Congratulations to Robyn Verba, who has received the 2021 UNC Greensboro Student Teacher of the Year Award! Robyn graduated in 2021 with a degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from the Teacher Education and Higher Education (TEHE) Department, and she completed her student teaching this Spring at East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, NC.
Robyn’s story about what made her choose a career in teaching is remarkable and inspirational — she and her sister were the first in their family to graduate from college. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, Robyn immediately started working, and spent the last twelve years waiting tables and bartending. She says that she took a sociology course at a community college on a whim.
“The class ended up forever changing the way that I see and interact with the world around me,” she said. “As a sociology major, I learned that the concurrent study of history is vital to making sense of present-day society. I understand the personal and social impact that these fields of study can have when taught by passionate teachers, and I want to be exactly that for these next generations.”
Robyn is proud of her non-traditional path to education, because she feels it is time to move forward and away from traditional approaches. “I will be a teacher for those that are college-bound, and those that are unsure. I will empathize with my students that finish assignments late at night after working long shifts, and those navigating a home life that has been molded by working class struggles.”
Robyn enrolled at UNCG because she was looking for an educational experience that was financially attainable, and close enough to where she lived and worked in Winston-Salem — considering she was a financially independent, first generation college student. It turned out to be a perfect fit.
“I have loved every semester at UNCG, and feel greatly indebted to the talented and passionate professors that I have been fortunate enough to have had along the way,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience at this school for any other in the world.”
When asked about her favorite memory from student teaching, Robyn shared, “I would have to say that every time I heard a new voice enter into the classroom discussion as the semester went on always felt like such a win. I have had as much to learn from my students as they did from me, and I loved when I could tell they felt confident and safe to share different perspectives and thoughts. It was always such a proud moment for me.”
Robyn will now represent UNC Greensboro at the NC-ACTE North Carolina Student Teacher of the Year competition for the entire state. She has accepted a job offer to teach social studies at Polk County High School for this Fall in the Asheville, NC area where she will be moving in the near future. We wish her the best of luck!