FCS teacher will miss watching students define themselves, build lifelong skills

Maxine Barrows is the soon to retire family and consumer science head teacher for Holmes Junior High.

Barrows has been teaching for a total of 46 years — four years at Dubuque Senior High and 42 years at Holmes.

Barrows has inspired different students to experience new things that they may have thought they’d never like.

“I love teaching FCS,” she said. “I have always loved getting up in the morning and coming to school to teach my students and collaborate with my colleagues. Teaching has truly been my passion in life.”

Barrows has had great experiences with not only teaching what she loves but with making lives better in children.

“I have taught thousands of students in my teaching career — 46 years is a long time. FCS is about teaching lifelong skills,” she said. “Skills that a person may use daily in their lives. Many of the skills I have taught include nutrition, budgeting, cooking (culinary techniques), family living, sewing, child care, parenting, fashion design, interior design, fashion design, food safety, career and technical education and more. I believe teachers have great compassion.

She has aimed to help student reach higher. “Teachers are there to challenge students and help them recognize and reach their full potential. Students also need to have a willingness as well as an inner desire to learn. I have told my students that you never know when you may need these skills in your future,” she said. “Just make sure you learn them and they are there if and when you do need them. Learn as much as you can while you’re going to school. At some point in life, these skills will be needed to achieve quality of life. I believe they will have a lifelong impact in any person’s life.”

Family and consumer science prepares students for the real world.

“What I like most about teaching FCS is that the skills taught can empower any individual who chooses to use these skills to meet the ever changing challenges of today’s society,” she said. “Skills needed to live life in a global society. For me, it has been most gratifying to watch students define their character — the person they want to be and the way they want others to see them. It’s been about the way student successes reflect positive happenings in their lives and then watching them develop their potential.”

Barrows said she’ll miss Holmes. “I think I will miss the interactions with students and staff on a daily basis the most. Cedar Falls has been a great place to teach.”

And she’ll also miss learning from her students.

“I believe teaching is reciprocal,” she said. “I teach them, and they teach me —happens every day. It’s a simple yet complex concept. There’s always something new to learn, always a new way to teach an idea, always new technology to embrace teaching and always problems to be solved and questions to be answered. In my opinion, teaching is such a rewarding profession.”

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