Educator of the Year

The first time I met Mrs. Barbee, I was in fourth grade. I signed up for summer school jewelry class at Merton Primary school. I was a new student, and so impatient that the thought of making jewelry made me even more nervous. But when I walked in, I remember seeing her bright smile and feeling comfortable. Thanks to her class, I met new friends before jumping into a new school.


During class, she put up with my impatience and taught me exactly how to make piece after piece. Needless to say, after summer school was over, I took home bracelets, rings, and earrings I had never thought I would be able to make. At a young age, she taught me I could do whatever I set my mind to, and she continues to do this today.


During high school, I had Mrs. Barbee each year for Family and Consumer Education classes including Food and Nutrition, Parenting, World of Children, and yearbook. Teaching this many classes never bores her, as she always has creative ideas. One time in yearbook, she had us do a drawing activity that not only taught us more about ourselves, but was also a fun and relaxing way to start the day.


I remember in Parenting when I had to take home an electronic baby for the weekend, and came back with it on Monday. I probably looked miserable, because right away she asked me how the baby was.


“Pretty awful, it woke me up every night and I had to pull over on the highway to make it stop screaming,” I said.


Mrs. Barbee laughed and said, “Hate it when that happens!”


Her one sentence showed me the reality of having a baby, which I believe is one of the most important and useful things I have learned from any teacher. I will carry Mrs. Barbee’s real lessons from her classes throughout the rest of my life. I mean, she has literally taught me how to cook, how to take care of a baby and children, and how to enjoy coming to school every day.


Not only is Mrs. Barbee a teacher, head of the yearbook, and a summer school leader, she is also a mother. In addition, I’m not sure if I have ever been to a school event where she is not present, always there snapping pictures for the yearbook or volunteering to help. Whether that event be a football game, a State Championship, or prom, Mrs. Barbee seems to be everywhere. 


Mrs. Barbee is considerate, caring, and compassionate. In yearbook during the week of finals—after we had accomplished our deadline—she had us bring in breakfast foods. We made pancakes and ate breakfast like a family. My class is so close because of the activities Mrs. Barbee assigned, and it makes a fun and comfortable environment to create the yearbook. Plus, this makes it a little easier to come to first hour every day.






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