A Teacher Remembers

In the fall of 1976, Bob Robertson, a 22 year-old graduate of Millikin University was hired to teach 8th grade and coach at St. Malachy School.

Bob shared his thoughts and memories, and identified changes he witnessed over the 38 years of his career. Among his first memories was the day the principal called him to the office and said “you will have better discipline in your classroom or we will have a new teacher very quickly.”

He remembers his first Friday morning student mass. He was unfamiliar with the celebration, but quickly learned to appreciate it, converting to Catholicism a few years later.

Never having participated in Track and Field also presented a challenge to the new coach. While organizing his first conference track meet and planning heats for 8 lanes, he was told the day of the meet there were only 6 lanes!

The introduction of the first computer in the classroom and learning how to utilize it.

The girl’s athletic programs added additional duties as bus driver, and the fond memories of multiple tournament championship athletic teams.

A number of changes happened during his career. In 1991, an expansion made it possible for the gym to no longer be needed as the lunchroom, and the dreaded cleanup of spilled Jell-O or spaghetti was eliminated from his daily supervision before P.E classes. The ’91 addition also gave the school its first computer lab. The addition of technology in the curriculum made a big difference. He saw a gradual change from a predominant staff of dedicated Dominican Sisters to a majority of dedicated lay teachers.

In 2006-2007 an enlarged facility opened more possibilities for the curriculum and extracurricular activities, with the addition of the high school regulation sized gym, science/art lab, a new music room and a larger computer lab.

When asked to list the strengths of St. Malachy School, Bob listed its family type atmosphere, the Dominican presence, dedicated lay faculty, improved school campus and its respected reputation.