IDEA Public Charter School

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1027 45th St. NE, Washington, DC 20019 Phone: (202) 399-4750
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Natalie Barnes » Meet Natalie Barnes

Meet Natalie Barnes

My Principal Asked “Why?”


On August 10th, 2016 my principal told her story,

She told one that explained why she became an educator; a leader.

She mentioned breaking collars, breaking molds, starting anew.

Then she posed the question to me … “why?”

“Why did I choose this profession?” She asked.

Immediately I traveled back to my childhood,

Back to when I played “skool” with my cousins,

When I created worksheets and simulated the classroom.

Like a parrot, I mimicked a teacher’s movements, praises, applauds and reprimands.

In my game, I took completing the work very serious,

I wanted what was best for my “pretend” students,

But deeper than that, I wanted to be heard.


As a child, I felt misunderstood,

I felt like mom refused to relate to me,

And my teachers were from the Stone Age,

So they couldn’t relate.


I journal’d to express myself,

Wrote poetry to release my stress of being unheard, misunderstood

Mistaken for someone or something else.

I chose to teach to provide for the youth a sort of guidance I felt like I never had

I chose to teach to educate and counsel,

To provide insight and understanding into LIFE experiences inside and outside the classroom

In this experience I’ve found connections and relationship building is paramount

Respect is something misappropriated but once nurtured revered.

I’ve found that success is built on being genuine and sincere

I’ve found a passion for viewing the light bulbs go off when student access new information

I’ve found that the value of education includes,

Experience, Practice, Persistence, Consistency and Diligence

And I LOVE what I DO.