Spotlight Tutor of the Week

Our Spotlight Tutor of the week is Sybil Robinson, a graduate of Howard University and a dedicated educator. We’ve asked Sybil to share her insight into her passions and to provide some tips and tricks for academic success!


Question: What made you want to pursue teaching?


Sybil: “When I was 6 years old, I was inspired to teach by my 1st-grade teacher, Ms. Jenkins. She was one of those teachers that made you excited about coming to school and eager to learn about anything whether it was colors or the day of the week. Ms. Jenkins made each subject that we were taught relatable and interesting so that you were never distracted from her. As I got older, I grew to love the sciences from my 10th-grade biology teacher, Ms. Joyner, who approached teaching biology as teaching about life. She put an emphasis on teaching us about sciences and relating it to the real world, so we could see each concept in real-time and incorporated tips for survival past the classroom. For example, when we were learning about energy pyramids, Ms. Joyner would then talk about the working class being similar to producers because they fuel the economy (just like producers fuel ecosystems). She would then express the importance of identifying that and making that benefit you. So with these two forces and their impact, I wanted to pay it forward to the younger generations by building them up the same way my teachers built me.”


Question: What are some of your hobbies outside of teaching?


Sybil: “Outside of teaching, my favorite hobby is COOKING! I love to cook and try new recipes because I truly believe food is the way to your heart. I am currently working on learning how to bake, too, because I love sweets and feel like that would make me the master chef. I don’t have a favorite food, but my favorite meal that I could eat every day consists of Mac & Cheese, Greens, Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, and Cornbread. I love it even more when my mother and grandmother make it because I can feel all of the love that went into it.”


Question: How were you able to balance school and extracurricular activities?


Sybil: “When it came to balance, I was really big on writing things down and putting important dates on my calendar in my phone. For example, everything that I need to get done for my students I write down in my planner as a ‘To-Do List’ and cross them off as I complete it. I give myself a realistic amount of time to complete each task, so I don’t feel rushed to get it done. Then personal tasks, I write down in my ‘Reminders’ on my phone and turn on notifications for it to continuously pop up until I finish it. Lastly, extracurriculars go in my phone calendar because they don’t occur every day or are not consistent in scheduling. Yes, this is a lot, but it allows me to organize and prioritize each aspect of my life and keep up.”


Question: What advice would you give your younger self?


Sybil: “Don’t be afraid to explore different things and venture out with an open mind. Sometimes we get fixated on our wants and forget about our needs. The world has so many opportunities and avenues that can take us anywhere we want to go that there is never just one way to do anything. So, it is important to be open-minded and explore new things to ensure that you are fulfilling your desires and meeting your needs for yourself and future.”


Question: What’s your #1 study tip for students?


Sybil: “My number one study tip is to study and focus on what you don’t have mastered, then review the things that you are good at. That way you are able to commit the challenging concepts to memory and have a better chance of success with the material.”


Question: What is your favorite part about teaching?


Sybil: “As an educator, my favorite part is being able to interact with my students on a personal level. I feel like school puts a large emphasis on academics, but doesn’t forget to look at individuality. Therefore, every day in class my students and I have ‘Real Life’ conversations where we talk about different things from sports, how to save money, music, fashion, and other topics that my students want more information about or interest them. This allows me to see what’s important to them and incorporate that into my lessons, so it is more inclusive. It is an opportunity for my students to connect with me and I with them.”


Question: Tell us a fun fact about yourself!


Sybil: “A fun fact about me is that I was published when I was 16 in the Duke Pediatric Journal for a research project on babies and a deformity called gastroschisis. Gastroschisis is a condition where babies are growing in the womb with their organs growing on the outside of their body. This then causes many mothers to have a premature birth, which may help with the survival of their child. It was definitely a fun experience because it was the first time I ever been in a lab and got to conduct research on a real-world issue. I was able to have conversations with parents and doctors about the condition, the emotional toll on families and solutions to help with survival.”