Meet City Schools

  • Erika Robinson September 2017

    Erika Robinson

    I serve as the literacy lead and site-based mentor at Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School. I am also a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, School Family Council, Family Community Engagement committee, and Culture and Climate committee, and I'm the literacy lab internal coach. I served as a facilitator for the Mentor Academy in 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as a Project Cycle Video coach specialist.

    I am a proud graduate of...Western High School, class of 1995.  From there, I went on to Coppin State University to earn a B.S. in psychology and then the Johns Hopkins University, where I received a certificate in K-8 math leadership.

    I’ve been with City Schools since...2000. I am also a product of City Schools, from pre-k to the 12th grade.

    Before I joined City Schools, I…worked at Kennedy Krieger Institute as a behavioral data specialist on the feeding unit. I was a part of a team of people that created treatment plans for young children with feeding disorders.

    If I could have a cup of coffee with any of my former teachers or mentors, it would be Julie Kelber. Before I graduated from Coppin, I completed educational learning hours in her 3rd-grade classroom, and I was so impressed with her teaching style. Two years later, I became a 4th-grade teacher at Brehms Lane, where Ms. Kelber was the instructional support teacher. She co-taught with me, demonstrated lessons, planned with me, and taught me how to be an effective teacher as well as effective mentor/coach. Ms. Kelber continues to share her gift in City Schools, so if she's reading this, “I owe you a cup of coffee, Ms. Kelber!”

    My favorite book is...Where the Wild Things Are. My 2nd-grade librarian from Commodore John Rodgers Elementary really brought that book to life for me.

    My favorite movie is...Coming to America. I pretty much know all the words.

    One thing that many people may not know about my role is...although I sometimes serve in a capacity that straddles the fence of "quasi-administrator" (as a former principal once described it), I am always, and will forever be, a teacher at heart and will support the efforts of the outstanding teachers I mentor/coach. 

    When I was younger, I wanted to engineer or a pastor. I never thought about teaching even though I did a lot of volunteer work with children as a teenager. However, it was a path I was destined to follow.

    The hardest thing about the mentorship role is…dealing with the rough days when teachers want to quit, feel under-appreciated, or their emotions get the best of them. I make sure I reassure them that they are not alone. If they need help, I support them. If they need a listening ear, then I am there. If they are unhappy with the results of an observation, then we will work through it, one teaching action at a time. I send positive emails, notes, words of encouragement, and even a simple smile with a "Good morning."  Through it all, I remain professional, stay the course, continue to be an advocate in their corner, and remind new teachers that without them, the work is not possible. We all had a challenging start in one way or another.

    I believe that one of the best ways to help teachers reach their potential is…to have them reflect on their practice. It might sound so obvious, but when you truly reflect on a lesson, a strategy, or an interaction with a parent/student/coworker, you can usually identify the positives and negatives for yourself. Then you can apply your next steps for correction or continued success.

    My favorite fictional example of an ideal mentor-mentee relationship is...the characters in The Karate Kid (the 2010 version), because that movie shows a perfect example of determination, will, trust, teamwork, and even relationship building. These are all qualities that are necessary in any successful mentor-mentee relationship.