Hi.  My name is Cathy Barnes.  I was once in your shoes–a novice teacher!  I decided by October of my first year that I WAS NOT EQUIPPED TO DO THIS JOB OF TEACHING!   Teaching had been my lifelong dream from my early elementary years, and here I was driving to school thinking that I was a complete failure.  I was overwhelmed with every aspect of the career–the hundreds of little daily decisions, the boat load of papers to grade each night, and the lesson plans for subjects that I had not been trained to teach.  With a high school biology degree, I found myself in a private school teaching 6th grade science, and READING, and SPELLING, and 8th grade LITERATURE, and so on.  No one told me six bulletin boards were waiting to be decorated, nor did I have any supplies available to decorate with.  It would be my job to make learning fun, lead field trips, plan holiday parties, referee playground fights, and organize the lunch count.  And in those days there were no mentors assigned to the new teacher!

Now, after more than thirty years of teaching experience in middle school, junior high, and high school, I am prepared to put you–the determined teacher–on track to a successful career!  If you’ve ever needed a “heads-up”, this is the place to be.  I will take you step by step through the school year.  From the days before the students arrive, until the last day of student attendance, I can help you figure out just what you’re supposed to do.  On The Determined Teacher you will find solid advice from a veteran teacher who’s “been there, failed at that”. :)  Even though you’ve been through student teaching, there’s still plenty to learn.  I can take you by the hand and lead you through the first few years.  As a result, you’ll avoid my own missteps and come out on the other end of your early teaching years as determined as I have been to make a difference in the lives of the students you teach!

3 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Cathy,

    I am having the most difficult time during my first year of teaching 5th grade. The last 2 and a half months of teaching have been the hardest months of my life. Classroom management has been my biggest challenge, and it makes everything else that goes along with teaching seem impossible. I am sinking- drowning. I don’t have confidence in what/how I teach and I feel like it is complete chaos in my classroom a lot of the time. The kids aren’t getting along with one another and I can’t seem to make it any better. The paperwork is never ending and communicating with parents takes so much time! I feel like a failure and like I am letting my students down :(. My mom sent me a link to your site and I am feeling called to reach out to you. I would love to talk more.

    Thank you,


    1. Dear Michelle,

      I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Besides my own work load, I was diagnosed in September with breast cancer–a very treatable and curable form–but it did not come without a shock! It also has affected everything I do from my teaching to my blog. I am here to support you! I am going to send you an additional e-mail later this evening with some very specific suggestions for you to put to use immediately. You can do this! I can help! (That sounds like the Lowe’s commercial, doesn’t it?)

      Cathy B.

      1. I just saw your reply on this site. I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I can only imagine the shock that came along with that news. I will pray for you and for an easy treatment/cure.

        Again, thank you so much for all of your help.

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