Silver Chips Online

Hopkins, Robert

By
March 27, 2003
by Charlie Woo

Robert Hopkins
Subjects: Freshman Tech Ed, Senior Engineering
Education: Gaithersburg High School Graduate, undergraduate from Catholic University, Masters from Johns Hopkins.
Came to Blair in 1982.
Hobbies: Gardening, being outdoors.
Extracurricular activities: Student Service Learning, Internship, Career and Technology Department.

With his grey hair combed back neatly and beads of sweat glistening on his forehead, technology education and engineering teacher Robert Hopkins maintains a serious facial expression even when taking a break from a busy day at Montgomery Blair High School.

Hopkins, with over twenty years experience as a teacher, feels that he has "never left high school" himself. Though he explains that his own high school years were "dismal," he feels that being a teacher is his own way of rebellion against the institution that brought him down. "I immensely disliked high school, and I think learning should be fun, since it wasn't for me. I want to change the system!", Hopkins said as a smile formed on his face.

A Montgomery Country resident since birth, Hopkins has grown accustomed to the conditions and regulations of high schools in this area. As a graduate of Gaithersburg High School and a teacher of twenty years at Blair, he is able to identify how high schools have changed over the years. "There is a definite curriculum difference. Itís more rigorous, and nowadays, there are AP classes, unlike back then," he explained with a hint of nostalgia.

Hopkins views peer pressure as a problem in high schools, despite the time period. "There are more social pressures now, but it has always been there. Peer pressure has always been an issue," Hopkins says.

Oval-shaped, red imprints from a stressful day at work appear on Hopkins' nose as he pulls off his glasses. Each day, Hopkins teaches technology education to freshmen and engineering to seniors. Though he is kept busy during the school day, Hopkins is still responsible for keeping the Student Service Learning, Internship, and Career & Technology Department running after the regular school day comes to an end.

All of this stress is not in vain. Hopkins has recognized that in teaching, he strives to motivate student to learn. He explained that the most difficult part of reaching this goal is "trying to identify what is preventing a student from being motivated." He feels that "everyone is so different!"

When not sitting at his desk at school, Hopkins is a man of the great outdoors. He finds pleasure in gardening, hiking, and "basically anything that takes place outside," Hopkins said. "I love it out there, and I figure I need to keep myself busy," he said.

Hopkins comes to school every day looking for new methods to inspire students and make their high school experiences more worthwhile than it was for him. Life as a teacher may not be the simplest task, but Hopkins keeps a straight face and toughs it out. This attitude could be what his students crave in order to have a better future.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/1687