Near-death experience inspired career pathway
By Jade Myers/campus editor
Dead and then brought back to life.
TR English instructor Patricia Barker’s near-death experience and work with students is the focus of her new book coming in April, Angels in the OR.
Her near-death experience is a story that has been of interest to many media outlets. And now Dr. Oz is getting in on the action. Barker will appear on an episode of Dr. Oz airing 2 p.m. Feb. 15.
“It was kind of wild,” Barker said.
Dr. Oz producers found her through her YouTube channel where she interviews other people with near-death experiences.
“They liked my story and they invited me to come to NYC and film,” she said. “It was really quite a production.”
Barker said when she was in college she was in a head-on car accident that broke her back in three places. She was then pronounced dead during one of the surgeries.
This was the moment that changed her life forever.
“I saw angels working on my body and then I, you know, went to a heavenly landscape and resided there for a while,” she said. “But near that loving presence of God I was told to come back and be a teacher.”
Being a teacher was not something Barker said she had ever been interested in.
“I was like ‘anything but that,’ and God kind of laughed,” she said. “So that was the last bit that I had in the afterlife, and so teaching has been such a joy.”
Barker said she has spent the last 25 years teaching college, high school, junior high and even overseas.
“Mainly the last part of the book is about how teaching really was my highest calling and it really was what I was meant to do,” she said.
One of Barker’s oldest colleagues at TCC is Tahita Fulkerson, who is current NE Campus interim president and former TR Campus president.
“Trisha was one of the original faculty members we hired when we opened TR Campus, and from the beginning, she was — I hate to use the word superstar because that’s overused — but she really was an extraordinarily gifted teacher,” Fulkerson said.
During Fulkerson’s time at TR, she said she saw Barker working with dual-credit students who were focused on medical professions, and Barker had her lesson and composition focused around writing about medicine.
“And I thought ‘She knows how to teach,’” Fulkerson said.
TR student Jennifer Barkley said she enjoys having Barker as a teacher this semester.
“This is my first semester with her,” Barkley said. “She’s pretty cool, soft spoken and nice. She loves to hear what people have to say in the class.”