TOTM: Robert Bolin


Photo by Vicky Gunawan.

By Vicky Gunawan, Observations Editor

Not every teacher can say that they knew their calling from a young age. However, English teacher Robert Bolin can.
As a member of the CHS bridge department, Bolin teaches English to both freshmen and sophomores. Before coming to CHS, Bolin taught at the Chelsea School for students with language-based learning differences for 11 years. He spent nine of those years teaching English 12 and the other two as a careers and college counselor.
“As a senior in high school, I spent a semester at an elementary school in the Bronx, where I got some classroom experience and realized that this was a career I wanted to pursue,” Bolin said.
Coming from a home of two parents who were teachers, Bolin was able to experience a different approach to his career by learning it through the lens of his parents.
“I had initially intended to become a professor, but in graduate school I realized I enjoyed the teaching part of the job much more than any other,” Bolin said. “I found myself gravitating toward the students who wanted to improve their writing but needed help.”
Not only is Bolin passionate about his career, but he is also extremely knowledgeable about a variety of topics. He uses that knowledge in the classroom and shares it with his students.
“It is clear that he loves teaching and has an impact on students because everyday students come into our classroom saying ‘this class is the highlight of my day,’” paraeducator Michelle Katon said.
When it comes to his colleagues, Bolin is a team player and has a great rapport. When it comes to his students, Bolin is understanding, patient and always eager to work with them. He is consistently striving to guide and push his students to improve. Bolin’s interests outside of school intertwine with his students, allowing him to connect with them and develop supportive, tangible relationships.
“This is my first year working with Mr. Bolin in his classroom and I enjoy learning from him right along with the students,” Katon said. “I appreciate that I can call him a friend and have the opportunity to work with him.”
Outside of school, Bolin enjoys reading science fiction books and 18th century British novels.
According to Bolin, his favorite science fiction books are by Philip K. Dick, John Sladek and Ursula K. LeGuin and his favorite 18th century British novels include Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones and Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. He also tries to visit the District of Columbia as much as possible for the museums, like the National Art Gallery.
“I’ve been lucky to have students who have let me know how they learn and what does and does not work for them,” Bolin said. “It has been more of a partnership as I help them figure out how they can best improve as readers and writers.”