Category Archives: personal

55 Strong

❝Listen…now just listen to me.❞

❝You need to be back in the classroom.❞

❝I can be the town redneck too…❞

As you read these comments you’re probably thinking that a parent or group of parents have said these comments, correct? WRONG! The governor, THE GOVERNOR of West Virginia told an amphitheater of teachers yesterday. It was advertised as a Town Hall meeting. But had teachers not started shouting out questions he would’ve continued to demoralize us and call us everything under the sun. He had the audacity to sit there and tell us we were mediocre and partly that’s because we’re from West Virginia. This is what we’re up against in West Virginia.  Between Ferns, Carmichael, and several other senators you would think the outlook is bleak.


These senators and our governor forgets that we’re West Virginians. We are tenacious and we will fight for what’s right. The governor calling us rednecks yesterday he honestly thought he was insulting us. Apparently he needs to take a course in his own state’s history. The term redneck was coined and made famous in relation to the coal miner strikes of the early 20th century. The reaction from the crowd let it be known that we were angry at that comment.

But enough about the negative. The community my school is in has really shown its support for all of the public workers. There’s been a long string of honking cars driving by from 8AM-5PM the past four days. They’ve brought us food, coffee, hot chocolate, water, etc. They thank us and tell us to keep fighting for what’s right. They understand that we’re fighting for other public employees since many of them cannot walk out.

It’s a feeling of pride that surrounds my heart when a car or truck drives by and honks. It expands more when someone stops and drops us off food or even words of encouragement.  Retired teachers are even coming to stand alongside of us. Last Friday a very familiar face came and stood with us for a couple of hours.


This was MY fourth grade teacher and she was a wonderful educator. It felt like something had come full circle standing next to her.

28467632_10213800658882592_256251471470157653_nGroup photo of the 10-1 shift.

We are now on our 4th day and the amazing thing is all 55 counties have closed school for another day. However, I do miss my students. I miss being the classroom. But until there’s an actual resolution to all of this you can bet we will be standing out along our schools, holding our signs and waving back at you like the dumb redneck bunnies that we are.



Poking a Hornet’s Nest

Today’s Headlines:

The West Virginia House of Delegates has voted 98-1 to raise pay for teachers by two percent.

The West Virginia Senate and Governor Justice are both in favor of a one percent raise.

The teachers in the state of West Virginia have becoming steadily angrier and angrier. Our governor and some politicians are NOT listening to us. Instead they would rather sit there and do the blame game. Yesterday we had a snow day and that gave me the time in the afternoon to watch the State Legislature livestream. At the time the delegates were discussing on whether to vote for the 3-3-3 raise for public workers. It is indeed a party line issue & I hate to say that. As I sat there and listened to one delegate compare my students to “customers” and a another one assuming that all students had access to technology at home I became angrier. But then there were some delegates on OUR side and actually listening to us. They know that we, AND other state workers are not being paid fairly.

HOWEVER our governor keeps poking the hornets’ nest with his comments. In a meeting with teachers from a Southern county he had the audacity to tell them to “be smart for once.” A few days later he called us “dumb bunnies.” He has no respect for us.

On Sunday the WVEA and the AFT met to see how the counties voted and whether we would strike. By 4:15 PM it was made official. At some point,if it comes down to it, we will walk out and strike. All 55 counties.  We, the teachers of West Virginia, are getting smart, Governor.  

A Dream & Reality

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

These words were spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28th, 1963. Most Americans and citizens of the world know this part of the speech. He had a dream that went beyond just the African American community. There was the inclusion of other races and it was a beautiful dream.

In the world of education we see this a lot and hear this buzzword a lot: diversity. We know what it means by how does it play a part? In most large cities it’s glaringly obvious of how it plays a part. But if you’re from a small town in West Virginia where a majority of residents are Caucasian it’s not so obvious. I work at my childhood elementary school and I see more diversity there now then when I attended there. Allow me to give you a snapshot of my classmates. There were 2 Latinos, 1 African American, 1 Asian. That’s it. All of my teachers were Caucasian and that was just how it was. I saw zero representation of my ethnicity anywhere and that’s not my parents fault nor anyone else’s. And none of my classmates every pointed out that I had a different skin tone or looked completely different from them. But what’s the point of this background story? And what does it have to do with Dr. King’s dream? Everything. 

Let me put it into better context. I’m the lone teacher at my school that is of another race. A few weeks ago I had a new student arrive and throughout the morning he kept staring at me and smiling. At first I thought he was just happy to be making friends but finally I asked him why he was smiling. He said, “Because my teacher is just like me. I’ve never had a teacher that looked like me.” I asked him what he meant by that and he pointed to his skin and then mine. It was then that I fully understood how this student was viewing me. A few weeks later I get another new student and he’s Latino. When I went to the front office to meet him the second he saw me and I introduced myself as his teacher his smile grew. Later in the afternoon the first student, D, motioned me over and then pointed to himself, me, and K and whispered, “Ms. Barrick, slowly but surely we’re taking over this classroom.” “What do you mean,” I asked. “You know, we’re adding a splash of color to this classroom.” Smiling I knew exactly how he felt. It would have been nice at times when I was in elementary school to have looked around my classroom and seen someone else with my skin tone. I wouldn’t have felt so alone.

As a teacher of another ethnicity I always take the time when I’m seeing so much hate in the news (nationally and locally) to talk to my students about the events. I want them to understand different viewpoints and to realizing not everyone has the same opportunities as themselves. Whether that’s based on the color of their skin, their SES, gender, physical abilities, etc. My classroom is one that fosters inclusion and we value our small family in Room 204 on their character and morals. Not the color of their skin. If you’re seeking some bright and good news come to my room & you’ll find it because I’m so proud of all of my kids.


Sunday Lately #158

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe, which is fearlessly led by Angelica (Gardening in High Heels) and myself. We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own worlds. We’d love if you could join us!

In a blink of an eye the first complete week of 2018 is now behind us.  Time for a snapshot review.

Cherishing…my additional free time to read. I read a couple of books while on Christmas Break but then I resumed watching Unsolved Mysteries on Amazon. A few days ago I bought the book The Frontiersmen by Allan Eckert. It’s set during the 1700s which is a time period that I’m typically not a fan of. However by the first night I had read for over 2 hours and found it extremely captivating. I finished it today and I was quite sad to see it come to an end.  Sticking with this time period I’m going to continue with Prairie Fires. This novel is a more in-depth look into the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and now that school is canceled for tomorrow I’m going to have another free day!

Applauding…the love of music my students are fostering this year. I found a ReadWorks Article a Day set about 20th Century Composers for last week. The first day we read about John Cage & his aleatoric music. Thursday was Claude Debussy. After we read that article I had the students complete a Venn Diagram and then we listened to their music. The class was split on whether Cage’s aleatoric music was truly music or not. One student compared it to what one would hear during a scene in a horror film while another compared it to the music the Demogorgon would listen to in the Upside Down. That comparison made me laugh. They loved how dreamy and soft sounding Debussy’s pieces were. Next week we will read about Duke Ellington & Scott Joplin and compare/contrast their music. Then we will compare/contrast Amy Beach & George Gershwin. My students love how much of a musical person their teacher is and one told me, “Ms. Barrick you make music so much fun! Even that boring classical stuff they play at the opera.”

Singing…the new song Bruno Mars released. Finesse has a 90s feel to it and with the addition of Cardi B it sounds almost like a TLC song with Bell Biv Devoe. It’s so upbeat and the perfect song to get me up and moving in the morning.


Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup presented by the Blogger Tribe.Next week’s themes: Redoing, Altering, Borrowing.

Welcome 2018!

This morning I woke up to sunshine beaming around the edges of my blind.  Pulling it up I was welcomed with the sight of glittering snow and abundant sunshine. However the sunshine was being quite deceptive. Looking at the temperature on my phone it was a balmy 7 degrees. After getting my coffee fixed and some Cocoa Wheat I sat down to begin writing my Aspirations for this year. But after sitting there for 15 minutes with nothing on my paper I decided that this year I’m doing something different. This year I’m choosing a word-just one word to keep me focused on this year. My word is:

Steadfast-resolutely or dutifully firm. Unwavering. Loyal. Faithful. Devoted. Dedicated. Steady. True. Single-minded. Uncompromising.

What I like about this word is I can apply it in all areas of my life. My job, family, relationship, faith, and fitness. I’m going to attempt to be more steadfast in writing in this blog this year too.

Before I went to work on my room and do some lesson plans this morning I drove on up to the local park and took some pictures.

The photo with the swing set is the view from my window at work.  There was a breeze while I was at the park and the way the snow fluttered off of the branches it looked like glitter. There is beauty in winter, despite the cold, if you’re willing to look for it. I have hope for 2018. Day 1 of 365 is nearly over but I’m happy with what I did today.

A Moment of Reflection

2017…ah what can I say? It’s been a year of ups and downs for most of the world. But in my little corner of the world in West Virginia it’s been full of nothing BUT ups. And I’m grateful for everything that happened to me this year. At the start of the year I had 8 Aspirations for 2017. They were:

  • Read a book a month.
  • Travel somewhere new at least 4x this year.
  • Take more pictures with people and of people.
  • Challenge myself during every workout.
  • Train 4 days a week for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
  • Be more bold.
  • Love fearlessly.
  • Spend more time with my grandmother.

We are in the final few days of 2017 and I accomplished 4/8. 50% isn’t bad but as a teacher I would tell my students there’s a lot of room for improvement.

2017 I did take more pictures with people and of people. I was bold. Never in a million years did I ever think I would do a boudoir photo session. BUT I DID! I spent more time with my grandmother because if there’s one thing I took away from this year is Death is unexpected and if you blink you’re loved can be taken away. I was fortunate enough to not lose anyone in my family but several of my friends had to suffer this heartache so close to holidays it seemed. I loved fearlessly and for once I didn’t get hurt. Actually I’m still loving fearlessly and I plan to continue to do so going into 2018.

2017 brought the fun of Adult Prom with friends and adventures with friends (new and old). However, the biggest and brightest part of my 2017 was being hired at my old elementary school for a 4th grade position. I love this job and all 22 of my kids. In my next post I’ll reflect more on this. But these kids have taught me so much in the course of four months.

I’m very curious to see what 2018 has in store for me. But it’s going to be adventure and I’m ready for it. 2018 let’s do this!


The Calling of the Saints

Every year there’s one Sunday that is quite difficult to get through. All Saints Sunday is a time when every church comes together to remember our loved ones who have passed away. For me the past few years have been hard to to say aloud the names of the my grandparents during the roll call. And at some point during the service the tears build behind my eyes and the next thing I feel are them sliding down my face. When I awoke this morning I knew that today was that Sunday. I was as prepared as I could be or so I thought. And then I checked my Facebook only to learn that a beloved member of our congregation, my church family, had passed away yesterday. My heart broke a little more and I knew then that today was going to be a little harder than planned. For you see, this man had only been diagnosed with leukemia this past July. He was in church a few weeks ago and now he’s gone. There are times when life doesn’t make sense to me and right now is one of those times.

When I arrived at church I sought comfort from my church family and they supplied it. For we were all hurting not only for his family but for our family too. My church is a tight knit group and we would do anything for one another. Even if one is a newer member they will still be there for you. The beginning of the service was okay but there were still a few solemn faces. The first hymn started to play and as we stood to sing I could feel that familiar feeling. At first I fought it and sang clearly for Charlie because I knew he always loved to hear me singing. But by the third verse the tears were streaming down my face & I had to stop.

The sermon for today was about family and how families come together during times of happiness such as weddings and new births and during times of sadness such as death. And even though the sermon was about death and the grief families often feel for months and years after one’s passing my pastor was able to make that grief a little more bearable. The next thing I knew the names of our church members who have passed away were being said. This year though we added a bell being rung after each name was said. I thought it was a nice touch. And then the pastor turned the roll call over to us and the names began to be said loudly and clearly from my church family. I took a few slow breaths and then just as clearly as the others said John & Virginia Barrick. But I could still hear my voice waver. When I said Glen Goddard again my voice wavered at the end and I could feel the tears prickling behind my eyelids. But I kept it together a little better. At the end of the service I hoped and prayed that the church ladies would not want to go to the Court restaurant. Today my heart would not have been able to handle it. This afternoon a friend shared this on Facebook & I thought it was absolutely beautiful.


Let us remember…

Sunday Lately #133

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe, which is fearlessly led by Angelica (Gardening in High Heels) and Katy (Wild and Wanderful). We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own worlds. We’d love if you could join us!

This week’s themes: Hitting, Ending, Sensing, Handling, Shining.

I’m FINALLY back & feeling ready to write again. A lot has happened since my last post and I will fill you in within this post.

Hitting: The other night I hit the wall with my stress level. Ever since my last post my stress level went through the roof. My vacation to Tennessee was wonderful & like always I didn’t want to come back. We came back on a Thursday & that night my grandmother fell in her garden and broke her left wrist, hit her head, & had to be flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital. My mother and I drove over to Morgantown the next morning, running on little sleep, and visited with her. After seeing her we felt better but that evening she fell backwards and hit her head again. She’s finally home but now she’s refusing to use the walker and doesn’t care if she falls again and it’s just super frustrating.  On top of that it looks like I’m going into another year of subbing and I’m tired of it. I swear if I hear one more person tell me to be patient or to wait my turn I may just scream. I’ve had interviews but then I always hear the same thing, “You gave a great interview and you’d be a perfect fit. However, we went with someone else.” I’m close to giving up and yet one thing keeps me from doing that. I look at the notes that I received from my 3rd then 4th grade students. I can’t walk away from that. I just can’t because when I’m in the classroom I’m happy. Fingers crossed that something happens between now and August 14th.

Ending: I’m a part of an online book club & this week we started our new read. All the Missing Girls. We were only supposed to read to page 119. I finished it in two days. I was shocked by the ending of it. The way it was told was unique and it really made you stop and think.  You almost felt like you were the detective.

Sensing: An air of change. The pastor at my church recently entered retirement and the past two Sundays we’ve had interim ministers. Our new one will be one of those two. Either one that the committee chooses I’ll be happy with. Each one was easy going and friendly. But what I really liked was both made you stop and think. Last week’s preacher made you stop and think about how we should see people. All people regardless of their education level, gender, age, race, etc. Today’s preacher talked to us about being your own superhero. We all have the ability to be our own superhero. Who is in charge of writing your story and your adventure? You. 

Handling: My stress level. After hitting the wall the other night it’s gone down somewhat. I’m hoping it stays that way.

Shining: Some self confidence into my life. I’ll admit when my stress level is high my self confidence takes a hit. Well today I took two selfies and loved them both. One before church:


The second one was much later and with my glasses:


Normally I hate myself in my glasses, but today I actually liked myself. It’s a start.

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup presented by the Blogger Tribe.Next week’s themes: Trying, Buying, Capturing, Rejoicing, Clearing.

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Summer Days

Hello everyone! I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. For a bit I lost the drive to blog and it began to feel like it was expected of me to write. So I took a small break and now my drive has returned.  I realize it’s been almost a month since I last posted and a lot of things have happened since then. Let’s go in order.

Schools out for the summer! 

May 25th was the last day and it drug by because it rained the whole morning and everything was packed up for the summer. I tried to reconnect everything so we could watch a movie, but my monitor wouldn’t turn on & I tried several times. So we became bored very quickly. I had ten kids and no technology. By afternoon the sun came out for a bit and that made it go quicker. Ever since that day I’ve spent my mornings relaxing and reading outside.


The next event: My 29th Birthday

June 1st I took one more step closer to age 30. I spent the morning with my parents eating lunch at Olive Garden and shopping. One of the best things about your birthday? Free drink from Starbucks!20170601_123146

The evening was spent with my gym friends for a birthday dinner at the Mexican. My gifts this year were all wonderful. I did receive 2 new gym tanks that I love.

Other gifts were:

But the best gift was one that was a complete surprise and it made my day.


I’m pretty sure you can see the happiness on my face. I was overjoyed to receive this. I’m still beaming from the though of this gift.

Last Sunday was wonderful and so good for my soul.  There’s a lady in my church who has always been quite dear to me. In January she started cancer treatments and had to stop coming to church. This past Sunday she returned and even played the organ. She received a standing ovation and it was so wonderful. That evening we had a pie social and sing along. She returned to play for that too. As I was walking in I stopped to take this picture because I’ve always admired my church’s stained glass windows.


There are my adventures so far & I promise I’m back because I have some adventures coming up soon that I want to share with you.