‘Teacher of the Week’ combines enthusiasm and technology to help students achieve in math

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BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County teacher who is known for his enthusiasm and use of technology is helping students overcome challenges to learning and comprehension of math.

Having taught 14 years, Justin Robinson is the Math Interventionist at Malpass Corner Elementary School in Burgaw.

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It’s a role that allows him to work one-on-one or in small group settings with students at this Title I school who may need additional instruction in math to stay on grade level with children their age.

One thing Robinson does to engage students is using a smart board and he also incorporates students’ pictures in the math problems they’re solving.

“They love when I flip the screen and they see a picture up there or they’re making a goofy face or they’re doing something silly, it just gets their eyes focused on what I want them to be looking at so that’s a great start to teaching them what I want them to learn,” Robinson said.



Someone who noted his passion for teaching nominated Robinson for WWAY’s ‘Teacher of the Week,‘ sponsored by Wilmington Granite.

Ironically, Robinson never really imagined a career in education until he had to write a paper in college.

“I wrote about all my former teachers,” he said.

Robinson says his first-grade teacher, Jane Timmons, made one of the biggest impressions on him as a child.

“The impact she had on me as a 5-year-old, that spoke to me and made me realize I can make an impact on 5 and 6 year olds that can resonate with them, they’re going to remember and it’s going to be a positive thing,” he said.

In addition to incorporating technology in his classroom, Robinson also encourages students to use their hands, snap their fingers or place their hands over their head to demonstrate comprehension of math concepts discussed in class. With just a glance across the room, he know who understands and who needs additional help.

“The children love Mr. Robinson,” said Avery Ellington who serves as the school’s principal. “He is closing gaps and doing what’s best for children.”

The techniques he’s using in class for academic achievement is getting other people’s attention.

“The district has recognized this and has invited him to be part of the district’s level multi-tiered level of support team,” Ellington said. “So he is now studying and learning with them and providing professional development for teachers around the district.”

“I want to spread what I use that works to help other teachers,” Robinson said. “If it makes their kids enjoy coming to school a little more, that’s a win for me.”

Not only a win for Robinson but an even bigger win for students at this rural school.

“He’s always giving high fives, pats on the back and just has unique techniques in the classroom to keep kids engaged,” Ellington said. “They love it and they are engaged.”

While others may long for the weekends and time away from work, Robinson says nothing compares to Monday mornings and the opportunity head back to class to teach.

“I love being in school, I love being at work because I genuinely get to smile and laugh every day at work and I don’t know how many people get to do that, but I do, and nothing beats that for me,” he said.

As the 2019-2020 academic year winds down, WWAY has featured 18 exceptional teachers across the Cape Fear since November. Click here if you would like to nominate a teacher for WWAY’s ‘Teacher of the Week’ sponsored by Wilmington Granite.