Teachers of the Year: Robert Hirsch

Second Grade Teacher at Bells Mill Elementary School in Potomac, MD

Nominated by: Shannon Z.

“Bobby regularly goes above and beyond expectations. He imbues every lesson with humor. There is often laughter emanating from his classroom. He is kind and patient with his students and has an excellent rapport with them. He understands the students’ different learning styles and adjusts instruction accordingly.

Bobby creatively enriches the curriculum and keeps students’ engaged in learning. He provides health time to ensure students get adequate amounts of exercise during the week. His behavior management techniques create a respectful learning environment. Bobby deserves to be recognized for his effort, dedication and talent.”

“Children would much rather have your presence than your presents.”

Q&A with Robert Hirsch

Why do you think teachers are important?

Teachers are incredibly important in developing children. Not only are teachers teaching students how to be critical and creative thinkers, but they’re also teaching the students vital socio-emotional skills. If students can think critically and creatively, get along with their peers, learn to be adaptable and resilient and have a growth mindset to learn other “soft skills,” students will be prepared for whatever pathway in life they choose.

Do you have any tried and trusted ideas or activities for motivating students?

It’s essential for teachers to have positive and trusting relationships with their students. Once I’ve established a positive and trusting relationship, and they’ve bought into me, they can buy into the content I’m going to teach them.

What is the single best piece of advice you can give parents of second-graders?

Children would much rather have your presence than your presents.

What’s your funniest teaching moment?

The funniest moment in my classroom was when I told the students to “sit tight,” and one my students literally folded into his seat.

What makes you excited to go into your school each day?

Working with the children. I’m fortunate to have spent my entire teaching career working at Bells Mill and have formed wonderful relationships with students, parents and staff members. Ironically, I too attended Bells Mill as a student and my parents still live in the Bells Mill community. I get a great kick out of seeing Bells Mill students running and playing outside whenever I go to my parents’ house.  

What advice would you give to aspiring teachers?

If you are considering teaching at the elementary school level, you need to be passionate about working with children, more so than being passionate about a specific content area. You need to want to improve children’s lives on a daily basis and genuinely care about their well-being. They are children first, students second.

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