Robin Thacker, a fifth-grade teacher at Homestead Elementary School in Carrollton, was recently named Lewisville ISD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. Below Thacker talks about her career in the classroom and how she likes to unwind.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Carrollton and graduated from R.L. Turner High School before attending Oklahoma Baptist University.
How long have you been a teacher?
I will begin my 24th year of teaching in the fall.
Teacher of the Year is a big honor. What makes you an effective teacher?
I feel that building relationships with students and their families is the most important thing I do as a teacher. I believe this helps me to be more effective in delivering content to my students, because they feel safe with me and know that I see them and know them as people, rather than just students sitting in my classroom. When a student knows you care, they are much more ready to learn and grow.
Do you have a technique that you have found students really respond to?
I often tell personal stories and relate what I’m teaching to my own personal life. The students in my class get to know me, my husband and my son through the things I share. That makes the academics I’m teaching come to life and seem more relevant to my students. Letting students know I’m a human with a story and mistakes of my own allows them to open themselves up to me in very real ways.
What word would your students use to describe you?
Funny or real
What are your future career aspirations?
I am a little torn on what I want to do with my years left in education. Being with the kids is exactly where I want to be, and I miss it when I’m not with them. However, I also truly enjoy providing professional development for teachers. I wish I could spend more time with educators who are wanting to grow in their craft. Teaching teachers is a passion of mine, as well. I suppose only time will tell where I will finish out my career in the long term.
What kind of student were you when you were younger?
I was a very difficult student. I suppose this is why I relate to my students who are struggling in very real ways.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I feel that drawing a healthy line between doing my job as a teacher well and making family a priority is very important. I spend my down time playing games with my family, watching my son play basketball, going for long walks with good friends and being involved in our church. It’s the time away from my classroom and my students that makes me more effective on the stressful days.
What is something your students would be surprised to know about you?
I’m not sure there’s much about me that would surprise them. However, it might be interesting to know that I’m terrified of birds. I’m not kidding. Birds are honestly a huge fear of mine (even though I know it’s ridiculous).
What’s your favorite TV show?
I watch mostly sports, honestly. Basketball, football and baseball are my favorites to watch, but I enjoy everything. I am very much looking forward to watching the Olympics this year with my family.
What three famous people would you like to meet?
I would like to meet and have conversations with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dallas Mavericks player Boban Marjanović.