Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Andrea Roberts. Mrs. Roberts just finished her second year using The Walking Classroom with students at Pottstown Middle School in Pennsylvania. She has worked in education for sixteen years since graduating from college. Ms. Roberts originally taught middle school social studies and has recently shifted to the role of school librarian.
What are your memories of yourself when you were the age of your students?
I remember really wanting to find my place in middle school — I tried everything from clubs, to music, and sports. I’m glad I tried things that were outside of my comfort zone.
What led you to become an educator?
I was always interested in people and community — I am interested in learning about people — and I wanted to make sure I could tell their stories. I went to college for history and graduated with a degree in education.
Share your educational philosophy in one to three sentences.
I believe that education is about trying things, failing, and making corrections in a safe environment. I think it is important to have leaders in a school that guide learning and allow students to find their path and way of showing what they have learned through projects. Educational leadership is more about honor and providing opportunities for students.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
I absolutely loved the first part of my career as a social studies teacher. I recently transitioned to school librarian because I wanted to be able to reach more students and make opportunities available to not only my students but to my colleagues as well.
How have you incorporated The Walking Classroom into your teaching?
I use The Walking Classroom in a variety of ways. For classroom teachers, I connect the walks with their content. For students, I use The Walking Classroom as an example of podcasting to show examples of speaking, interviewing, and listening. I have used The Walking Classroom with adapted classes and ESL classes to build skills and increase community in our school. I have used the walking classroom with both small groups and large classes.
How has The Walking Classroom made a difference in your classroom?
The Walking Classroom is a tool that helps build community in our school. It expands what students are doing in the classroom and literally takes them beyond the walls and outside. They are connecting what they are doing inside of the building while having a chance to get fresh air, really listen, and then come back together to discuss.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory, and why?
My favorite memories are at the beginning of any new transition. When we first received The Walking Classroom, my students were so excited to be going outside and have something to try for the first time. It gave those students who are normally really quiet, a chance to participate in a different way. Another huge highlight was introducing The Walking Classroom to our hybrid schedule during COVID — students were able to MOVE and get away from their screen. You could see smiles even if they were wearing masks.
What is your best teaching memory?
There honestly have been so many. I have taught in the same building for sixteen years, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. As an educator, I am supported and my students are absolutely the best!
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Ask for help — know that you are not in this alone. Your colleagues are you best resource for support and help; there will never be a struggle that you are going through that someone can’t relate to and offer support.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy traveling and hiking — I absolutely love cooking and being with my family.
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
I would really like to meet Jason Reynolds. He is one of my favorite authors.