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A young Black educator teaching social studies and history at the Virgie Binford Education Center, which is located in the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, has been named National Teacher of the Year. Rodney Robinson says his students are just like any other group of kids and tells CBS News he teaches lessons that will help them become “socially conscious citizens who make the most out of their second chance.”

“There’s no difference,” Robinson told CBS This Morning on Wednesday. “They like cheesy, teenage stuff like Teen Wolf and Hanna, their favorite shows. But they just made mistakes and they’re paying for mistakes.”

“But America is a country of second chances and in order for them to achieve and get that second chance, they deserve a quality education like everybody else,” he said.

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Robinson, who tells the site he was always taught to “pay it forward,” adds that he learned a lot about how to treat people from his mother. “She always taught us that every child deserves the proper amount of love to get where he or she needs, and that was my first lesson in equity,” he said, according to the site. “And so I try to treat my students with whatever they need to be successful. Some need more, some need less. But I’m going to be there to give you what you need.”

“When you create equitable culture in your classroom, the kids buy into it. And they understand that,” he reportedly explained. “As a matter of fact, my kids often help those that need more to ease my burden.”

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“He is so much more than just a teacher. He is a pillar of our community,” Ta’Neshia Ford, who recruited Robinson, said. “He is the father … the big brother … the friend. He’s all of that and more to our students.”

“I would say the biggest lesson he taught me was to always strive for excellence and to never slack,” a former student commented. “Share knowledge. Pay it forward,” another added.

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Meet “Big Rob” here and join us in congratulating him. This right here is what we call Black Excellence! Salute!



Black Excellence: Heartwarming Educator At Richmond Juvenile Detention Center Named National Teacher Of The Year  was originally published on