Thank You, Mr. Barclay

Lilian Chong, Staff Writer

The coffee pot that brews French vanilla coffee daily is responsible for occupying the scent of room D112. The casual greetings from his former students and his period 2 students fill the sound of the compact room. After the typical bell takes the sound of the class at exactly 9:03 a.m., each and every student of D112 takes their seat and Mr. Barclay, eager to greet his students announces, “Fresh start of the day! Good morning Period 2.”  

My first impression of entering a Modern World History (MWH) class where the teacher looked more like a coach rather than a history teacher gave me an astounding reaction. But I was somewhat correct, after all, Mr. Barclay is a teacher who yearns to become a sports coach at some point in his career. But he is indeed a coach that teaches his students through methods of Socrates by getting their minds to accumulate and question historic content. He sets us in a room where history is scattered almost everywhere, and we are expected to find these hidden pieces before the end of each class. 

Mr. Barclay is a teacher who understands the feelings of students when tough weeks encounter and is passionate about answering varying questions from deep thought out questions to rhetoric questions inquired by his silly students. At first, I was fearful of the classroom because piles of assignments from his MWH classes and his APGOPO class were all scattered around the room. I thought this meant that more assignments were going to be loading on my agenda under the subject history. Anxiety was building up quick because history was never a subject was my strongest strength. However, I was able to adapt quickly to his teaching skills which enabled me to succeed for the past few months. I was beginning to enjoy history as a subject. In fact, I am grateful to have a history teacher who gives fewer assignments and lectures us basic contents of history so we would not be naive in the AP world. 

In the first few weeks of freshman year, I overheard other students talking about how their history instructors were handing out difficult and demanding exams. But I had less to fear because study guides and great preparation tools were provided by Mr. Barclay’s very helpful lectures, notes, and worksheets. A teacher who wants his students to understand the contents of history, he lectures his powerpoints with historic pictures and fascinating information to clear up misunderstandings or unclear facts. His exams are known for whether or not you follow along with the lecture. If you fail to understand the contents of the lesson, he accommodates second chances. His purpose of second try is to guide his students to recognize their mistakes and to get familiar with understanding the material.

Mr. Barclay never falters to hear out suggestions. His goal for his classes is to create new, effective ways of teaching the contents of history through mini-games, skits, presentations, group projects, and roleplays. He fills the environment with joy for his students such that history would not appear to be a tedious subject. His expectation for his students is to complete assignments with clarity and precision and turn it in once the assignment is fully completed and answered with thoughtful ideas. Constantly involved in his students’ comments, he allows debates to occur around the room. He shares his opinions and thoughts on political candidates and recent debates. 

Most importantly, he brings a sense of dynamic energy into his half-awaked period 2 students with his projected voice and his strong scented coffee. His concepts of pleasurable activities allow history to become at most one of the favorite subjects among his students. Thankful for his strong commitment and dedication to history, the greatest learning experience is infused through his time and effort for the subject of history and his classes.