Barnett Berry's Learning Story


I had a few powerful teachers who shaped my long career in advancing teaching as a 21st century profession. One was Gloria Smith — who taught me 9th grade civics (1970) and gave me a framework at 14 years of age for making a disciplined and educative case against the Vietnam War.
Gloria was very sympathetic to my developing anti-war views (which I later discovered), but she made sure there was structure and process for civil debate among our classmates (including some intense encounters I would have with Don Carpenter ‘ a ROTC and an avid supporter of the War). Gloria became a dear friend and later she asked me (when I was a college sophomore majoring in sociology) to work with her in tutoring several students of hers who could not read very well. I returned to my old high school and watched an excellent teacher struggle to reach all of her students. I realized how little preparation she had for the students she was now teaching. I watched her learn, but without any teacher development system in place to help her teach. She launched my career in teaching and later to ensure that every child has a qualified, well supported, and effective teacher. I just reconnected with Gloria Cox after many years. She is still an excellent teacher — the dean of the honors college at University of North Texas.