The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

After conquering ‘the beast,’ Barros leaves her legacy


The bell rings at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning and students drag their feet through the hallways, the thought of heading to the hardest class on their schedule, AP Physics, hanging over their heads. The shrill bell rings loudly and students begrudgingly unglue their faces from their phones. No matter the day, they are guaranteed to see a smiling Mrs. Barros greeting them, warm coffee cup in hand. 

While students see a dreary sky outside, Mrs. Barros only notices that it is a beautiful day to learn physics.   

Taciana Barros has been a physics teacher for 25 years, 15 of them at West Essex. Each and every day, she challenges students to push themselves and think outside the box when they approach a physics problem.

“It is always me and you against physics and never physics and me against you,” Barros said. “We are working together to solve the problem. The beast is always physics.”

Barros grew up in Brazil and attended college there, where she eventually became a chemical engineer. It was not until moving to the United States with her husband in 1992 that she decided to switch career paths and become a teacher. 

“I’m married to a chemical engineer, and he travels a lot because of his position,” Barros said. “So when I decided to go back to work, I decided to go to teaching so I could use my scientific and mathematical background, but have my schedule closer to those of my two kids.”

Barros had an advanced degree and knew her subject well, but teaching high schoolers while adjusting to American culture and being a mom proved to be a whole new challenge for her. At Boonton High School, the first school Barros taught at, she was only one chapter ahead of her students, learning right along with them.  

“The challenges got easier through determination and hard work,” Barros said. “It was mainly weekends in the library, where my husband would stay with the kids and I would prepare the lessons…I learned that the kids need to be engaged.”

Barros then taught physics at Cedar Grove High School, and halfway through her first year at Hackensack High School, a job opened up here at West Essex High School. It was closer to her home, making it the perfect opportunity for Barros. 

While students may forget their kinematic equations by the time they graduate, Barros hopes they remember the lessons she has instilled in them throughout the rest of their lives. 

“The lesson I really want students to take away is ‘to think,’” Barros said. “I want all of you to be better problem solvers and critical thinkers because that’s what we need in the outside world. The second is, no matter how big the challenge ahead of you is, to take a breath and to take it on. If each one of my students take this with them, I think I accomplished something.”

After 25 years of educating and impacting countless students, Barros is ready for the next chapter of her life. She came to this decision after realizing she may never lose the joy of teaching, but her schedule needs more flexibility. While she will always have a passion for physics and teaching, she wants more time to prioritize her family, exercise and new hobbies.

 “I bought the ukulele and I want to learn how to play it,” Barros said. “I’d also like to learn more about economics and history now that I have the time. Most importantly, I want to continue to grow and be available to my family.”

Behind the Bylines
Brooke Kupferberg
Brooke Kupferberg, Editor-in-Chief
Brooke Kupferberg is the 2024-2025 Editor-in-Chief for The Wessex Wire. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family and taking naps. She also plays tennis for the school team and loves watching her favorite TV show “Friends”.
Ella Hermans
Ella Hermans, Editor-in-Chief
Ella Hermans is the 2024-2025 Editor-in-Chief of the Wessex Wire! She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, listening to music and going to the beach. She plays tennis for the West Essex team, and her favorite show is "New Girl". 
More to Discover