SAN ANTONIO — Olivia Robinson recalls how her childhood experiences shaped her life. The English Language Arts teacher wants the same for her students.
“I just want them to remember how I treated them,” Robinson said. “How I respected them in my classroom.”
Robinson has worked with children since her days as an undergrad at Sam Houston State. It carried over into nonprofit work with kids. Then, she moved into the classroom even though law enforcement careers run in her family.
She taught 6th grade career portals at Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering before moving to Leal Middle School in the Harlandale Independent school system.
Now, 7th graders come to her class for reading and writing. By her admission she is not an intense English teacher.
“I try to make class as fun and as interesting as possible,” Robinson said.
Her students embraced her ‘chill’ teaching approach.
“She’s an amazing teacher,” Rene Casillas said. “She’s just wonderful.”
Student Sophia Munoz said Robinson is her favorite teacher.
“She’s really like chill and she knows how to make conversation with the kids to make it more fun and easy to talk to.”
Robinson believes it all comes from her rearing. She said her parents exposed her to things. In turn, she wants to share that with her students because it brings value to their lives. That’s why creating a classroom experience is important.
She ties that to a quote from the late Dr. Maya Angelou.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Angelou said.
According to Robinson, she makes the learning experience relatable by giving her students a voice in what they want to learn.
“We asked them what do you all want to read about?” She said.
The game Fortnite and how to overcome bullies are two subjects. Students also want to tackle issues in their community like stray dogs. Robinson assists the students in writing letter to municipal leaders.
Like any classroom the Harlandale educator’s comes with rules. One of the most important is standard in her teaching space.
“My stepdad---he passed away a couple of years ago,” Robinson said. “And the one thing that he always told me or asked me after taking a test---even if I didn’t do well. Olivia did you do your very best?”