‘Dead Poets Society’ Inspired Robbins to Teach

Rylei Anders & Ellen Meeuwsen, Staff Writers, Journalism I

Kayla Robbins has been teaching at Notre Dame Academy, mostly for sophomore and junior classes, as an English teacher since 2017.

She grew up in Wrightstown and went to college at UWGB, where she said she changed what she wanted to do at least seven times, initially going for an English major but changed it until she landed on English again.

“When you’re in college, you don’t have the structure you do in high school. You don’t have people telling you what to do. For me it was a self-discovery moment, to figure out what works for you. I experienced a lot of classes I didn’t in high school,” she said.

Robbins wanted to teach because of her grandma, who worked as a teacher, and would read her Skakespeare at night which made her passionate about English.

She also realized she wanted to teach from Mr. Keating, a character from “Dead Poets Society,” who made her realize that she wanted to inspire the youth like he did and challenge students to think outside the box.

Advice to her high school self would be, “The world is a lot bigger than these high school walls. Everything feels so intense, but really six months later, none of this will matter.”

From early on in her teaching career, Robbins herself has been learning life lessons such as “assume good intentions.” 

Veteran English teacher Carolyn Brown has been a mentor to Robbins, teaching her to “think deeper and not to look at it only one way but through multiple lens.” 

The piece of literature that Robbins would like to teach the most is Catcher in the Rye because “it is so important to read [Catcher in the Rye] when you are a teenager.” Unfortunately the book is currently on the list of banned books and unavailable for her to teach. 

Robbins’ biggest advice to high schoolers is “the world is a lot bigger than these high school walls.”