Elementary Education: Lauren Robertson
Since childhood, Lauren Robertson always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She was one of those kids who used to force her siblings to play school with her, making them sit down and listen to her lessons. So when she arrived at Wake Forest four years ago, there was no doubt as to what she would study — what she didn’t know was how many opportunities being an Elementary Education major would offer her.
After graduation, Robertson will be teaching English at an elementary school in the Canary Islands in Spain as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grantee.
Outside the classroom, Robertson serves as the secretary for Wake Women Lead, an organization dedicated to connecting Wake Forest women with at-risk youth in Winston-Salem through tutoring and mentoring relationships.
Robertson is also the lead intern for the Skip Prosser program, a project that promotes literacy in fourth-grade students in the Forsyth County and encourages them to read independently. This project is spearheaded by Associate Professor of English Education Dr. Alan Brown and has become the umbrella project for many literacy programs that involve Wake Forest undergraduates. Brown’s scholarship is predominantly centered around sports literacy, the idea of increasing students’ interest in reading through sports-related literature. Robertson has spent the past two years doing research with Brown on sports literacy; she will also be leading an after-school sports literacy program in Spain.
Brown has enjoyed working alongside Robertson and speaks very highly of her.
“Lauren is an ambitious, dedicated, organized and hard-working student,” Brown said. “Those descriptive characteristics made her perfect for this position and helped us take the Skip Prosser Literacy Program to new heights despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, forever cementing her legacy at Wake Forest.”
Last semester, Robertson was a full-time student teacher in a fifth-grade classroom at Sherwood Forest Elementary School. This was quite an adjustment for her, as she was working a full-time job while the rest of her friends were having a normal college experience.
She added: “The first few weeks were spent getting acquainted and spending a lot of time in classrooms. But then on week three, you take over teaching a subject, and I was like ‘oh my gosh, what am I doing?’ It felt very ‘real world.’”
One of her favorite memories from her student teaching semester was her last day, not because she was ready to leave but because her students gave her a special send-off celebration. The students decorated the classroom in Wake Forest colors and gifted her their favorite book to add to her future classroom library. They also gave her a scrapbook full of their favorite memories of the year.
“It was a really special day,” Robertson said. “Obviously, [student teaching] is very time-consuming. . . but overall it was so worthwhile, and I learned a ton by just being [in the classroom].”
Teaching fifth grade was especially meaningful for Robertson because her fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Hossler, had a significant impact on her and inspired her love for education and English.
“He treated you not just like a student, but like a person,” said Robertson.
After her year in Spain, she will be attending Vanderbilt University to get her Master’s in Education. She plans to teach for five to 10 years and then would like to pursue a career in educational leadership and administration.