Wisdom and expertise are two benefits of being a veteran teacher, but there’s no discrediting the fresh outlook and potential of a young educator. Read how one recent college graduate is making her mark. Eriann Roberts’ goals have always been clear: become a teacher, serve others, and make an impacFeb 22, 2017
Wisdom and expertise are two benefits of being a veteran teacher, but there’s no discrediting the fresh outlook and potential of a young educator. Read how one recent college graduate is making her mark.
Eriann Roberts’ goals have always been clear: become a teacher, serve others, and make an impact. Although this is only her third year in the classroom, she has already switched grade levels, taken on school-wide committees, led professional development sessions, and more.
Roberts’ story began about two decades ago. The Northern Arizona University alumna says she knew she wanted to be a teacher even before she was a student.
“When my older brother started kindergarten, we went to meet the teacher night. The teacher was explaining her job and how the students would learn to read and write,” Roberts recalls. “I thought it was the most amazing thing. At the end of the night, I turned to my mom and told her I was going to be a teacher and was going to go to NAU to do it.”
Clearly, she stuck to her plan.
Audra Gibson is the principal at Bernard Black Elementary School in the Roosevelt School District. The administrator is quick to commend Roberts, an Arizona native, for her efforts and success.
“Ms. Roberts is a tremendous asset to our campus. She is involved in our community and goes above and beyond to support our students. She pioneered Google Classroom for our school and supports our students with extra-curricular activities after school as well,” Gibson explains. “There is not a more positive influence on campus, and it is a pleasure to work with her.”
Yes, you read correctly. Not only does the fourth-grade teacher work all day with her students, but also, she coaches dance and cheer at the school. Off-campus, she finds time to volunteer in various capacities at her church.
How does she do it all?
“I have to use my time wisely,” she explains. She uses Saturdays to plan her day in blocks.
"Maybe I’m going to choreograph a dance, write new cheers, or lesson plan for my class. Whatever it is, I have to set out specific amounts of time and dedicate it to certain tasks. The key is sticking with it,” Roberts admits.
Another attribute that prompts success is her willingness to learn.
“I’m open to experiencing new strategies and I’m not stuck in a certain path or way of teaching. Yes, I’ve been exposed to new techniques because I’m just out of school, but I’m also able to absorb and share information. With the changes in education, you have to be willing to change and evolve,” she says.
As for what’s forthcoming, she says she will remain committed to students.
“I love the kids I work with. I don’t know if I would have the same relationships in other districts,” she explains. “These kids have very challenging lives outside of school, so when they are here, I can be a constant for them. They’re able to get comfortable in my classroom, and I love watching their progress throughout the year.”
The future aside, one thing is clear. Roberts proves young educators can make a difference — age is just a number.
Roberts shares her tips for educators, both new and seasoned.
“Make sure you go into the profession for the right reason — the kids. Don’t do it just to have a job. Teaching is so much work, and it’s the best, but it’s not something you just do.”
“Be open to what’s up and coming. Work with new teachers and share what you know with them, and vice versa. Young teachers do care about what you used to do and about how things have changed. It’s all information that will make each professional a better teacher.”
Struggling with time management?
“You have to have a plan. Set a time limit for certain tasks, but also reserve time for ‘not doing work’ too.”