Mr. Barber – Teacher Profile


Our district is filled with wonderful teachers and staff who always do their best to help students succeed.  Among those is the incredible 8th grade Social Studies teacher Mr. Barber.  Mr. Barber grew up in one of our neighboring towns — Kearny.  He first went to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he majored in History and minored in Secondary Education.  He then continued his education by completing his Masters in Teacher Leadership from Walden University and a Supervisory Certificate from Montclair State University.

Mr. Barber has been teaching Social Studies at the middle school for 12 years.  When the middle school changed location, Mr. Barber felt as if he moved out of his childhood home as he left behind Room 305.  While in high school, history was the only class he really enjoyed, therefore influencing his career choice.  During our interview, Mr. Barber explained his reasoning for choosing to teach, “A lot of history majors go to law school and that didn’t interest me.  I come from a family of teachers too: my father is a vice-principal, my uncle was the head of Kearny’s Physical Education department, my aunt was the head of Caldwell College’s English Department and my grandfather was an assistant superintendent.  My sister and a few cousins are teachers, too. It’s in my blood.”

During Mr. Barber’s 12 years of teaching, he’s had many notable classroom experiences. The most memorable of all was a time when one of his students thought that Harriet Tubman and Harry Truman were the same person.  Between teaching and coaching, there are a lot of stories he could tell because there is always something fun or noteworthy happening in his life.  I asked Mr. Barber what his main goal is for his students and he told me, “The main goal for my students is to understand not just the importance of history but how history is made every day. It’s more than just dates and names of old dead people. The events of the past influence those of today and the events of today influence those in the future. Everything is a chain reaction. My goals are to get my students to understand that but also see that history can be fun. Everything in the past is historical: politics, sports, pop culture. Everything.”

As a teacher, Mr. Barber loves being able to teach a lesson where he can be as animated as possible.  When I had Mr. Barber, he used to jump on his desk unexpectedly while teaching.  He used to talk in different accents, usually in a louder pitch.  As long as the students are engaged and laughing, he doesn’t mind making a fool out of himself.  One of the assignments Mr. Barber loves giving his students is the US Citizenship Test.  He believes it is an eye-opener to most people.  There isn’t anything he dislikes about teaching. 

Anyone who has had Mr. Barber knows he is a HUGE Devils fan.  He is also a big Dolphins and Yankees fan.  In the last few years, he has gotten into English Premier League soccer and his favorite team is the Wolverhampton Wanderers.  Mr. Barber’s favorite TV shows are The Simpsons, Miracle Workers, and the Baseball and Civil War documentaries by Ken Burns.  He claims them as his favorite because he thinks of himself as a history nerd.  Mr. Barber’s favorite book is The Great Gatsby, which is an amazing read.  Some of his favorite movies are There Will be Blood, Coming to America, Step Brother, the Bourne series, and most Scorsese movies.

One of Mr. Barber’s goals for this year is to remain as healthy as possible.  He also wants to try and get his students to learn as much as possible in the current situation we’re in.  As a coach, he would like to improve upon the total wins from last year for Girls Bowling and Golf. I believe that Mr. Barber is a teacher that most of us admire.  He shows us what a great Viking looks like!