#VMThrowback: Assistant principal recalls days as a VMT teacher

Arlen Barba and Delilah Gonzalez

Assistant Director Elsa Barron stands in front of the door to her former classroom, where she once taught English, in the Harding Building.

The Magnet Tribune: Mark Webber

Assistant Director Elsa Barron stands in front of the door to her former classroom, where she once taught English, in the Harding Building.

Arlen Barba, Staff Writer

Elsa Barron is a former teacher and is now assistant principal at VMT; she has a lot of memories from years ago.

Barron started teaching at VMT 20 years ago, in August 1995. She taught English Language Arts, starting to teach freshmen first and slowly but surely being able to teach all grade levels in that subject.

“I don’t really like to say ‘comparison’ because I honestly believe that VMT continues to fulfill the mission we have here in the school, which is instilling characters, characterization in our students and also preparing them academically and as well as in the fine arts, also, their creative talents. So basically I think that back then, we had that mission, also and we had the vision and we continue to fulfill that vision,” she said after being asked how VMT is now as compared to when she first taught here.

She said the school has developed through the years by continuing to produce well-rounded students who have creative talents as well as preparing them with a strong academic background.

“You know that the only difference, probably, that I see is the dress code,” she said when asked about differences in students she’s seen from when she was here and now. “Back then we didn’t have a dress code.”

She added adding that from then until now, she still continues to see that eagerness in the students of wanting to be here at VMT, wanting to go to their classes, wanting to study, make progress, and the ultimate goal of students being able to go to college.

Barron holds responsibilities such as curricular instruction, as far as academics is concerned, being able to meet with teachers often to have lesson plans ready to go for every week in order to be ready to prepare students to do well for the end-of-the-school-year STAAR exams. She also touches base with the fine arts teachers, meeting with them as well and making walk-throughs and evaluating them.

She said that one of her fondest memories at VMT goes back to when she was a teacher, having what was called a “Birthday Club” going on for many years with the academic department, and inviting the fine arts to join them as well.

“Whenever one of the academic teachers celebrated a birthday, we would always get excited because it’s like, ‘We’re going to go have lunch somewhere else besides the campus,’” Barron said.

She said there was a restaurant called Santa Maria Party House that served “the best burgers” saying that they really gave Fuddruckers competition.

She said that they’d get there, have some cake and eat. It was always good camaraderie, adding that those were really nice, fun times.

Barron said that another fond memory she has from when she was a teacher here at VMT was when the academic teachers came up with an incentive for the students, called “Caught Doing Good.” They’d give out tickets so the student caught doing good, whether in the fine arts or had perfect attendance, was not based on grades, but based on whatever they had been caught doing good in.

The teachers would give out two tickets, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and teachers would give the students little treats like Little Debbies or juices as rewards.

She said one of the events she enjoyed the most while being here is the annual Hispanic Festival.

“I really enjoy attending the Hispanic Festival, even when I left for a short while and then I came back,” Barron said, “The Hispanic Festival is a way of VMT coming together, students, faculty, teachers, administration, as a family and celebrating our Hispanic heritage.”

Barron said the main thing she looks forward to at the new campus is for the students to continue to perform the way they have been performing as far as talent-wise in their fine arts department and academically.

“On a positive note,” Barron said, “I’m looking forward to going into the new campus and looking forward to the challenges that we need to face. But, again, our students are awesome, the teachers, the staff, everybody here works together as a family and I really enjoy that.”

Arlen Barba