6th Grade Science teacher shares joys, challenges of position plus advice for fellow parents
Oakridge Middle School’s 6th Grade Science teacher Robin Deyton was recently recognized as the Clover School District 2017/2018 Teacher of the Year. Robin has been officially teaching for just five years, but her involvement with the school district began almost twenty years ago – as a parent.
In 1999 Robin’s two daughters were Pre-K and 1st Grade students. Robin wanted to be involved with their school. She served as PTA President, substitute teacher and eventually as an assistant teacher. Robin recalls the moment she decided to pursue teaching full-time. It remains one of her favorite memories.
“When my oldest daughter was in the second grade, I was so frustrated that she would not speak up for herself. It wasn’t until her teacher, Lisa Dissington, kindly told me, ‘Robin, it isn’t easy for her,’ that I realized my daughter was having a hard time. Not only did Lisa teach my daughter, she also taught me how to be a better mother. I realized teachers are there to help parents as well as students. From that moment on, I wanted to be a teacher.”
Once her daughters were older and more self sufficient, Robin decided to go back to school and pursue a degree in education. She wanted a classroom of her own.
In 2005 Robin enrolled in classes at Winthrop University. By 2009 she had earned a Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Education with concentrations in Science and Language Arts. While waiting for a suitable position to open in Clover School District, Robin worked as a long term substitute and also in an assistant role teaching computer classes.
Years of hard work and patience paid off. Robin loves teaching 6th Grade Science at Oakridge Middle School and describes the excitement and challenges involved.
“I love Science. More than that, I love teaching middle school kids about the wonders of their world! I think one of the biggest challenges in education is keeping kids interested in learning. Often kids come to me and feel no ownership of their learning. Helping kids realize the value of an education is not always easy.”
Robin’s daughters graduated from Clover High School several years ago. Both were academically successful and involved in extracurricular activities throughout high school and then college. For parents, grandparents and care givers curious about how they can help their child or student excel in the classroom, Robin offers the following advice:
“One of the hardest things: I think the hardest thing as a parent, at least it was for me, was learning to let my daughters be responsible for their actions. I saved my daughters so many times, and it wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized students need to be held accountable for their actions. There was no need to save them by rushing to bring an item to school every time they ‘forget’ something at home. I realized children are resilient, and learning to be responsible helps them to become independent learners and productive, considerate citizens.”
“One of the easiest things: Make sure kids get sleep. And don’t be afraid to limit technology. Dr. James Dobson says, ‘What you teach a child to do in moderation, they will do in excess.’ Parents have to set limits because most kids don’t have the maturity to do so.”
For Robin, the greatest joy of teaching is discovering that a former student was empowered or encouraged by her efforts in the classroom.
“I have learned that sometimes you never know when you are making a difference, and the smallest act of kindness might be just what someone needs to brighten their day.”
The parent of a former student recently emailed Robin:
“My son had you in 6th grade. If you remember him, he was disorganized and was not always trying his best in class. When I heard that you had won teacher of the year, I was very excited. You were such a gentle, positive teacher for him to have that year. You were the teacher that he felt the most comfortable with and would ask for help. You took extra time with him and gave him more second chances than he probably deserved. It is wonderful to know that our district is recognizing teachers like you. You were one of his favorite teachers at Oakridge and he still talks about you. (He is in high school now!) You have such compassion for your students, and I cannot think of a more deserving teacher than you to get this award. Congratulations!”
Congratulations to Robin Deyton, Clover School District 2017/2018 Teacher of the Year!
In addition to teaching 6th Grade Science, Robin Deyton is also Gifted and Talented Certified and a Certified Apple Teacher. She is certified to teach both Science and Language Arts in Grades 5 – 8. Robin has served as PTA President of Crowders Creek Elementary and School Improvement Council Chairman at Clover Junior High School. Prior to teaching 6th Grade Science, Robin taught a middle school computer class for three years and created a curriculum based on SC Computer Science Standards focusing on internet safety, online etiquette and academic topics such as search engines and website validity. Robin’s long term substitute positions included 7th Grade Language Arts, 8th Grade SC History and 8th Grade Science.