#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Micaela Barnes


Micaela Barnes has been in education for about 18 years in a variety of positions. She began as a secretary, moved up to a paraeducator, and after completing her degree, she became a teacher. She has not taught for 10 years.

When she began teaching, she taught Math at Chase Middle School. She was in her element with Spanish speaking students and students who were on their way to giving up on school. While most teachers gave incentives of jolly ranchers or tootsie rolls, she would give out Gansitos for a week’s worth of homework completion. In return, her students nicknamed her Gansito! She began to notice that her students weren’t reading and comprehending word problems. She went back to school and received her Masters in Education with an emphasis in Reading Specialist. She is now teaching Language Arts.

One year, she had a group of mainstreaming ELL students and was lucky enough to teach dual language with a co-teacher. She has been a reviewer for West-Ed and the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation. In this area, she volunteered to review items for the Kansas State Assessment in both general education and special education. She has presented workshops in her building on Interactive Notebooks, Running Records with Miscue Analysis, and is the building representative for the local NEA.

Why do you teach? I know what it is like to be a struggling learner. I enjoy seeing students find their confidence and continue to grow.

What do you love about teaching? I love seeing my students enjoy reading; it might be them reading aloud in a variety of voices, going outside and laying on the grass, or putting on silly hats (they originally thought were baby-ish) so they can read.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you? Gilberto R. Chabarria inspired me to teach. I loved his humor and love for his subject. I remember thinking while in his 5th grade class – “I want to be just like my Papi!” Yes, my dad was my 5th grade teacher and he is the reason I became a teacher.