds just reinforces my strong desire to become a teacher and work with this age group (6th-8th grade).  I cannot wait until I have my own classroom and am able to build a rapport with my students.  But until then (hopefully Fall 2013!) I’m thoroughly enjoying being a student teacher with a great veteran teacher and learning all I can about the profession.

Belly shot!

No Lola photo bomb this time ’round!  She was busy snoozing away after our visit to the park to play some Frisbee…

She sure was camera shy this week!

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained: 0 pounds!  But the belly keeps on a-growin’ and the girl keeps on a-kickin’ so I’m not too worried about it.
  • Progress on the baby’s room made this week: None…but not by choice!  We finally had the room just about organized, cleared out with crap we want to donate, and ready for some baby furniture but then the heavy rains happened this past weekend and we had a major leak through the wall which soaked part of the carpet.  So we’re back to having the room look like it’s in shambles and I’m anxiously waiting for the problem to be fixed so we can get to work on some projects.
  • Fun baby developments: She’s about 10.5 inches long (whoa!) and weighs a whopping 3/4 of a pound.  Her taste buds are working (hope she likes falafel and fresh orange juice, two things I’ve been really into lately [thanks mama for the juicer for Christmas!]) and she’s already got around 6 million eggs in her womb (crazy!).
  • Days until our next prenatal appointment: 8!