Alex Robins, a new history teacher here at Terra Linda, greeted me with an impressively strong handshake, leaving me slightly self-concious of my own. Besides his firm handshake, the first thing I noticed about Robins was the assortment of tattoos he proudly displays on his arms, which is so different from the stereotypical teacher. He is proud of each tattoo, and each is personal, representing different pieces of his character. He states that his “physical appearance doesn’t affect [his] skills as a teacher. If someone has a problem with them [tattoos], then they are welcome to tell me and I will be happy to explain their significance.” It is important to hold onto individuality, which Robins clearly does.
During his high school years, Robins was not a nerd, but more of a group-hopper who was very involved in ASB and student government. Robins said that he “was the kid who would put on the outfit at rallys and stuff to be silly.” He even won most spirited in his senior year of high school. “I was the kid that became friends with all the attendance ladies, so they would let me get out of school early or come in late. I tried to grease the wheels of the system. I wanted to have the most fun and go to the least amount of classes.” He also developed an interest in music which he continued into college.
Robins graduated college with a history degree from University of Michigan and moved to San Francisco to pursue his music career singing and playing guitar, with the band Or, the Whale. Robins’ band was very successful, and they toured the nation. He got married and decided that he wanted to get a job that would support his future family.
Around the age of 29, he wanted to change his life’s direction. It was around this time that he went out to lunch with David Tow, an English teacher at Terra Linda. Robins says Tow “gave me his two minute spiel about why I should be a teacher, and how much I would dig it.” The day after that lunch Robins found out his wife was pregnant. Hence, the decision to go to graduate school, and later become a student teacher at Terra Linda. Robins went on to teach in San Francisco before coming to Terra Linda as a full time teacher, where he found out that Tow was right. Robins says that “teaching was always a thought in the back of my mind that I always wanted to pursue. It wasn’t forced. It came organically. I love being a teacher. I came into it late so I had the benefit of doing things first and didn’t rush into anything. I didn’t have the top of my career at 24, instead I had fun and was selfish. I did what I wanted to do.”
As a new teacher, Robins loves learning about his students and their perspectives stating, “my favorite thing about teaching is learning. I love when students are honest about anything. One class is filled with different ideas, backgrounds and perspectives.”
When Robins is not in the classroom, he is busy being a dad. His three and a half year old daughter gets most of his free time. “I try to spend as much time with her as possible because I don’t get to see her as much as I would like to.” When he isn’t having daddy-daughter time, you can find Robins staying up-to-date with news and media, and paying special attention to Drake’s new music video memes. “I especially like the one with him and the lightsaber,” he revealed with a laugh.