Photo Courtesy Annette Barth
When asked what color you think describes you, most would probably not know what to say. Math and Spartan Center teacher Mrs. Annette Barth knows the answer for her is blue. “ Blue is the color that defines me. It brings happiness to me and makes me feel alive and at peace,” she says.
I associated blue with sadness for some reason, but Mrs. Barth is not like anyone else I’ve ever met. She sees the color blue as a path to happiness, and maybe that comes from her love of the water. Her favorite place in the whole world is being near water. She says, “[I love] sitting on the beach with my feet in the water or along a stream in the mountains. The sounds of the ocean or rushing water make me feel at peace and I marvel at all that God has created.” Her favorite color blue reminds her of her connection to the water, and the sounds that purely resonate from God’s creation.
Some of us wonder when we will have it all figured out, and we think if we could just know more about what is coming we would worry less, but you have to live and go through the experiences that shape who you are to get there. I asked Mrs. Barth when she felt like all the pieces came together. Her answer, “ I really didn’t feel like I had a handle on my life until my 40’s. I finally made strides financially, my kids were a part of their school and their personalities were developing into such beautiful human beings, and I love teaching high school math,” she said.
She went through challenges and overcame them and finally felt like everything was coming together. Also in her 40’s she realized she needed to enjoy the time she had with her parents because as we all know no one is ever around forever. She says ,” I realized how important it was to spend time with my parents as they were aging and to cherish every minute with them.”
Though this is only her fourth year at Doherty, she has been teaching for thirty-five years. Mrs. Barth has such a big heart and has plenty of room for many of her students and of course her family, but even with that big heart she still realized she wasn’t soaking in every moment with her loved ones as she should be. A big lesson I learned after spending time with her and being her student was that she taught me to enjoy life a little more, remember the good times and especially to laugh even when we don’t feel like it. I don’t think Ms. Barth knows how much she affected me and many other students and how we will always remember the lessons she taught us (and not just the math ones).
As we all know, Mrs. Barth is a mom to two wonderful daughters who were adopted from China. During class she always talked about how proud she is, but also how much she misses them while they are away at college, so it’s not surprising that her favorite part of her life is spending time with them. “My favorite part of my life is spending time with my daughters. I love spending time with them, just talking , or traveling around the country experiencing different cultures and environments. My favorite times with my family are always at the ocean!” Her plan was to go to Italy this summer to celebrate her senior’s graduation, but that will have to wait. In the meantime, she’s hoping that the lessons that have carried her this far will be passed on.
She says, “I want all students to do one good thing a day for someone else or make a difference in someone’s life every day whether it is a smile, hug or just encouraging words.”