This is the fifth and final article in a series of profiles about each finalist for Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ 2019 Citywide Teacher of the Year. The citywide winner will be announced at the Teacher of the Year dinner hosted by the Virginia Beach Education Foundation May 3.
Rebecca Robbins, a kindergarten teacher at Diamond Springs Elementary, discovered her passion for teaching after completing 10 years as a social worker.
“I loved building relationships with my clients, their foster families and with their biological families,” said Robbins. “I celebrated their successes and felt their losses.”
After having children Robbins became a stay-at-home mom where she taught her daughters the alphabet and how to read and write, all before entering kindergarten.
“What I noticed during this time was when they were happy they learned easily.”
Robbins returned to school and entered the Career Switcher Program at Old Dominion University.
“I knew during this time I was on the right path for me. Since then I have never doubted my decision to become a teacher.”
“I teach because it is who I am,” said Robbins.
If you weren’t a teacher, which career would you choose and why?
If I wasn’t a teacher, I would most likely go back to social work. I was a social worker prior to pursuing my license to teach. Social work is in line with my desire to help people be better and do better. It is also a great career to advocate for kids and be a positive impact in their life.
What is your favorite aspect about teaching?
I love the relationships I build with my students. I love watching them try something new that is hard and seeing them be successful. I also really love planning lessons to meet their needs that will be engaging and fun.
What is the best teaching advice you’ve received?
Be yourself and share your joy with your students. Sharing parts of your life with students helps to build relationships. They know I trust them and they can trust me with their stories.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Energetic and happy! Well planned but able to be flexible. I absolutely love what I do!
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
As a kid, I played school a lot with my sister. Once I went to college, I thought I wanted to be a chemist, then a social worker and after working with my own children at home, I decided to go back to school to teach. From the first class, I knew I had made the right choice.
What made you choose the subject/grade you teach?
I love teaching kindergarten because I love HUGS! Kindergarteners are just beginning to develop their personality, to discover their interests, and are learning about how to be a student. I love giving them positive experiences in the classroom to help them grow in these areas. Also I love to read and I love sharing that joy with my students.
What is something about you that would surprise your students?
I don’t love social studies. They would be surprised because when I am teaching; it is all my favorite. I don’t want to share my negative feelings with my students. Who knows I could have a great historian in my classroom?
What is on you bucket list?
I would love to travel more with my husband. I want to go back to school for my Masters.
Describe your perfect day off.
A beach day with my daughters.
What or who inspires you, and why?
My daughters! I want to be the best I can for them. I want to show them that they can do anything they dream of.
What is your favorite quote?
What we learn with joy we never forget.
Describe a favorite school memory or memory of a teacher you had when you were a student.
I had so many amazing teachers as a student. Teachers that truly cared about me and inspired me to always do my best. I remember lots of activities from second grade, Ms. Rickerson was so creative and fun. She seemed to really love her job and teaching.
What advice would you give a new teacher?
Don’t feel like you have to know everything from day one. Be open to learning and to feedback from administrators and colleagues. Be reflective of your teaching and behavior management practices. Try new things and take risks. Figure out ways to teach the curriculum but add elements that you enjoy. The students will be engaged if you are.
SPEED ROUND: List as many of your favorite that you care to share.
Favorite food: Brunch!
Favorite books: anything by Jodi Piccoult or books about teaching/joy
Favorite candy: Cinnamon Jolly Ranchers
Favorite vacation spot: Cozumel, Mexico
Favorite sports team: Redskins
Favorite TV show: anything on HGTVTell your friends! Follow us!