TPAC honors Gower Elementary teacher as 2018 Teacher of the Year
Miya Robertson, a drama teacher at Gower Elementary School, is Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, an annual award honoring an educator who uses the arts to inspire learning, build community and foster excellence in teaching.
Involved with TPAC’s comprehensive education programs, Robertson collaborates with TPAC teaching artists in her classroom, brings her students to performances at the arts center and participates in the nonprofit’s professional development programs.
Now in its 24th year, the TPAC Teacher of the Year Award includes a $1,000 grant for the recipient’s school.
The coordinator for an after-school musical theatre training program at Gower, Robertson produces a musical production and five grade-level productions each year. Also, she served as the faculty lead for TPAC’s Disney Musicals in Schools program for three years, after Gower was one of the Metro Nashville Public Schools selected for the program.
Robertson says she has “charged herself” with creating curriculum and lesson plans that enhance literacy skills in writing, speaking, reading, listening and language, as well as supporting the work of teachers in general education and inclusion classes.
“Within any given drama lesson, students engage in reading, active listening and speaking skills. They do research on a variety of topics which support learning in history, social studies and other subjects,” Robertson said. “They create original works of creative writing, evaluate the writing of their peers and analyze scripts. These kinds of activities allow students to be self-guided in their learning, practice communication skills and provide opportunities to collaborate and think critically – skills that will serve them outside of the classroom and in the future.
“Each school year brings different challenges and academic needs for both educators and students from various walks of life,” she said. “So, each year I consult with teachers to get a personal understanding of the academic skills that need to be addressed by each grade level and specific classrooms.”
Born in Memphis, Robertson graduated from North Side High School in Jackson, Tenn. She received a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Theatre from Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in Arts in Education from Union University.