Meet your teacher: Journalism teacher finds confidence through skiing

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Provided by Sarah Roberts

“I have a habit to live in the moment, whether that’s taking a bunch of photos or writing down in my journals specific little moments that I thought were really nice,” Roberts said. “I think more and more now, really trying to live in the moment and trying to appreciate every single aspect of what’s going on around me is definitely something I try [to] live by.”

by Sally Zhu, Humans of Harker Profiler

Imagine looking out at the beautiful Colorado mountains, which rise high above the rest of the world, covered in a blanket of snow. Imagine standing at the top of a slope with hundreds of feet of snow and trees below you. Now imagine you see that beautiful view every week. 

Upper school Introduction to Journalism teacher and middle school speech and debate assistant coach Sarah Roberts certainly had that opportunity throughout her childhood. Growing up in Colorado, an hour away from a ski hill, Roberts’ first memories are of her being led by her parents down a bunny slope as a four-year-old. Roberts has since moved to the Bay Area, but she still skis whenever she has the chance. 

“Every time that I go home, I would go [skiing] with my family,” Roberts said. “I used to really collect ski days. It was an accomplishment.” 

For Roberts, the most difficult part of skiing is not physically making smooth turns across an expansive slope, braving the heights at the top of a chair lift or trying not to fall during a slippery run. It is actually having the correct mentality and personal drive and belief in her own abilities. 

“It took me a while, I don’t think it was until the last five years, which for how long I’ve been skiing is relatively recent, that I realized that it was the moments when I would face the slope and might recognize that it was difficult or might recognize that it was a little bit scary, and believing in myself to get down that allowed me to take the turns sufficiently and not have that doubt in myself,” she said. 

Introduction to Journalism teacher Sarah Roberts skis down a slope in Andermatt, Switzerland. “It took me a while, I don’t think it was until the last five years, which for how long I’ve been skiing is relatively recent, that I realized that it was the moments when I would face the slope and might recognize that it was difficult or might recognize that it was a little bit scary, and believing in myself to get down that allowed me to take the turns sufficiently and not have that doubt in myself,” she said. (Provided by Sarah Roberts)

Roberts has carried that mindset with her throughout other aspects of her life as well. She had the confidence in herself and her abilities to step out of her comfort zone and apply to be a teacher at Harker. And even at Harker, being a relatively young teacher, she felt intimidated at first, but the supportive community and her own confidence and positivity allowed her to tackle her new job. 

These experiences have helped her better understand the students in her class as well. Roberts tries to teach with a fun, exploratory and encouraging approach in her classroom, while still covering all the necessary academic material. 

“Even though our classes have a lot of content and have a lot to cover on a topic that maybe not all of [my students] have a lot of background on, I try and emphasize with them that it might be new, it might be a little bit scary, but you can get through it. You can tackle anything that you put your mind to,” she said. “I try to really embody that when I’m working with my students.”

Roberts also tries to keep a creative perspective in her daily life and maintains a positive attitude whenever she can, always focusing on the optimistic point of view of situations. She stays confident and perseveres even if the circumstances do not play out the way she was envisioning. 

“I definitely hope for the best outcomes, and that is to say, it’s always hinged with some realism,” Roberts said. “It’s like, ‘Well, the worst-case scenario could happen, but there’s also this excellent scenario that we can get out of it. So let’s try and make the best of it.’” 

When she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Roberts kept a running document of special moments she experienced or places she visited that she wanted to remember on the Notes app of her iPhone. Even her daily morning run is something she treasures. 

“I have a habit to live in the moment, whether that’s taking a bunch of photos or writing down in my journals specific little moments that I thought were really nice,” Roberts said. “I think more and more now, really trying to live in the moment and trying to appreciate every single aspect of what’s going on around me is definitely something I try [to] live by.”