Open to change: Linda Barry shifted to teaching tech skills

When Linda Barry started teaching in Homewood District 153, she wouldn’t have dreamed she’d close out her 20-year career teaching Technology Integration.
Times change and Barry wasn’t afraid to change with them.

“If you’re going to teach, you have to stay ahead of the curve so we (teachers) can help our students and be the best that we can be. It’s a profession where you have to continue to learn. You have to teach kids to want to love to learn,” she said.

Barry’s bachelor’s degree in special education/elementary education from Roosevelt University got her through the first 20 years of classroom teaching in Chicago and suburban districts, but she recognized computers were changing the world. She earned a master’s degree in computer education at Governors State University while she was teaching sixth grade at Millennium School.

In 2001, Barry started teaching Technology Integration, one of District 153’s five specials — short-term courses that introduce students to art, health, music and technology.

District 153 offered a Home Economics course that was revamped into a Consumer Science course and then redesigned as Technology Integration. In the nine-week class, Barry teaches students typing skills, an essential skill today. The curriculum also focuses on internet safety and cyber bullying, which she calls a huge issue.

Students also learn three computer programs that help them write basic computer code, as well as create interactive art, stories, simulations and games.

Barry taught the seventh and eighth grade sections of Technology Integration for 15 years before moving to the fifth and sixth grade level this year. 

For Barry, the best part of teaching has been student success.

“Seeing the face of a child when they have mastered or exceeded is wonderful,” she said. “Seeing that ‘light bulb moment,’ that expression of ‘I got it!’  especially with kids that feel like they couldn’t get it; especially when they say right away ‘I can’t do this’ and then you give them a little time and they can do it.”

Barry plans on having a few ‘light bulb moments’ for herself in retirement learning the game of golf and taking piano lessons and will enjoy her new free schedule to travel.

This story first appeared in the May print edition of the Chronicle.

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