March 14, 2015 by Tim Knudsen ·
Social studies teacher gives hope for a better future for students.
Students who have been around the social studies department this year have likely talked to or seen the new teacher Shawn Roberts. Although this is his first year teaching, students who have been around for multiple years may remember seeing Roberts before. Last year, Roberts spent a good portion of the fall semester student teaching alongside social studies master, Jon Poole. Roberts said that Poole gave him advice, but also a large amount of freedom. “He basically gave me the keys and told me he would see me in December,” said Roberts on working alongside Poole. “He had advice, but let me be independent.”
The preceding year Roberts student taught for Kimberly Holtmann, who formerly taught World History at TJ. “Holtmann’s class was the very first time I ever stood up in front of teenagers and talked in a classroom setting,” said Roberts. Today, Roberts is teaching his own classes, World History and US History. “Teaching on your own is different because there is nobody to support you,” Roberts stated.
Long before Roberts decided that he would like to teach, he had a career in advertising. “I spent 10 years working at an advertising agency, making bad commercials,” Roberts explained. During this time he wrote, directed, and produced TV, radio and internet commercials.
Roberts received his advertising degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a full ride soccer scholarship. Back in high school, Roberts’ soccer talent almost sent him to the major leagues before a career-ending injury during his freshman year in college.
In high school, aside from his soccer success, Roberts also met his wife and toured with a band as their drummer. In 1998, the band took a two week tour throughout the Southwestern states. Today, the long hair of heavy metal rock drummer Roberts is long gone, but his high school sweetheart is still faithfully by his side. Mrs. Roberts is a chemical engineer and has a very complicated job at Xcel Energy, where she works as a natural gas strategy consultant.
After ten years in advertising, Roberts decided that he could make a serious impact on the world by educating the future generation. “I hope to create citizens who are capable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves and others,” said Roberts. After completing his teaching education at Metro State University, Roberts was offered a job at TJ. Roberts says that he chose to work at TJ because he enjoyed both of his experiences being a student teacher here and found that he really liked the kids, staff, location, and especially the mission of the school.
Although his drive to be a teacher came from the hope of a better future and creating better adults, Roberts decided that if he was to be a teacher, then he would teach history. “I have a bachelor’s degree in history and did much of my elective credit work in medieval European history. This time period is when we start to see a lot of historical patterns really start to take shape so it is interesting to me to see the common history of all humans around the world.” He knows an incredible amount about history, and wanted to share his knowledge with as many people as he could. Roberts favorite time period is the 17th through the 19th century, because of all the exploration and colonization of the world that was going on at this time. After considering his options for a teaching career, Roberts finally chose to major in world history, because of how history can repeat itself, and all of the lessons that can be learned about the future simply by looking back to history. “I find all of the stories and historical patterns fascinating,” said Roberts.
In his limited free time, Roberts has a variety of hobbies and interests. Roberts continues to play soccer, meeting up with old colleagues to play indoors. During the warmer months, Roberts likes to spend his time hiking and biking. During the school year, he usually spends the weekends grading students’ work, or planning for his classes, but given the choice would spend this time playing video games and watching movies with his wife.
It is a well known fact that Roberts is an avid video game player, and in fact he has just recently sponsored the TJHS Super Smash Club. This club meets after school every Thursday, and has nearly 50 members, all supervised by Roberts. “Mr. Roberts is really a great support for the Smash Club, and he is a very engaging teacher,” said senior Alex Villescas, one of the head members of the Smash Club, “It is really exciting to see him move from student teaching here to being an actual teacher.”
“Roberts is a kind, reasonable man who is not afraid to be stern, and equally as fearless for going with the flow,” said senior Marcos Descalzi. “He is a lovely teacher, host, and friend.” Roberts is one of several new teachers this year, and with his combined passion and enthusiasm for history and education, he will hopefully be a teacher at TJ for years to come.
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