Teacher Education

Discussing Equity in the Classroom with Rodney Robinson [Podcast]

Discussing Equity in the Classroom with Rodney Robinson [Podcast]

As many of us are social distancing and hunkered down in our homes, we crave inspirational stories. That’s why we’re sharing our interview with the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson. For 20 years, Rodney has inspired countless students as a high school teacher in Virginia teaching social studies and history.

In this episode, we discussed Rodney’s work on equity in the classroom and how teacher education programs can do even more preparing teacher candidates to create equitable environments. He also shares his unique experience working with students affected by the school-to-prison pipeline.

It’s a brilliant episode, so let’s jump right into my interview with Rodney.

To learn more about Rodney, check out these additional articles and interviews: neaToday, NPR, CNN, CBS This Morning, Yale National Initiative, and The Washington Post

Rodney, welcome to the Teacher Education Podcast. How are you? (01:10 – 01:12)

Rodney Robinson: I’m good, how are you? (01:13 – 01:14)

Good. I’m excited. I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed anybody with such an extensive Wikipedia page. It’s really impressive. (01:15 – 01:21)

Rodney Robinson: I guess I need to go check that out. I haven’t checked it out in a while. (01:22 – 01:25)

Coronavirus and Educational Inequities

Because of the situation that is going on right now, I have to ask: what is your advice for teachers that are being asked to finish out the year online? With the coronavirus, it’s on everybody’s mind. (01:26 – 01:39)

Rodney Robinson: Well, man, it brings up a lot of inequities in our system when you ask teachers to finish online, starting with the fact that not all students have access to online materials. Then add in the fact because teachers don’t get paid a lot, a lot of teachers do not have online access at home. Some of them have to use coffee shops, libraries, and those places are closed to the public right now. (01:40 – 02:03)

It brings up a lot of inequities in our system when you ask teachers to finish the school year online. —Rodney Robinson #equityintheclassroom #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

So it really is an equity issue when you talk about online learning right now. Hopefully, when this is over, we can get some help from Congress to address these needs and providing nationwide broadband to rural areas, to inner-city areas, to areas that don’t really have access to it. And it’s really important that we want to give all students an equitable education that they have access to these tools. (02:04 – 02:27)

It’s true, because I didn’t even think in my experience it would affect my old school. I was talking to my parents and they’re in Washington, at the base of Mount Rainier, like the last town before you get to the National Park, and one of the small towns in the school district doesn’t have internet. (02:28 – 02:39)

Rodney Robinson: I grew up in a county where there’s very little internet, or you’re paying 200 to 300 bucks a month for internet. And that’s just not fair to students. (02:40 – 02:50)

Hopefully, when this pandemic is over, Congress can address these needs and provide nationwide broadband to rural areas, to inner-city areas, to areas that don't really have access to it. —Rodney Robinson #equityintheclassroom Share on X

Sylvia Robinson

Now, I know that you entered the world of education because of your mother, Sylvia. Can you tell me about your mother and how she inspired you to become a teacher? (02:51 – 02:58)

Rodney Robinson: Well, she wanted to become a teacher but she never got the formal education, due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. However, she didn’t let that stop her. She ran an in-home daycare and she would tell people in the neighborhood, “Just bring your kid by, bring some food if you got it, and pick them up about 5:00 or 6:00.” And so there were nights where I would go to sleep and I’d wake up and there’d be two more kids in my bed. (02:59 – 03:22)

My mother wanted to become a teacher, but she never got the formal education due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. However, she didn't let that stop her. —Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

I’m wondering where they come from, but it was just kids from the neighborhood that my mom would take in. And she would do it for little or no pay because she felt it was the job of the older generation to look out for the young people. And she still does that to this day. As a matter of fact, I think there are some kids at her house right now, even with all this going on. So she’s continuing that legacy and so seeing her interact with kids and just watching her teach and treat everybody equitably, that really inspired me to want to be a teacher. (03:23 – 03:54)

Seeing my mother interact with kids and just watch her teach and treat everybody equitably, that really inspired me to want to be a teacher. —Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

How many children do you think she’s worked with over the years? (03:55 – 03:58)

Rodney Robinson: Oh gosh, I have no, I mean literally every . . . I would say at one point, every kid in our neighborhood growing up was at the house at one point or another because then, like I said, they just knew if I needed a babysitter, even if it’s for a couple hours, I could just drop them off at Sylvia Mae’s house and they’ll be okay. And so, oh my gosh, there were some days it was 20, 25 kids there. (03:59 – 04:24)

Oh my goodness. (04:25)

Rodney Robinson: Yeah, and I mean it wasn’t just my brother. Of course, I had older sisters and older cousins who were there as well who helped my mother out, but it was just a place of love for the entire neighborhood. Everyone came through, everyone felt love, and it was just the communal meeting place. (04:26 – 04:41)

What an amazing experience growing up. Your mother sounds incredible. (04:42 – 04:46)

Rodney Robinson: Yeah, she is. (04:47)

Know Your Students

You’ve been quoted as saying, “A student-teacher relationship is the most important tool in fostering academic success. I work hard to get to know as well as understand my students.” Can you give us three actionable ways that teachers can get to understand and know their students? (04:49 – 05:06)

Rodney Robinson: Well, the first thing you have to do is you have to understand the neighborhood or your community that you’re teaching in. You have to ingrain yourself in the community, in the neighborhood, but also the history of that neighborhood because it helps you understand how your students ended up in the situation they were in. And so that’s really key, just immerse yourself in the neighborhood. (05:07 – 05:26)

The second key is just to listen, just be that ear, be that nonjudgmental ear that kids need. Because kids, they’re dealing with all sorts of emotions and problems and sometimes they just want an outlet. And as long as you’re that nonjudgmental outlet, you can just let the kid go. Once the kid gets to know you, then it’ll come more and more and you can build on that relationship. (05:27 – 05:49)

And the third thing is just to support your kids. Just support them no matter what they do, when they make mistakes. Just keep supporting them. I remember Ben Talley, a Hall of Fame Teacher from Bristol, Virginia. He and I were having a conversation and he said, “There’s no secret to working with tough children or any children. The kids, just they love them no matter what they do, love them. When they make mistakes, love them. When they don’t believe in themselves, love them. And it may not sink in while they’re in your classroom, but one day they’re going to remember all the love and support that you gave them.” (05:50 – 06:21)

A student-teacher relationship is the most important tool in fostering academic success. I work hard to get to know as well as understand my students.—Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

The first one you mentioned was knowing your community. How do you get to know your community? Should they be involved in different organizations? How do you get to know your community that well? (06:22 – 06:34)

Rodney Robinson: It’s whatever the heartbeat of the community is. In some communities, the church is the heartbeat of the community. For me, I coached football when I started teaching. And so the key way into the community was to go to the rec league games or the little league football games and get to know the coaches and the players and the parents. (06:35 – 06:53)

And so then you build that sense of community, so that when a parent sees your name on their child’s schedule, they say, “Okay, I know him. He’s good. He’s been around.” And so we had positive communications. And so with the kids, keep all communication positive and so therefore, when something has to be negative, it’s much more well-received if you have had a positive relationship. (06:54 – 07:14)

And so that’s what I mean by ingrain yourself in the community. Wherever the heartbeat of your community is, you should be there. You shouldn’t just leave every day and go home at 3:30, 4:30. Sometimes, it’s okay to go to school events, to go to neighborhood events, block parties, whatever’s going on and just get to know your community and the heartbeat of it. (07:15 – 07:33)

School-to-Prison Pipeline

That’s great advice. I like those three different things. And a few years ago you started teaching at the Virgie Binford Education Center. Can you tell us about why you decided to begin teaching there? And a little bit about the Virgie Binford Education Center? (07:34 – 07:49)

Rodney Robinson: There’s a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Jail. All of my students are age 12 to 19, some of them have committed minor offenses such as drugs. Some of them are accused of major offenses such as murder. And so it’s really important, I tell them all the time that, “America is a country of second chances. And if you want a second chance, a high-quality education is the best way to take advantage of your second chance.” (07:50 – 08:17)

I tell my students that America is a country of second chances. And if you want a second chance, a high-quality education is the best way to take advantage of your second chance. —Rodney Robinson #schooltoprisonpipeline Share on X

And so it’s a really good school. And the reason I went there because I taught for 15 years in high-needs schools and I was starting to become a little burnt out. And I remember getting the call from the principal of the school who’s a friend of mine, we worked together for, I mean we’ve known each other for a good 15 years, and she called and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in teaching history at her school. (08:18 – 08:43)

And we were talking, then she said, “Okay, here’s the deal. I want to know if you’re interested because I think you would be impactful from day one.” And so then I was like, I didn’t know if that was my thing. But then in 2015, that’s when the U.S. Department of Education released their first major report on the school-to-prison pipeline. And Virginia was the number one state in referring students to juvenile detention centers. (08:44 – 09:08)

And so to me, that was sort of a sign. It was like I could read books and study reports or I could go work in the prison system and see the kids and get to know them and use those field experiences to develop alternative programs. (09:09 – 09:24)

What has surprised you as you started to explore more about the school-to-prison pipeline? (09:25 – 09:30)

Rodney Robinson: Well, the first thing that surprised me was at first . . . I didn’t believe in a school-to-prison pipeline. I felt there was a poverty to prison pipeline in America and that we criminalized being poor. But I remember my first day at the jail, my first class comes in and there was a student who I just failed at the comprehensive high school before the summer. And so that was my wake up call. I failed this kid, he’s in jail. (09:31 – 09:58)

And so it really made me question everything from attendance policies to grading policies, to pedagogy, to my relationship building. What can I do to keep these kids out of the system? And so it really was an outing thing once I got there to see, okay, there’s a direct correlation. So now let’s focus on some of these things that are some of the students’ issues of why they ended up here. (09:59 – 10:22)

That was my wake up call: I failed this kid, and he's in jail. So what can I do to keep these kids out of the system? —Rodney Robinson #schooltoprisonpipeline #equityintheclassroom Share on X

And as you have observed and taught there, have you developed any solutions or programs or ideas that you think can help mitigate the problems of the school-to-prison pipeline? (10:23 – 10:34)

Rodney Robinson: Well to me, one of the most actionable things that we can do is we can remove police officers from schools. Plain and simple. A lot of my students, their first charge is something as simple as disorderly conduct in school. And then if you get disorderly conduct, they’re going to add a resisting arrest charge to that. And so it’s those little things allowing police officers to handle school discipline. That’s not a school-to-prison pipe, that’s a direct pipeline to the prison. Because instead of getting disciplinary referrals, you’re getting criminal charges. (10:35 – 11:10)

And so that’s the first thing we do. We can remove school resource officers or police officers—because that’s really what they are—away from school because they don’t have the training, the educational background or anything to deal with school discipline. I think principals should be the only ones and teachers should be the only ones in charge of student discipline. (11:11 – 11:32)

And so to me that’s probably the most actionable thing we could do. And then once we remove them, we could start using that funding to put more mental health counselors in school, more social workers, more school counselors because school resource officers, police officers, they can break up a fight. But if you’re not getting to the core issues of why there was so much aggression, you’re not solving the problem. And so it’s really important that we remove them and replace them with trained mental health professionals and restorative justice programs and anything to teach students how to resolve the anger and the conflict they had so that it doesn’t end up in criminal charges. (11:33 – 12:09)

One of the most actionable things that we can do is we can remove police officers from school. Plain and simple. —Rodney Robinson #schooltoprisonpipeline #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

Student-Teacher Relationships

I would never have thought that the first offense that students have usually is directly because of school. That’s really insightful. I’m glad that you shared that with us. Because so many teacher education professionals listen to our podcast, I want to ask you about your experience as a teacher candidate and working with new teachers. Reflecting on your training and what you know now, would you change anything about your preparation to become a teacher? (12:10 – 12:38)

Rodney Robinson: I think my college, Virginia State University, I think they did an amazing job preparing me for teaching because they focused on relationships. And even though once I started teaching, it took me about two or three years before I really, really understood the importance of relationships. But I remember something as simple, we had our first… I guess freshman year in college, we had a class of 150 students in earth science. (12:39 – 13:07)

And I remember the Dean of Science Departments walks in and he was like, “Oh no, this class is too big.” So he sends everybody back to their rooms and said, “New schedules are coming.” And so what he did was he broke the class down into three classes of 50 students and then put two teachers aides in each one of those classes. And his reasoning was there’s no way a professor can get to know 150 students. (13:08 – 13:31)

You can’t build a relationship. And so I’m going to break it down for more professors and more student aids so that you students can build relationships that would ensure your success in school. And so those little things like that, that were happening at my college that was preparing me for education. Understanding that it’s relationships. And then I think my fourth year teaching is when it really set in because after my third year, I kind of got fired from a school. (13:32 – 13:59)

Not kind of, I did get fired from a school. And I went to another school and I remember the new principal who was much more supportive. He asked me, he said, “Who are your best students in your class?” And I said, “My football players.” He asked me why and I was like, “Because they know me, I know them. We have expectations.” And so he asked me, he said, “Why can’t you have that relationship with all of your students?” (14:00 – 14:23)

And that was the moment when it clicked. It’s not about pedagogy, it’s not about anything but building relationships, believing in the students, and having the students believe in you. And once you do that, you can take learning anywhere that you want to go or anywhere that the students want to go. (14:24 – 14:39)

Equity in Teacher Preparation Programs

Interesting. Yeah. This is the theme, relationships, you keep coming back to that. As you’ve worked and observed with new teachers coming in over the past two decades of your career, are there any insights that you would like to give? Because, like I said, we have teacher prep program professionals listening. Are there any insights that you would like to give teacher prep programs as to what you’re seeing when we have new teachers starting? (14:40 – 15:04)

Rodney Robinson: Of course, there’s the relationship aspect of it, but we really need to start having conversations about equity in the classroom. These conversations surrounding race, surrounding sexual orientation, because these are factors that play a major role in holding some students back. Whether it’s holding them back personally because they’re trying to figure out who they are or whether they are systematic barriers in place that must be discussed, and how to eliminate those if you want all students to be successful. (15:05 – 15:36)

I was recently speaking at . . . I’m not going to say the name of the university, but it was a university, there was about I guess about a hundred teacher candidates. I guess 90 of them were white women and they were asking some really good intense questions about race. And really, I was really empowered by that. I was like, “These students are having questions that veteran teachers aren’t having.” (15:37 – 16:03)

But then also I got a little disappointed because I spoke to the School of Education and I asked them, “Why don’t you have any black faculty members?” Because these are questions that these students have been having and you could tell they were holding them—waiting for an opportunity to speak to a black male teacher. And so they were just letting them go. And so I told the school, “You need to really make sure that your staff is diverse if you truly want to serve the needs of teacher candidates and have those important conversations.” (16:04 – 16:32)

You need to really make sure that your staff is diverse if you truly want to serve the needs of teacher candidates and have those important conversations. —Rodney Robinson #equityintheclassroom #teacherprep Share on X

Diversity in the Teaching Profession

How do we create build a diverse faculty and more diversity with our school teachers? (17:04 – 17:11)

Rodney Robinson: Oh wow. That’s, Oh wow. That’s really what I’ve been talking about a lot lately is how do we get more diversity? One thing always says it starts with the experiences of the students in school. Our black and brown students and our exceptional education students, they have the worst experiences in our schools. And so it’s no wonder that those are the biggest areas of teacher shortage, black and brown teachers and exceptional education teachers. (17:12 – 17:36)

Because no one wants to return to the scene of their trauma as a career field. So it’s really important that we start culturally responsive teaching, anti-racist teaching, just curriculum development. Just having the students have better experiences in school. And that’s one way I think we can really have an impact and so they can see, “hey, teaching is a viable opportunity for me. I see people who look like me who are doing great jobs in education.” (17:37 – 18:07)

No one wants to return to the scene of their trauma as a career field. So it's really important that we start culturally responsive teaching and anti-racist teaching. —Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear #equityintheclassroom Share on X

The second thing we can do is eliminate some of these barriers that are in the way. We talk about culturally biased testing that keeps teachers out of the field. We also want to talk about just simple economics. For example, it used to be in Virginia, you had to have five years of college to get a teaching degree. You couldn’t get a four-year education. And so that was really holding back a lot of students, especially minority students or first-generation college students, because they were struggling to pay for four years of college. (18:08 – 18:42)

And now if I want to be a teacher, I have to add on another year of college just to get that degree. And so luckily Virginia has now reduced that and has some four-year education degrees. But those things are issues, creating spaces for teachers of color, because they’re leaving the field at a rate twice as other teachers because they’re so burnt out by the invisible tax. So we had to create spaces for those teachers because we can get as many new teachers of colors as we want, but if we’re not retaining the ones we already had, we’re just pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it. So that’s really important. (18:43 – 19:21)

What do you mean by “give them a space”? (19:22)

Rodney Robinson: Well, former secretary of education, John King, talked about the invisible tax. Invisible tax is basically extra duties or extra cultural tax placed on the teachers of color, such as being a cultural liaison, such as having these conversations about race and class or being just that go-to person for all the students of color. I remember I was at a middle school and I was speaking to one of the teachers of color and every black kid in that school stopped by that teacher’s class that morning just to say what’s up. (19:24 – 20:00)

And just to see his face and get that common reassurance that “okay, today is going to be a good day.” But just little things like that, just the weight on teachers, especially when those students are also bringing their problems because they don’t see anyone else who looks like them. And so it really burns those teachers out. (20:01 – 20:20)

And then having to deal with the constant microaggressions of race. And so those things, they really weigh on teachers. And so it’s important that teachers have a safe space so that they can explore these things with themselves, and schools of education. I was at another school of education who claimed to be one of the top schools in the country, but when I had a conversation with their students of color, they were almost, not almost, they were traumatized by their experience at that school because they didn’t have a safe space where they felt that their opinions were valued or that they were respected as educational professionals. (20:21 – 20:59)

I was at a school of education who claimed to be one of the top schools in the country, but when I had a conversation with their students of color, they were traumatized by their experience at that school. —Rodney Robinson #teacherprep… Share on X

3 Ways to Build Equity in the Classroom

This actually leads really nicely into the next question that I wanted to ask you. So you’ve worked with James Forman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, on developing curriculum units on race. From your work on the project and experience in the classroom, can you give our listeners three pieces of advice about building equity in the classroom? (21:00 – 21:20)

Rodney Robinson: Number one for equity in the classroom is to set your rules. Set your rules on conversation, your rules of debate, your rules of respect, those non-negotiables. And once you have those set, then students feel more comfortable expressing their opinions. And that’s hard for teachers. For some teachers it’s easy. For some teachers it’s going to take a while, a lot of trial and error, a lot of failures. But eventually, if you set those rules of expectations in the classroom or behavior for conversations, then you can start having those conversations. (21:21 – 21:53)

The second thing, you have to listen. You actually listen to the students, listen to their concerns. I think a lot of times teachers get so caught up in wanting to fix problems that you don’t really hear the problem that the student has. Sometimes you have to sit back, listen, and understand the problem. (22:54 – 22:10)

And then three, always propose actionable solutions. Nothing is worse than a student having a problem and the teacher responding, “Yeah, that’s just the way it is.” No, you have to have actionable things that a student can do to solve those issues. And that’s one of the things I took on when I started working at the detention center was as problems came up in the detention center, we were like “hey, this is how you handle it.” Whether it’s writing a letter to the detention supervisor, write a letter to the mayor. I’ve had meetings with state senators, with the mayor or just different people who can come in and provide answers to some of the questions and problems that they had. (22:11 – 22:55)

Always propose actionable solutions. Nothing is worse than a student having a problem and the teacher responding, that's the way it is. —Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear #equityintheclassroom Share on X

And then four, for equity in the classroom, just model. Model the behavior you want. If you see problems in your school and you work towards fixing them, then the students will buy in and they’ll work towards fixing their problems. And so that’s probably the best thing. Just model the behavior you want the students to have. (22:56 – 23:13)

I’m curious about the third one: actionable solutions. How can you help give actionable solutions if some of the problems are probably systemic? (23:14 – 23:21)

Rodney Robinson: What is your big issue? What is the issue that you most want to address? And then focus on that. It’s something as simple as at our detention center, every day the kids only eat three times a day: 5:30 in the morning, 12 noon for lunch, and 5:30 in the afternoon. So when they’re sitting in class, they’re hungry. By 9:00, they’re hungry. They can’t focus on class. (23:22 – 23:46)

So okay, if you want extra meals, okay, let’s raise this issue with the detention supervisor. Now, let’s take it to the mayor, bring them in and let’s have a conversation. And now we have to meet with state officials, federal officials. And it took about six months of just bureaucratic red tape, but eventually they were able to get snacks. And just something that’s like that, that’s a big victory for a student who’s never been listened to before because most of our students in detention have had bad experiences with schools. (23:47 – 24:15)

They’ve been clogs in the system that had just been passed on from one person to the next. But doing something like this, it’s like, “Okay, we have a voice.” It makes a difference and it inspires them to take on the next challenge. And so recently, last year I remember there was an issue in a facility and I remember the kids were immediately on it. They wrote letters to their parents, to the mayor. (24:16 – 24:37)

And it was a major issue and within 48 hours, the issue got solved. Whereas, if the kids hadn’t been pushing for that issue, I don’t think it would have been as serious or it would have gotten salt. And so that’s the key. Teaching them that they have a voice and that the little things that you do make a difference. (24:38 – 24:56)

It sounds like you’re creating a whole bunch of grassroots activists, which is fantastic. They’re learning how to have their voice heard. That’s really empowering. (24:57 – 25:06)

Rodney Robinson: Yes, yes. That’s my ultimate goal as a teacher, especially as a social studies teacher. I’ll tell them, be the change agent that you want to see, be the change you want to see in your community. (25:07 – 25:16)

The Magic Wand Question

Now, I ask all of our guests a question and we call it our magic wand question. And so the magic wand question is, if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the U.S. educational system, the policy or the profession, what would it be? (25:17 – 25:34)

Rodney Robinson: I’ll keep it simple. I think, and it goes back to Dr. Lindsey and her study at John Hopkins University that found that teaching students of color, especially black students, who have a black teacher in the elementary grades are 39% less likely to drop out of school at 19% more likely to go to college. So if I could wave a magic wand that could solve a lot of issues, I think it would be to just get us more teachers of color in the classroom because it helps all students, not just students of color. (23:35 – 26:09)

If I could wave a magic wand, I think it would be just to get more teachers of color in the classroom because it helps all students, not just students of color. —Rodney Robinson #nationalteacheroftheyear #equityintheclassroom Share on X

Because imagine how less racist our society would be if white students had teachers of color in front of them, showing them how to navigate through life. It just makes things much easier. I often say everyone wins with diversity. And so if we could just get more diversity in the classroom, I think we’ll see things closed like the achievement gap and the opportunity gap because we have people there who understand the needs of underserved populations and so they can help advocate to end those issues. So if I had to choose one, that would be it. (26:10 – 26:41)

Imagine how less racist our society would be if white students had teachers of color in front of them, showing them how to navigate through life? —Rodney Robinson #equityintheclassroom #nationalteacheroftheyear Share on X

Lightning Round

I’ve asked that for a lot of our guests and that’s the first time I’ve heard that answer and I love that answer. Now, at the end of our podcast episode, we do a lightning round, so I’m going to ask you a series of questions and you just need to respond with a one-word or one-sentence answer. (26:42 – 27:00)

Rodney Robinson: Okay (27:01)

Are you ready? (21:02)

Rodney Robinson: Let’s do it. (27:03)

Okay. Favorite conference to attend? (27:04)

Rodney Robinson: Oh, definitely. Educators Rising. I love those kids having fun and just being teenagers. As a teacher, that’s what you love is just students who are inspired and then you got a room full of future educators. And so just, I often say whenever you get educators in a room, magical organically happen so and the get all those kids in that room, that was just so much fun, that conference. (27:07 – 27:29)

Your favorite movie? (27:30)

Rodney Robinson: Favorite movie? Hoodlum, it’s 1995 a Laurence Fishburne, Cicely Tyson movie. It’s just about 1920s/1930s Harlem gangsters. To me, I like it because there’s a lot of underlying tones of race and power and entrepreneurship and it’s really a good move. (27:32 – 27:56).

I’ll have to add that to my list. Your go-to resource for teaching? (27:57 – 28:01)

Rodney Robinson: My go to resource for teaching. It’s usually Teaching Tolerance or the Stanford Education Group. (28:02 – 28:09)

And one piece of advice for new teachers? (28:10 – 28:13)

Rodney Robinson: If you’re not having a rough time, you’re not doing it right. Your first year is difficult, but you just have to survive and get through it. I remember I was speaking to a student of mine who I had my first year teaching, who’s now a teacher herself, and she was talking about a lot of fun things we did in my class, my first year teaching. I remembered none of that, I just remember surviving that year. And at the end of the year was like, “Woo, I made it.” Just understand it’s going to be rough, but the key thing is to always learn from your failures because you will have lots of failures. A lot of people say, “I was successful.” To me, you learn more from your failures than you do from the success. (28:14 – 28:58)

Well, Rodney, thank you so much for joining us on the Teacher Education Podcasts. This has been one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve had. I really have enjoyed it and I know our listeners are going to love the insight and people that are teachers themselves or people that are in teacher preparation programs, I know we will all find it useful, so thank you so much for joining us. (28:59 – 29:18)

Rodney Robinson: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure. (29:19 – 29:21)


That’s it for today. Don’t forget to subscribe. If you like what you heard, please rate and review this podcast to help others find us. The Teacher Education Podcast is brought to you by GoReact. This episode was hosted by me, Hillary Gamblin, and produced by Danielle Burt, Joseph Winter, and Jordan Harris. Chad Jardine is our executive producer. Guests on the podcast are expressing personal opinions for informational purposes only. They’re not acting as official representatives for their universities or organizations.