Teacher of the Year
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” That quotation from the Chinese philosopher Confucius adorns the email signature line of our featured alumna, Robin Hilton. Originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Robin received her BSE in Elementary Education from Henderson State University and her MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where she did her concentration in History. Robin is currently an eighth grade American History teacher at Texas Middle School in Texarkana, a mentor teacher for new staff, as well as a cooperating teacher for student teachers from TAMUT.
Robin recently was named the Secondary Education Teacher of the Year for Region Eight, a region covering forty-seven school districts in northeast Texas. She beat out competition at the campus, district, and regional levels, and is now one of twenty nominees vying for the title of Secondary Education State of Texas Teacher of Year. The winner is advanced to the national teacher of the year competition held in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the competition, Robin wrote several essays on her teaching philosophy, her approach to training future teachers, the biggest problems facing schools, and the value of community service.
We recently sat down with Robin to talk about this honor and how her time studying history at A&M-Texarkana has shaped her career.
Q. What does this recognition mean to you?
A. “I see great importance in being a spokesperson for the region, the district, the university, the community and for studying history.”
Q. What skills/knowledge do you gain from studying history?
A. “Studying history means being able to engage with sources and focus on what they are truly saying. Studying history teaches the ability to synthesize information and to cut through the jargon.”
“Studying history also helps you be able to connect with people. You have to find ways to take information so people understand what you’re saying. It teaches interpersonal communication skills. You have to be able to annotate effectively and write clearly.”
Q. What are the best reasons for students to study history?
A. “You’ve got to know where you come from; it is important to remember the sacrifices those before us made so we can get where we are now. It is sad the lack of knowledge people have about history, and how that makes people easily swayed. There is a lot of misinformation out there and studying history can protect you against that.”
“The skills I got in the graduate History courses from TAMUT I use to a great extent in my classes. Through building relationships, fostering critical thinking and lifelong learning skills, I believe I am successful in preparing my students to love learning on a daily basis and function effectively in society.”
Q. Why do you love teaching history?
A. “My goal as an American History teacher is to foster critical thinking and lifelong learning skills to prepare my students to love learning and function effectively in society for the rest of their lives. Through skits, role-play, songs, cheers, projects, field trips and analysis of primary and secondary sources, I am able to present the story of America to my students in a way that it becomes real.”
“Each of us has a story to tell. We share pictures of family members, places we visit, and things that have meaning to us with others almost daily. We do not just show the pictures, we tell the story, describe who is in the pictures, where they were, and what was going on when the picture was taken or other details to make the story memorable. Teaching history is the same. Instead of my own family, I share the documents, pictures, and events of the United States of America in a way that it becomes personal to my students.”
Robin’s passion for history and for students comes across clearly in any interaction with her; the students at Texas Middle School are enriched for having her as their teacher.
If you are interested in studying History at A&M-Texarkana, reach out to us at [email protected] or 903-223-3136.