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Baby on the Brain


A look at how having her first born has affected Mrs. Barringer’s life and teaching style.

[dropcap size=small]D[/dropcap]espite the trials that having a previous miscarriage and having a baby during COVID bring, English teacher Robyn Barringer has been able to focus on both her son and her students: learning how to balance being a mom, a teacher, and making sure everyone gets the support they need.

Losing a child is always a hardship, and it is estimated that more than one million women in the United States are affected by pregnancy loss through misscarriage or stillbirth annually, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“I think now that there really are no words to fully express what it’s like to have your own child,” Barringer said. “Before I had my son, I actually lost my first child. And so through that process I learned, first of all how badly I really wanted to be a mom, and then second of all, just what a true miracle every single life is.”

Barringer and her husband have been able to remain strong through a tragic loss, and have grown as people and now have a healthy son, Lincoln Carlisle Barringer.

Their son was born January 11, 2021 at 8:18 p.m. Despite what Twilight fans might be thinking knowing that Mrs. Barringer is an English teacher, Lincoln’s middle name Carlisle comes from one of his great grandfather’s, and not the vampire character from the popular saga. He was born during a time that was hard on everyone, but Barringer has described the extra time with him as “a blessing in disguise. In the midst of a really nasty situation I was able to benefit a little bit because I wouldn’t have had that time with him otherwise.”

For Barringer, becoming a mother was a life-changing experience. She had always felt responsible for her students, and that they were all her children in a way; but to grow and give birth to a human being and be responsible for raising that baby to become an amazing human has given her a new perspective. 

Becoming a mom has made Barringer more focused on her students’ personal well being. Therefore, she has taken time this year to implement a new grading system that is individualized to each student and also standards-based and formally assessed. Her growth- based grading approach mainly focuses on the academic and personal growth of the student, not the completion of assignments. She also has her students complete self-checks at the start of each class to reflect on their well being and how they feel about school and their lives. Barringer has always wanted to change from a standardized grading system and quarantine gave her time to work on the actual logistics. 

“Now I come in with that mindset and I know that every single one of my students that walks in the door is a miracle, and that they deserve just as much love and attention as any other kid in my class. I feel that I think more strongly than I did previously, that I have an obligation, a need, a desire to really take care of each of my students not just on an academic level but at a heart level as well.” Barringer said.

Student athlete Leila Barela-Gonzalez explains that Baringer’s personalized grading system is being found helpful. Barela is a sophomore on the girls water polo team and has Barringer’s honors English class for sixth period. She has to miss a lot of the class to play her games, which with a standardized grading system based on points would mean a lot of extra time spent on late or missing assignments. But the grading system that Mrs. Barringer took the time to plan and strategize isn’t based on points. 

“I think that Mrs. Barringer’s grading system is one of the most realistic from a student and teacher perspective. She doesn’t hold social life (sports, clubs, family, etc.) against us and her main goal is to see growth in each of her students,” Barela said. 

Barringer has managed to find time to create a new grading system that benefits her students the most by focusing on their growth throughout the year despite adjusting to her new life as a mother and having a baby. She has decided to implement these changes because becoming a mother has given her a deeper appreciation for each and every one of her students. She wanted to make sure that their personal well-being and growth comes before just doing what is needed to get the grade. As Barela has noticed, this effort has not gone unnoticed by her students, and many appreciate the opportunities provided by the different workload. 

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