Barrow, Pete

Dec. 31, 1969, 7 p.m. | 54 years, 1 month ago

By Emma Norvell

Name: Pete Barrow
Department: Math
Education: University of Maryland, mathematics
Previous jobs: Musical instruments repair, Violin maker, Carpenter/Cabinetmaker
Year started at MBHS: 1998
Hobbies: Reading everything
Mr. Pete Barrow is now a math teacher at Montgomery Blair High School. However, he originally did not want to teach.

Barrow was born in West Virginia and grew up there and in North Carolina. Barrow says he had a bad childhood and spent most of it "just wanting to get out of the house."

As a child, Barrow didn't have any favorite teachers. "I had one really crazy and psychotic teacher. She made me really nervous. They put her in a mental institute the year after I had her," he says with a laugh.

His only fond memory of family life was when he left home at 17. "It was snowing with these huge piles of snow everywhere. My father stopped me at the door and said, 'you're going to need some money.' So he opens his wallet and gave me three dollars," Barrow says, laughing jovially.

Barrow did not set out to become a teacher. He did not go to college immediately after high school. He took a break after graduating, before he went to Emery and Henry College in Virginia. He soon quit school and got a job, until he became interested in the cello. "I went crazy over the cello," he says.

To pursue his interest, Barrow went to Peabody, a part of Johns Hopkins University, to study music. However, he got sick of the cello quickly. "After a year, I hated it," he says.

Barrow then worked at various jobs. He says he had lots of "really stupid jobs." His first real job was repairing musical instruments. Eventually, he made violins but that paid poorly, so he became a carpenter.

Finally, when he was 30, he became interested in math. He then went to the University of Maryland in College Park. It took him 10 years to get his math degree because he spent a lot of time tutoring and he was often distracted by his family.

Barrow is now happily married with two children. "One is tall and one is short. I forget their names sometimes," he jokes.

Barrow became interested in teaching when he tutored kids at his son's school. He says he liked "working with the little guys." As a reward for good work, he says, he would let them rub his beard.

Barrow does not have a particular technique for developing potential in students. "Some like you and some don't. You can't change that sometimes," he says.

Barrow came to Blair in 1998 but only intended to practice interviewing for a job. The school immediately pursued him for a job as a teacher. "It's kind of funny. I came over here all dirty and dusty with my son. They still hired me for some reason," he says.

At first, he was not sure Blair was the right place for him to work but, Barrow now is glad he took the job. "I really, really like my boss, the place and people," he says.

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