Traveling Teacher Drops Anchor at Blake

After the departure of former English 10 and Mythology teacher Elizabeth Jones earlier this year, the Blake community welcomed Robin Strickler into our school. 

Before her arrival to Blake, Ms. Strickler spent 22 years teaching in other countries; eight years in Japan and fourteen years building and teaching at Rwamagana Lutheran School in Rwanda. 

the Rwamagana Lutheran School in Rwanda

Ms. Strickler’s interest to teach in Rwanda stems from her husband, who grew up in a refugee camp. Not only was education difficult to receive, but secondary education was only available to him because of a scholarship. It was meeting her husband and hearing about what people were experiencing in Rwanda that motivated Ms. Strickler to start a school in Rwanda.

With all her multicultural experiences, Ms. Strickler has a strong belief in the value of traveling and seeing the world. “I am just sort of this conglomeration of all these different places and cultures,” she says. Ms. Stricler adds, “I always find really good things about each place. I think it has made me really quick at trying to fit in.”

Throughout her years as a teacher, Ms. Strickler could say she is well-travelled. After living in 9 states and 3 countries, Ms. Strickler has really grown attached to where she had lived, mentioning that, “it always feels hard to leave.”

After all her travels, Ms. Strickler expressed what it is like being back in the United States. “It has been kind of a surprise and a shock to me, just because being out of the United States for 14 years – I mean, I have been back to visit, but that is different from living and working somewhere.”

A big contrast from Rwanda is that Blake has much more technology at hand. While having more technology in a more developed country is normal, “it also means that people are more isolated,” Strickler says, adding that students are “less communicative with each other.” 

Ms. Strickler teaching her former students

Unlike the students at Blake, with Strickler’s students in Rwanda, she says, “There is a kind of directness and connection to other people that I think is sort of missing here because so many people are so busy with their gadgets.”

 In moving from a school where students are actively without running water and electricity, Ms. Strickler had to adjust to the many changes of coming back to the states. “I came from a school with about 200 students and so now we’re in a school that’s pretty big,” Strickler says. 

After teaching in other schools around the world, Ms. Strickler is ready to face Blake head on. “I think my philosophy in life is we have to be ready to compromise and make the best of where we are.” With all her worldly experience, Blake is glad to welcome Ms. Strickler into the school and anticipate what she is going to bring.