The Marshall County Post

Follow Us On:

Teacher Feature Denise Barnes

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2024 at 1:00 pm

(Denise Barnes is teacher at Westhills Elementary School. She teaches – to make a difference. Below is her story.)

What it means for me to be a teacher:

Being a teacher is a lot, but I’ve been through a lot to get here and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Becoming a teacher was something I had been interested in pretty much my whole life. As kids, my sisters and I would play “school” all the time. Although being the youngest meant that I was rarely the teacher, it was a profession that sparked my interest. Later, when I was in third grade, I remember thinking that teachers had the coolest job. They got to talk to and tell kids what to do, write on chalkboards, decorate bulletin boards, and give out candy whenever they wanted to. Then as I got older, seeing that light bulb go off as my niece finally understood the concept that I was teaching her brought so much joy and pride. That sense of accomplishment, knowing that I had a hand in that, was not just felt by her but by me too. However, as time went on I ignored my calling.

After being married for about a year, I made the decision to go back to school to become an educator. I remember one night telling my husband that I wanted to become a teacher. I told him that being a teacher was something that I had always wanted to do.  I was sure he would either laugh or shut my idea down immediately, but to my surprise he didn’t. I told him that as a teacher I would be able to be home with our kids during the holidays, summer, and on weekends once we decided to have a family. With my husband on board, I figured it would only take a few years to get my degree and I was eager to get started.

Earning my degree was not as easy as I predicted it would be- life got hard and it continued to get harder. After what we thought would take a few years, it took nearly ten years to get my degree- at times I’d have to take a semester(s) off. While taking night classes in college, I had both of my daughters and worked full-time during the day as a paraprofessional at LMS. These hardships I faced while earning my degree helped me to learn to be resilient, patient, and to persevere. These facets have helped shape me to be a better teacher.

Alas, graduation day had come! After graduation I started my career as a teacher at Westhills Elementary, and this is where I teach today.

As a teacher, it is my personal goal to help my students grow up to be successful and productive citizens. Everyone has a part in this world, it’s what makes the world go round. To achieve this goal, I help motivate them to always do their best. Whatever their goals are and wherever they go in life I want them to be the best at it. Every year I get a classroom full of blank canvases and I get to help them mold and grow into these successful beings. There is no greater reward than making a difference. This is why I teach – to make a difference.