The ideal class: student-centered learning

"I see myself as a facilitator of my college students' learning, as their guide. I want my students to be able to learn and use practical skills they will actually need in the classroom. My classes are very student-led and student-centered. Students are always actively engaged. There are multiple activities during each session, and I try and change them up every 7 to 10 minutes. There is a lot of movement in the room. It's important that students are exposed to changing partners and different personalities. Learning the skill to agree to disagree and hear someone else's point of view in education and any field is essential."

Teachers DO make a difference

"I had a student in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade, and his parents invited me to his high school graduation. Sometimes it's the students who give you the most angst that come back and thank you."

She loves "just seeing the joy and the 'ah ha' moments, the difference from the beginning of the year to the end of the year in their ability to write, and seeing their growth patterns. It's amazing and there is nothing else like it."

"At the graduate level, I love hearing when a student has applied something they learned in class to their teaching — and how it engaged their students!"

I grew to love teaching

"I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician, but then I found out I would have to go to school for 8 to 10 years. At that point, I wondered what else I could do to work with kids. I was a camp counselor, and a swim instructor, and I knew I enjoyed being with children, so I decided since I wasn't going to be a pediatrician, I would go to school to be a teacher. In my third year of college, I almost dropped out after they videotaped me teaching for the first time. However, my friends and counselors encouraged me and told me to keep going and become a teacher. I got my first job teaching in the Rochester City School District.

"It wasn't love at first sight, but I grew to love teaching. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the students I worked with.

"I sometimes ask myself: 'Why do I continue to do what I do?' I have a folder with letters from parents, from my K-12 students, and from graduate students that I pull out and read— and I decide to keep going. It's a very rewarding adventure!"

Rudy has 30+ years of teaching experience in elementary and secondary schools, as a lead teacher/mentor to new teachers, as a district-wide trainer, and she has been a teacher coordinator for special education and a committee on special education chairperson. Most recently, Rudy joined Really Great Reading as an implementation specialist. She has taught at Nazareth since 2008.

Why Nazareth?

"I love teaching at Naz because the class sizes are small. I get to know all my students, build personal connections, be flexible, and address needs as they arise. Naz prepares their graduate students really well, and we are always striving to make the program better."

Graduate students rock!

"I love working with graduate students. I invest in my graduate students and get to know them at a personal level. I have high expectations, and it is important that I let all of my graduate students know my 3 expectations on the first day of class: be respectful, be responsible, and be here. I'm more concerned with whether my graduate students are able to learn and apply what we've been doing rather than whether a specific project is worth an A.

"I believe in providing an atmosphere where students feel safe to take risks and grow from their mistakes. For me, it's truly about the learning process, and I wouldn't expect anyone to be perfect the first time learning something new. I truly enjoy preparing the students for their career and I am always enriched from what I learn from them as well!"

Rubin Rudy steering sailboat

Fun Facts

  • Sailing: "We sail on Lake Ontario. I've chartered a boat on the Caribbean, and off the coast of Greece on the Ionian Sea."
  • Traveling: She has enjoyed cruises all over the Caribbean and in Alaska and also has traveled to London.
  • Running: She completed the New York City marathon twice and coached Girls on the Run at Children's School of Rochester #15 (using running as a way for youth to develop self-confidence and community).

Advice to Future Teachers

  • Make sure you're passionate about your career choice.
  • Be open to feedback from others.
  • Stay the course. It's going to be full of ups and downs.
  • Put your heart into it. To be an educator who makes a difference, your heart has to be there.

What would Robin do?

"As a more than 30-year teaching veteran of the Rochester City School District, Robin brings a wealth of practical knowledge and skills to the graduate program that perfectly complement her pedagogical practice. I often find myself asking, 'What would Robin do?' when confronting challenges inside and outside of the classroom."
Andrew Conroy '17G, social studies teacher at Brighton High School

Supporting risk taking

"Truly great professors and teachers see potential in their students and allow them the intellectual safety to take risks. It did not take long for Robin to recognize my potential, and she was certain that I would excel and do my absolute best. I would not be proud of the person I am and have become if it were not for Robin Rudy."
Mackenzie Ruby '19G, social studies teacher Honeoye Falls-Lima High School