Lisamarie Became an Award-Winning Math Teacher
[Kids playing/cheering in background] I had good examples of what great teachers were, so that’s what I always wanted to do. [Guitar and piano music begins.] What do you guys think is going to be the measurement for our bottom? Yes! My dad, he wanted my brother and I to have a good, solid education.
He transferred to, you know, the States—in Puerto Rico we say “the States”—and
we didn’t know any English, so every Saturday for six months we had private tutoring. My
parents would take us to the library to make sure that we were getting books in English so we would be able to make those connections and learn faster.
But financially I didn’t have the means to go to college, so after I got my A.A. in
Education Secondary, I got a job as a substitute. Because I was there almost every day, they
offered me the job as a teacher’s assistant, instructional assistant.
They kept encouraging me—it’s like, “Lisa, you need to go back to school, you need to go back.”
And I finally decided, you know, what, I need to do something, whether it’s with student
loans or scholarships—I need to do something. And I started to research online colleges
that I could actually do and not have to stop working. That was my biggest thing—I needed
to work. And I found it. And it was Western Governors, the first one that came up. I was like, “Wow, this is what
I’m really looking for.” So let’s review a little bit: trapezoid
area formula. English is not my first language. That was
a little bit of a challenge for me. Sometimes I wanted an instructor in front
of me, but that’s where the course mentors came in.
I was very blessed in my years at WGU to have very supportive mentors.
She was there whenever I needed that support, whenever I didn’t understand something—you
know, I would email her [finger snap]
right away. You can also work at your own pace. If I finished
a class, then I could start the next one. That was great because, you know, if you’re
done you might as well just keep going. Thank you guys. I will see you on Monday.
Good job today! As teachers, we are continuously learning.
And I feel that having a good, solid education to continue that and resources for that is
very important. With WGU, I felt that I had that.
The education is good. The information you get is good. The flexibility is amazing.
You always have that support a phone call away.
It prepared me for where I am today, and when I got that diploma in the mail—oh!—it
was the best feeling ever. And to get a job—I was hired before I actually
got my diploma in the mail. I am a sixth-grade math teacher at Edgewood
Middle School. As an employer, I’m grateful.
The reality of what school is all about—learning all the time, lifelong learning—she’s
not only living it; she’s promoting it. And day by day, you can see that evolution
happening. As an online learner herself, will she be
able to inspire other students to learn in unique ways beyond the classroom? For sure! And see if you can give me the area of triangle MPN. But, you just gotta remember, they’re giving you the measurement from here to here. When I’m in the classroom, I’m thinking “kids.” I’m thinking, “Hey this kid may not be comfortable with math, may hate math.”
And I—I actually, on the first day of school, I tell them, “Everybody will be telling
me, ‘I hate math.’” Gets it out of their system; they feel more
comfortable, and that’s my goal. I don’t want kids to feel like math is this
huge monster. [Music changes—slower, more solemn.]
Teacher of the Year is something that Harford County Public Schools does to sort of reward
and recognize the hard work that Harford County Public School teachers put into their job.
And I was chosen for my school. I felt very appreciated, and my kids—even
students that I’ve never taught—they will pass by me in the hall and be like, “Oh,
Ms. Bermudez, you know, we’re so proud of you!” And it means a lot. Recently, Lisamarie was a finalist for Harford County’s Teacher of the Year.
One of the things that made her an outstanding candidate, for me, was her own personal story.
She decided, “I think I can really change kids’ lives,” and she decided, “I’m
gonna go get certified as a teacher.” Through the challenges, I think she recognizes
that there was so much to learn, but so much potential in every single kid. The letters that I got from the kids, telling me how much they hated math, and by June,
they came out loving math—that means a lot to me.
And for my parents, knowing that their goal of coming to the United States for my brother
and I to get a solid education was coming true was an immense joy for them.
That’s a good feeling!