EDITOR'S NOTE: This story and photo, courtesy of the MHS Mirror newspaper staff, are part of items offered weekly by MHS journalism students for the JG-TC website.
“I just generally love reading writing, and I know that if I let that passion show, then maybe at least a couple of you will latch on to that, and it will help you learn.”
Many teachers throughout the years leave their students with a message they will remember for the rest of their lives. However, there is one teacher at Mattoon High School who has impacted all of her students not only by the lessons she teaches in class, but also by the ones outside of the classroom: English teacher Kaleigh McRoberts.
“She’s really creative. She tries to make English class, which could be a dry subject, pretty fun and entertaining. She also challenges her students to be the best writer that they possibly can,” MHS junior Ryan Taylor said.
Taylor also says that McRoberts excels at her job by ensuring the engagement of all of her students.
“I can see some teachers that I’ve had where their class is pretty cut and dry…they’re just doing what they’re required to do, and she goes beyond that to try to go the extra mile to get her students engaged in the class,” Taylor said.
McRoberts credits the investment to the students in her classes, as well as their various personalities.
“Even though we have a set schedule everyday of stuff that we need to do, having a set dynamic for every class makes things go a little differently, and it changes the conversations that we have and it makes it more fun,” McRoberts said.
The classroom dynamic isn’t the only tool that McRoberts uses to make students more invested in English; she also has a variety of decorations and posters that make unique talking points for students.
“I think most of it is just up because it makes me smile for one reason or another and I know that at least some of these decorations will make other kids smile, or at least I hope so,” McRoberts said.
Although the class itself is full of life, McRoberts has relationships with students outside of the class, which are a major part of the impact.
“I feel like I can talk to her about anything. I don’t feel like a lot of teachers in the school have that quality,” MHS senior Taryn Kracinski said.
Kracinski isn’t the only student who enjoys visiting with McRoberts outside of class. According to Kracinski, students can almost always be found spending time in her room.
“I think there’s a lot of people that really enjoy her company, and I feel like her room is really popular whether you’re in there in the morning or the afternoon,” Kracinski said. “People like her teaching style and her personality. Having a teacher that’s likable and relatable is really important to a lot of people.”
Even though there is always a lesson to be taught and a paper to grade, she never loses the energy and motivation to teach.
“I think for me that comes down to, I just generally love reading and writing, and I know that if I let that passion show, then maybe at least a couple of you will latch on to that, and it will help you learn. I guess the bottom line there is, yes, my students are the primary source of what motivates me, but then the other part of that that kind of extends out of it is just my general love for reading and writing,” McRoberts said.
With all of the time spent with her students, there is one key lesson she wants them to take away from her.
“I think for me the bottom line is as you walk out of the room you say to yourself ‘I can write.’ That’s it,” McRoberts said.