Ms. Deidre Barry was honored at Xavier High School’s “Ignatian Educator Awards” on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. These awards recognize, thank, and honor teachers who played an influential role in the personal and intellectual development of a Xavier student.
Enrique Travers, The Epiphany School Class of 2018, wrote the following essay about his middle school ELA and Social Studies teacher Ms. Barry.
The Experiences of Being Taught by the One and Only Ms. Barry
By Enrique Travers
In my life I can say I have had many teachers who have taught me much of what I know today. My experience with teachers and mentors has spanned across different schools, different states, and different years. I recall my first few steps into kindergarten as well as my first few steps this year into Xavier. I have had very many teachers who have been memorable for reasons both good and bad. When faced with the question of who my favorite teacher is, I would be foolish not to give that title to my sixth and eighth grade teacher, Ms. Deidre Barry. Ms. Barry guided me as well as many others during my time at the Epiphany School. She taught me English Language Arts in sixth grade as well as eighth grade social studies. Ms. Barry holds a special place when it comes to those teachers whom I find memorable for pursuing excellence at their job.
Ms. Barry’s homeroom was on the left side of the school building by the stairwell on the third floor. Despite how well I came to know the room, I found it to be a challenging place to find on the first day of school. She was a more experienced teacher who took her job very seriously. She cared about her students but she wanted to push them as well. I recall one of our earliest assignments being a required reading of 15 books and monthly oral reports across the school year. As simple as the task seems now, I found it daunting at the time. Only now do I realize the long-term positive effects of this assignment. She made us read and report on the 15 books because she knew that some of us would struggle and find this difficult. In reality she was just trying to prepare us for what was going to come in the future. She wanted to prepare us for events such the later grade levels and high school; for that I thank her very much.
I felt that when I realized she would be my Social Studies teacher in eighth grade. I thought I knew what her class would entail and what the class atmosphere and environment would be like. I was sorely mistaken. The first few months of classes were relatively familiar until roughly December when I realized I couldn’t simply coast through the class. I remember that we could no longer simply read the information, but that we would have to elaborate and understand the information. I recall a test during the latter half of the year that was made purposefully difficult to the point of nearly everyone in the grade (myself included) either failing or scoring just above that mark. She made that test purposefully hard because she was unhappy with how we were not building off of the information given to us. I recall her scolding us and telling us to expect such testing difficulty in the future. I remember thinking the whole ordeal was rather unfair, yet as I look back on it, I realize it is simply another example of Ms. Barry trying to prepare us for what was to be expected once we walked out the doors of Epiphany. That was no doubt one of her specialties. She strived to challenge, encourage, and teach her students to the best of her ability.
Despite Ms. Barry sometimes being strict and rigid, she was not always in such a mood. She was a teacher who enjoyed joking and telling the class stories. She liked to talk about how she experienced some of the things we discussed in social studies. While she may have been strict, she was also a teacher who really wanted to connect with her students and wanted the best for them. She made the classroom environment both a place of work and studying but also a place of excitement and fun. The classroom was a place where one felt welcomed and appreciated. She was a teacher who understood the need to communicate between student and mentor. She made me a better person by teaching myself as others the importance of organization and looking past the information shown to you. She made us to try harder and apply ourselves all for our own betterment. I suppose if she taught us a life lesson it is that we must apply ourselves in and outside of the classroom. Our ignorance at the time was the reason we could not see that she was helping us. Only now that we have left her class do we truly see the lasting effects of what she had done for us.
Ms. Barry is a shining example of excellence and passion in her profession. She wanted to help and encourage her students yet, at the same time, not pull any punches. She challenged us in order to help us. She purposefully made the lessons harder to teach us a lesson. What we deemed unfair at the time was simply made that way to help us in the long run. I can say that I have learned from Ms. Barry many things that I apply to my life today. She is a teacher who understands what her job entails. Suffice it to say, no other teacher who has taught me has been as capable in his or her profession as Ms. Barry.See More News