Robinson encourages faculty and students: “Find your why”
National Teacher of the Year speaks at SOE 2019 Convocation
National Teacher of the Year and SOE alum Rodney Robinson began the VCU School of Education academic year by challenging new and returning students, faculty and staff at fall convocation to regularly ask themselves a question.
“Whether you’ve just pulled an all-nighter studying for a test, or you’ve taught classes all day, begin and end each day by asking yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? What is my why?’,” he said.
Robinson shared three reasons for his own personal “why.”
“First, I want to make my mom proud and pass on equitable education to the next generation like she did for every kid she encountered. Second, I want to be culturally responsive to young black students and create opportunities for them that were created for me. Third, my failure as a teacher is a matter of life and death for my students,” he said.
“You’ve got to touch children’s hearts if you want them to change. You have to care about them.”
Robinson shared many examples from his personal and professional life to illustrate each point. He has taught since 2015 at Richmond Public Schools’ Virgie Binford Education Center, which is housed within the juvenile detention center on Oliver Hill Way.
Dr. Andrew Daire began convocation by congratulating the school for its accomplishments during the past year, including the launch of a new vision, mission and values, as well as a new strategic plan committed to student success, national prominence, urban and regional transformation, and diversity.
“Thanks to the work and dedication of many of you in the room today, we now have not only an aspirational vision, a strong mission and values, but also a path on how to get closer to that vision over the next three years,” he said.
View the Flickr album of photos from the convocation.