Emily Rohrer, 2002 - Upper School Art

What do you love most about your job? 
I love the community we foster here at RPCS. From my fellow teachers and other employees, to the students and my fellow alums, I feel like a part of something big and wonderful and that makes every day a joy to come to work. It doesn’t even feel like work most days because I get to spend it with people I love and respect.
 
What are specific traits you work to identify and grow in students?
Creativity, fun, patience, and understanding. Both the arts and English have the capacity to tap into a very personal part of the human soul, and I have the privilege of being a part of that. 
 
Why did you choose to work in an all-girls education environment? 
RPCS is my alma mater! I grew up with a sister and spent my summers at an all girls summer camp- it’s all I know! Plus, teenage girls have the best energy.
 
Why did you choose RPCS?
I originally chose RPCS in 1996 (for 7th grade) because I felt at home here. I looked at a handful of local schools for middle/upper school and found that RPCS had the nicest girls. I still feel that way, so I am thrilled that I get to teach here. 
 
Why is education at the grade level you teach important?
I always wanted to teach Upper School art. While I will soon have my MFA and can teach at the university level, I feel grateful to be a high school teacher because I get to help teenagers find and harness their artistic talent beginning in 9th grade. By the time they are seniors taking AP, they have become real artists, and can write and talk about their own work at length. Some college students aren’t capable of that. 

What do you want an RPCS education to mean to our graduates? 
I want the students to be well-rounded and feel confident in a variety of subjects. While visual art was my strength as a student, I can say with confidence that RPCS instilled in me a lifelong love of learning. I also want our girls to leave here with empathy, understanding, and gratitude. This is a special place, and I don’t think I truly understood how special it is until after I graduated. 
 
Why did you choose the subject you teach?
Art chose me. I’ve been actively making art since I could hold a crayon. I have known since I was four that I would be an artist and an art teacher. How many people can say that they get to do what they always wanted to do? The job of teaching English fell into my lap, and I have been grateful for the opportunity to share my love of literature and writing with the ninth graders. 
"I teach because...it’s in my blood. I come from a long line of teachers. I love being able to inspire the next generation of artists the way my teachers inspired me."
What is your teaching philosophy?
It is my mission as an art educator and working artist to instill a love of looking and creating in my students. Using my own teachers and professors as examples, I build upon a foundation of rigorous art education, and yet, most importantly, I believe everything should be FUN. And not in a clichéd, hippie art teacher way. 
I inherited my love of teaching from my recently departed mother. From her I received not only a love of teaching and creative talent, but also a certain level of emotional intelligence which comes in handy with students with differing learning styles. Having experienced incredible loss in my life, my own personal philosophy has become “if it isn’t fun, why do it?”
 
What is your favorite moment in the classroom? 
I LOVE watching a student who had lots of doubts about their work, either in art or in writing, discover confidence within them self. I teach plenty of students with innate talents, but I really love when someone who doesn’t think they can do something surprises them self and makes something they can be proud of.