Known as ‘Mr. Bear,’ ‘Special B,’ ‘Buttery Biscuit,’ and ‘Dr. B, not the rapper,’ by his students, Dr. Tom Barnette believes “you can’t fool kids.” He believes an outstanding teacher must be “a creative, effective, and innovative communicator with students and all of those with whom you interact-” to which he adds, “even if you have to be a monkey in a suit, to jump up and down for the kids to get it, then that is what you need to do.”
Dr. Barnette has a Masters in Counseling Psychology, a Doctoral of Biblical Studies, and a PhD in Communication. “I would love to go back to school and add another one” he says. But God’s will has driven him to the classroom at Faith West, in order to make a difference in every student’s life.
In response to his fast-growing reputation among the students and his colleagues, Dr. Barnette humbly accepts the compliments. But he does not see his fame as an achievement. He yearns for the ‘WOW’ factor from his English students. “The first semester, I had students who came to my class and said they hated writing, hated English (class),” he stated. “The most satisfying feeling is to see those lightbulbs go off and hear those students . . . say they nailed the SAT.”
Dr. Barnette doesn’t see his teacher desk as a refuge. He believes teachers can’t teach their students from behind the desk. He advises young teachers to not be afraid to make mistakes. In his class, Dr. Barnette can be spotted leaning over students’ desks and being a mentor, a life coach, a comedian, a motivational speaker, or a pastor. Sometimes, he finds himself in a paper airplane contest with his students. “You have to be with them and to laugh with them, you have to love them, to encourage them, and fuss at them,” he laughs heartily, “You have to do it! You can tell when the kids really care about you. You can’t fake that!”
Though truly a dedicated teacher, Dr. Barnette also finds time to invest in his personal life and profession. In addition to dedicating time to his new granddaughter, Dr. Barnette also has a new book, Christ Centered Reality Therapy, to be released later this year.
“Takes no talent to be average” – Dr. B, not the rapper.