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Looking to the future: Barkoot teaches students to expect success

Robert J. Burch Elementary 2nd grade teacher Linda Barkoot believes in her students, and she teaches them to believe in themselves, too.

With 23 years at the school, Burch has become a calling for Barkoot. She is drawn in by the staff’s commitment to being the whole village that raises a child.

It’s not just a job for me, it’s even more than a career. It’s been a passion for me,” she said. “Whatever the child needs, we really do try to make it happen. We don’t want kids to fall through the cracks.”

A graduate of Fayette County High, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have raised their family here.

I think our school system does a really good job of treating students as individuals,” she said. “We do the whole child, especially at Burch.”

Teaching was always in the cards. When she was in elementary school, her parents bought her a regular-sized desk and chalkboard for a basement classroom.

“I knew very, very early,” she said. “I made my sister sit down and do school after we got home from school.”

Several caring teachers shaped her love, from a 1st grade teacher that carried her to the office when she had nosebleeds to a 5th grade teacher that celebrated her strengths to a high school teacher who saw her potential for creative writing.

“I had several teachers who fostered a love of learning.”

In turn, Barkoot fosters that same love in her students. Expecting success for her students builds up their confidence.

“If I believe it, then you need to believe it, and, many times, they do and they will rise to that occasion.”

Barkoot teaches more than just lessons in books. She instills student skills that will help them the rest of their lives.

It is a good feeling to see that they have grown up and they’re successful and they’re productive and they’re on their own. I know I did a good job.”

No matter how a morning might start, it all washes away when she sees her students’ smiling faces.

They can just make your day better because you want their day to be better,” she said. “I’d say it’s worth it every day just for that.”


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Posted 6/4/2024