Henrico’s Top Teachers – Louise Robertson
Steward School, English
By now, Louise Robertson is used to the puzzled looks and quizzical responses some people give her upon learning her profession.
"I've had people say, 'You teach middle school? God bless you. How do you do it?'" she said with a laugh.
But for Robertson, now in her 21st year at the Steward School and fourth year as academic dean for the middle school, it's a worthwhile challenge. As a seventh-grade English teacher, she strives to impart traditional standards and philosophies to students who have grown up in a technology-frenzied world. And though technology is a big part of her classroom, she finds that students sometimes gravitate toward old-fashioned favorites.
"The kids can do their reading on an e-reader or hard copy," she said. "But I find that most of the time, they'll sit down with a book."
During an era in which texting, tweeting and e-mailing seemingly have made proper sentence structure and spelling a thing of the past, Robertson makes sure that her students know they have higher expectations in class.
"We're strong on teaching grammar, because it makes for better writers or thinkers," she said. "It's a tool they can take with them. [Students' performances] just depend on how you structure an assignment, what you accept and don't accept. I try to teach them to be good writers."
Robertson has made a tremendous impact on the school during her time as an educator. She was named the recipient of the Paul R. Cramer “Best Faculty Award” last year, a tribute to her dedication in her various roles.
"In the classroom, this teacher challenges and cares, discovers and shapes, inspires and requires," said Ken Seward, headmaster of The Steward School. "While honoring Steward's past, this individual looks to the future and initiates and supports changes to ensure that the School continues to meet its mission in a changing world."
Though she embraces advancements in education, Robertson's underlying philosophies as a teacher have an old-school feel.
"My standards come from the '60s and '70s, but those core values shouldn't change," she said. "I don’t pride myself on being their friend. I pride myself on making sure they know I'm fair. It's important that students see someone they can respect. You can get their attention that way."
Recently, she recalled a former student who had expressed a particular fondness for a specific book when he was in her class. When she got an illustrated copy of it this past Christmas, she contacted him to let him know.
"He came down to my office within an hour, and we sat and talked about it," she said. "I hadn't had him in class in five or six years."
Helping students understand how their English skills can open doors for them or help them find their passions in life make each day a rewarding one for Robertson.
"What you look for, particularly with seventh-graders, is that teachable moment," she said. "You try to make that real world connection with them. It's the age that I love."
The Varina Ruritan Club celebrated its 80th anniversary with a banquet Nov. 10, during which it presented several annual awards, including Policeman of the Year – to Henrico Officer Aaron M. Lancaster (top) – and Firefighter of the Year – to Julian T. Lipscomb (second from top).
The club also received a plaque from the Henrico Division of Fire (third from top) expressing the division's appreciation for the club and its support of fire prevention programs. > Read more.
The grand opening of The Rink outdoor ice skating rink at West Broad Village will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, beginning at 11 a.m. with skating and family activities. At 4 p.m., grand opening festivities – featuring exhibitions of ice sculpting, ice skating and cheering, as well as fire pits, costumed characters, and food vendors – will begin. Skating costs are $8 for children and $10 for adults, with $4 skate rentals available. Parking is free. The Rink is located at 3939 Duckling Drive, Glen Allen. For details, visit http://www.Facebook.com/TheRinkWBV > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
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CalendarJoin the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association for a social and presentation by Dr. James “Bud” Robertson at 6 p.m. at Dominion Innsbrook Technical Center. The “Writing… Full text