Barbara Claybourn wasn’t your typical child, and in place of action figures and dolls in her toy closet, she had a chalkboard.
“I’ve wanted to become a teacher since the third grade, but if you ask my mom she’ll say first,” Claybourn said. “I was one of those kids who did work sheets for fun, and made my brother do his homework.”
Claybourn has turned her childhood wish into her career, and is currently a fifth grade-reading teacher at Lamar Elementary School. She’s also a member of the elementary Project Based Learning (PBL) team at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. She and additional members from multiple elementary schools collaborate on how to help teachers incorporate the educational technique, which emphasizes learning through hands – on experience, in the classrooms.
“Right now what we are doing is focusing on working the kinks out,” Claybourn said. “We talk about our experiences, give advice to each other and asking ourselves how we can bring it back to help teachers.”
To further the development of the PBL initiative, she’s participated in a summer training program, and acts as an instructional coach for teachers.
If that wasn’t enough on her plate, she also serves as the oral reading and ready writing UIL sponsor. In her coaching position, her teams are currently getting ready for their first competition under the new competitive edge initiative.
Her fondness for books is something she hopes to share with the students at HCISD. In the past, she has sponsored a literacy club, which emphasized the importance of reading.
“It’s about watching the kids grow, and watching how differently they think and manage themselves.” Claybourn said.
Claybourn has been teaching for ten years, and prior to taking on her dream career she worked at a law firm. Originally from Washington, it may have been a big move but she didn’t’ mind as long as that meant she was able to teach, she said.
“I could go pretty much anywhere as a teacher,” Claybourn said. “ I love my job, my school and coworkers.”
When she’s not on campus or doing one of her many educational related activities, you can find her quietly knitting at home with her dogs.