LifeBeat Follow-up: Delia Arancibia
We’ve reached episode #5 and the first one of 2021, which saw us welcome a new president (after the insurrection) and hoping we were near the end of the pandemic (only to soon be confronted with the Delta variant). So this episode, which was live on January 21, 2021 (watch the episode) was an interesting little pocket of time that I was eager to get in touch with my guests, the first being Delia Arancibia. She gave us a look into how the rest of the year went for her and her family, from traveling to community events. Plus, she shares some professional news, and how, as an educator, things have looked at her school. This Q&A was conducted by email, and Jules provided her answers on February 15, 2022. Let’s go!
Lizzie: When we last spoke just over a year ago, I asked where you would want to travel when it waw safe to do so again. I feel like there have been windows when we were able to travel, and I know you and your family have done a bit. Please tell us where you’ve gone and what it was like.
Delia: Yes, definitely there have been pockets where traveling became safer. Last summer, we went to Seattle to spend the 4th of July with my family. That was a good feeling. Then in December for winter break, we travelled to Chile. This was the trip that we were supposed to take in March 2020, but of course that didn’t happen. We had a restful time, staying near the beach and being able to see family. It was definitely worth it, but it was challenging to continue to wear masks during the entire trip (airports, etc.), and we had to present proof of vaccination and insurance. This was a new layer of traveling that posed some new challenges, that needed us to be armed with a lot of patience. I am looking forward to continued travel and hope that one day soon it will be a little less restrictive.
Your favorite thing to do by yourself was yoga and watching the shows you want to watch on Netflix. You also noted that your alone time is sacred to you. Through 2021, how did you honor and spend time by yourself?
My alone time is always a challenge for me. I still do enjoy both doing yoga and watching (my shows) on Netflix, that alone time is recharging for me.
One important skill you thought everyone should know was how to manage money. How are you teaching your kids that skill? Any other skills that come to mind that you think everyone should have?
I still think this skill is very important to teach kids to manage money. I give both my children a monthly allowance and continue to teach them to spend wisely and save smartly for the things that they want. I think if I were to add something else, it would not be a specific skill exactly, but I will say that in this last year, I’ve noticed the importance of having empathy for others. I think we all have to think about walking in someone else’s shoes, and it’s important to be kind to others, as we may not know all that they are going through. I think everyone should learn to be empathetic.
You were kind enough to give us a brief history of your professional career. When we talked, you were assistant principal at Rancho de la Nacion and El Toyon elementary schools. Can you tell us if you’re still in that role?
I am in a new role this year. Last March, I became a Principal in Chula Vista Elementary School District. I am thrilled to be in this role! It has been a year of firsts for me in this role, but I’m definitely happy to be doing what I love and working with students.
I do not envy educators for what you’ve had to deal with in the past couple years in relation to COVID-19. You had shared how the pandemic had shone a light on the inequities or gaps for many of the children you served. Over this last year, have you seen that get better, worse, or stay the same? What, if anything, has improved in the last year?
I think in the last year, many people did recognize these gaps and inequities. This school year, we are back in person and that has made a huge positive difference for students’ social-emotional wellbeing. And I have been a part of a school district that is working hard to address some of this by providing counselors. I think this has improved students’ experience at school and also allowed us as a staff to remember how important social-emotional wellbeing is for students, and actually all of us.
We also talked about how your own family has dealt with the reality of distance learning as both of your kids were doing it as well as your husband who was teaching remotely. I’ll ask the same question as above: Over this last year, have you seen your kids’ respond better, worse, or stay the same with remote learning? What, if anything, has improved in the last year? Were they able to go back to in-person learning?
Both of my kids are back in person. They started this school year back in person, one in 9th and one in 6th. It has been a very positive thing for them to be back in person. Making connections with their peers and learning face to face has been so much better than distance learning for them.
Speaking of your children, we also talked about how the idea of showing up and being an active part of your community, is nearly second nature to you and your family. Like everything else, the pandemic impacted how we could do things in our community. How did your family pivot to still make it a priority?
We’ve had to adapt to this as well. My oldest, who identifies as queer, has been an active part of SD Pride and been asked to serve on different panels for LGBTQ+ youth of color. As you know, my husband [Adrian Arancibia] continues to be a member of our local school board – that was at first virtual, now back to face-to-face meetings. I always support their endeavors, but my own support for my community is through the work I do to serve students every day.
Your one big hope for 2021 was for your students and your children to get back to a more normal educational setting and for the pandemic to be under control. That both did and didn’t happen, right? Tell me how you think your big hope turned out? And what is your hope for 2022?
Yes, this both and didn’t happen. There is a much more “normal” education setting, but it’s also that things are still in place that are not quite “normal.” We continue to wear masks and have other safety measures in place. For us at the school site, it has been much more work to manage the pandemic with ensuring we are complying with state, local, and district guidelines. My hope for 2022 is that we get closer to that “normal,” where there is less managing of the pandemic. But I also hope that we don’t forget the lessons that we learned during the pandemic.
Please share anything else you’d like to talk about or promote!
Thank you so much for revisiting this with me a year later! It’s nice to see and reflect where I was a year ago.
Thank you, Delia, for taking the time to give us your thoughts and insights into how 2021 fared for you and your family. And congratulations on your new position! May 2022 bring our new normal more clearly into focus.
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