Matt Robinson teaches world history and the current events elective at Santa Fe Christian Schools and has been teaching at SFC for the past six years. A native San Diegan, he grew up surfing, playing guitar, and being involved in a local youth group. After going to college in Los Angeles, Matt couldn’t wait to return to San Diego. Now, Matt and his wife live locally, lead worship at their church, and love their dog — a Rhodesian ridgeback named Rue.
Looking to history to answer today’s questions
Mr. Robinson loves studying culture and different worldviews. His classes emphasize the timeless stories of humans facing struggles and overcoming challenges.
But, what really drew him to teaching was the opportunity to pour into students–not just as a teacher, but as a mentor. “That honor is humbling,” Matt says. “History is a great way to have really deep conversations at this age where students can really dig into questions like, ‘Who am I?’” Mr. Robinson’s goal is to help students step into the shoes of and understand other viewpoints and cultures along the way.
Student success in and out of the classroom
Mr. Robinson’s teaching style is focused on his greatest priority: students.
In the classroom, he uses several activities to identify each student’s learning style. Some days his class reads primary sources. On others, they write journal entries and imagine themselves in the shoes of someone they are studying. And sometimes they create posters advertising a trip back in history to a specific era.
Once Matt sees how the students work and learn both individually and in a group setting, he can hone in on where students excel and where they could use a little help.
Mr. Robinson wants his students to walk away with more than just standard learning objectives. “One thing I’d like them to take away is the kind of grit people have had in history to get through difficult situations to survive.”
He wants students to grasp that we are the product of those who have come before us and walked through great difficulty. In light of this bigger context, Matt wants students to ask, “What am I going to do with the life that I have?” He hopes this hunger for knowledge and understanding gives students the ability to represent Christ well as they dialogue with others.
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Serving for growth
One of Mr. Robinson’s SFC career highlights is helping lead a recent mission trip to Rwanda. On the trip, he was able to reconnect with a former seventh-grade student, now a junior in high school. Reflecting on the opportunity to invest again in a student, Matt says, “It is amazing to see where he is now and [I get] to continue to be someone who is constant in his life as a teacher, still pouring in [and] still being present. It’s humbling to have that opportunity.”
“Torchbearers of the Kingdom of God”
How do you know you’ve succeeded as a teacher? For Matt Robinson, it’s seeing that desire in a student’s heart to be a light for Christ. He wants his classroom to be a safe place for students to wrestle with their faith, admitting, “I don’t have it perfect, and I’m still learning a lot every day. We all have hills and valleys and we’re sharing this together.” At the end of the day, it’s the growth in faith, accompanying classroom learning, which is most important to Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson’s classroom is driven by the question, “How do we respond to this as a follower of Christ?” His teaching aims to give students tools they need to think through their faith not only now, but for a lifetime of faithful growth. By digging deeply together, Mr. Robinson’s students are equipped to be bold and wise Christians as they enter the world outside the classroom.
Matt Robinson hopes SFC students will not just strive after academic excellence, but hearts full of passion for justice, love, and greater faith. “I want them to leave Santa Fe Christian not just as a Santa Fe Eagle, but as a torchbearer of the kingdom of God.”