A career change led Schrader to empowering children in education

Robin Schrader has been with the MCSD for 11 years now. She works with special education students on reading and math lessons. Her job involves teaching one-on-one, co-teaching, and working with a group of students. Here, she assists eighth-grader Joselyn Camp on her math homework. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     A long-term job as a substitute teacher turned into a full-time teaching associate 11 years later.

     Robin Schrader started working for the Monticello school district in 2006.

     She first came on board in February of that year to fill in for a teacher who was on maternity leave. Schrader filled out the job until the end of the school year. That summer, the middle school principal approached her about filling a newly created full-time position working in the middle school library. Schrader did that for two years before her current job as a special education associate.

     “I interviewed for the job and I’m still here,” said Schrader. “I just really like the school setting.”

     Schrader works with seventh and eighth-grade Level 1 students. She’s seen in the classrooms assisting the teachers, working one-on-one with the students if needed, or group teaching several students at once with reading or math lessons.

     “I help them (the students) achieve their reading or math goals,” she said.

     This might entail reading the tests to the students as they answer the questions or assisting them in projects.

     “I might take notes for them in the classrooms and have them copy from there,” she explained. “It’s all about accommodating these students.”

     In her time with the middle school, Schrader has worked with several different teachers.

     Aside from her associate job, she can also be found in the middle school office assisting School Secretary Angie Shady, or helping with school registration in the fall before school gets under way. She’s worked in the elementary school libraries, with her first year traveling between three different buildings in the district.

     When her son, Jace, was attending school in Monticello, Schrader said she liked having the same schedule working at the school.

     “I was able to have my summers off while raising my kid,” she said.

     Schrader’s path into education was unconventional, but led to her needing a career change.

     She’s worked in a variety of professions: physical therapy, insurance, plumbing, and the bowling business.

     “If I had known in my 20s I’d get into teaching,” said Schrader, “I could see myself pursuing English or math. I really love reading.”

     Schrader attended Kirkwood Community College for a business degree. Over the years in her education role, she’s continued with the necessary training. One such training helps teachers and associates like Schrader work with students who find it hard to conform to a solid, strict schedule.

     “We give them prompts or lists so they know what class they’re going to and what supplies they need to bring,” explained Schrader.

     Working for the school, Schrader said the schedule is really great.

     “I don’t have to work weekends, nights or holidays,” she said. “I get my summers off.” Even with her son out of the house and in college, she said she still enjoys summers away from work.

     Schrader said the students she works with in the middle school are definitely the highlight of her job.

     “I love helping kids and watching them have that break-through moment when they say, ‘I got it!’”

     Schrader said the staff and teachers all work so well together.

     “As a whole, everyone gets along so well,” she praised. “We really have awesome teachers here, an awesome staff in general.”

     Schrader also commended Superintendent Brian Jaeger. “He’s very personable. You see him in the buildings all the time. He’s very involved in what’s going on here.”

     When she has her summers and weekends off, Schrader and her husband Dave make it a point of seeing a movie at least once a week. They also travel quite a bit.

     Personally, Schrader spends time reading and putting puzzles together. She also takes care of their three cats.

     “People joke that I’m the crazy cat lady,” she laughed.


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