During third grade, I remember walking into Lake Country School with my friends talking about how we were the cool ones. The oldest on the floor above kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Although I felt powerful, I was nervous. I flashed back to all of the moments when the second-grade teachers told us about how hard third grade is. When I first saw Mrs. Barens, she was tall and skinny with brown hair; she looked athletic and fit; she talked in a soft, calming voice. Her smile wiped the fear away.
Once I met Mrs. Barens I learned she was funny and brought a presence in the classroom I had never had before. The classroom was full of excitement and energy. Early in the year, we wrote a paper about what we did that summer. Mine was too long; I believed that long papers were better. When I read it out loud I was embarrassed about how bad it was but I remember looking over to Mrs. Barens and she smiled. I had a complete change; I felt confident with my writing and know this was the best I could do. By the end of the first quarter, I did not see her as a teacher; she reminded me of my mother.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Mrs. Barens is the plane my best friend and I talked about how cool it would be to make a plane. Sooner or later Mrs. Barens started to get on board with the idea; she suggested we make a model, to begin with before we go full scale, just to be safe. She provided the materials we asked for. From rulers to full magazines she had what we needed and was more than happy to offer it. It felt different, but then again good to have a teacher taking my ideas so seriously.
She is different from the rest of the teachers. She went out of her way to offer what we needed. This small project made me think of what I am capable of.
Not only was she an amazing person inside the classroom, but she also was out of the classroom. One day Mrs. Baren’s mother fell and hurt her hip, and my mom (a specialist in the pelvis) decided to help her out. Mrs. Barens knew that it is a little weird to see your teacher outside of school, but we talked for hours about sports and other extra circulars. She even gave me her daughter’s old snowboard because I had needed an upgrade for quite some time.
I am nominating Mrs. Barens for the educator of the year award because I have never seen a teacher who loves her students as much as she does, and who cares so much about the development and growth of her kids.