DCSS Teacher of the Year Finalist: Dorcas Robinson

Dorcas Robinson is the Teacher of the Year for Turner Elementary School.

Turner Elementary School students see the flower on the door every time they walk into Dorcas Robinson's math class, and just like that flower, Robinson wants to see her students bloom.

"I don't distinguish or point out small growth, little growth, big growth," she said. "We all are growing, and that's what it's all about."

For Robinson, third grade math isn't just a job. She calls it a passion.

"I love math," she said. "I always loved math as a child, so to be able to teach math and give back to students, what I really love, it's like breathtaking."

But math isn't something that every student understands right away, and in her class, that's fine.

"The most challenging part is to step back and let the child just make the errors, and once they make the errors, they go back and let them go back and find their error, and they are able to find their error and just keep pushing," Robinson said.

Robinson said that struggle makes it even more worthwhile for her as a teacher when the light bulb finally does come on for her third graders.

"The 'a ha' moment when they brighten their eyes, or when they say, 'Ms. Robinson, I remember when you told us this, and this is the strategy that works best for me because I try to teach things in at least three or more ways," she said.

Just ask Turner fourth grader Paichence Graham, who learned from Robinson last year.

"On the first day of school, she asked the class who liked math, and I didn't raise my hand," Graham said. "And she made a promise to me that by the end of the year, I will like math and get the hang of it. And she kept that promise by teaching me strategies and pushing me to do my best."

Robinson said she tries to find engaging ways to teach, including class-wide cheers and using cookies to learn about fractions.

But having a teacher as passionate as she is doesn't hurt either.

"Third grade math is, oh my gosh, phenomenal," Robinson said. "It is awesome."

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