Teanna Robinson’s schedule was already jam packed.
But she found something else to fit into her time, and it actually is helping relieve some of the stress of being a student-athlete.
Robinson, a 6-foot-5 senior on the Mercer women’s basketball team, has been student teaching at Brookdale Elementary this semester.
“It definitely takes my mind off things because most of the time I’m stressed out about basketball and other stuff,” Robinson said with a big smile. “When I go into the classroom and being around the kids, it helps me laugh and smile and relax, and it’s just good to be around them. It’s a good vibe and a stress reliever for me.”
But it’s more than that, actually.
Robinson has known what she wants to do post graduation since enrolling at Mercer. After all, education is in her blood. Both of her parents are educators -- her father teaches at Lilburn’s Berkmar High School while her mother teaches at Lawrenceville’s Benefield Elementary.
Robinson said she might like to end up as an assistant principal, but she also wouldn’t mind trying something a little different.
“It’s definitely something I want to do,” she said of teaching. “I’m not sure where I want to do it yet. I have thought about Teach for America, maybe, to have some adventure in my life. I don’t know if I want to go back home and be the status quo; I might want to do something and go somewhere I’ve never been before, maybe go overseas.”
Wherever she lands, Mercer head coach Susie Gardner thinks Robinson will be a success. Robinson has had a solid career with the Bears and has been part of a senior class that has helped turn the program in the right direction.
Mercer is 4-2 early in the season and is playing in its first season in the Southern Conference. The Bears host Georgia on Thursday.
“Since she arrived, she has not wavered (about being in education),” Gardner said. “Some students will go back and forth, but she hasn’t changed off what she wants to do. Teanna is one of those students on our campus, for obvious reasons, she’s 6-5, and she stands out, but she also has a lot of friends outside of athletics. She supports all the other teams and goes to every game and contest, and we will walk on campus with T, and everybody is saying hello to her. She just has that kind of personality that draws people in.
“Her being a 6-5 woman, how much immediate respect will she get when she’s walking down the hallways? The students will be drawn to her, and she just has that smile and loves people.”
Robinson wrapped up her student-teaching stint this week. So now she will focus on her upcoming finals and the rest of her senior season.
“It’s kind of like, ‘This is what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life,’ and that’s exciting,” she said. “It’s like a real moment, like ‘This is what I want to do,’ and I really enjoyed it.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because I really have fun doing it, but it’s hard to go to the school and do the field work and do all the basketball stuff, too. I wasn’t happy I’m not going anymore, but I’m happy that I have my time back a little bit because I have finals coming up.”
The Bears have a big test coming up on the court Thursday against their head coach’s alma mater.
“I think it’s good for both programs,” Gardner said. “It’s good for them to come to this part of the state and for Georgia basketball to be exposed to Middle Georgia. For us, it’s the easiest game for me to motivate them. I don’t have to do a lot of rah-rah to get our players excited about playing them.
“They tend to have a little higher level of focus playing this game. Our players have played with them in AAU ball or with them in high school or against them, so they grow up knowing those players.”
In last year’s game -- a 72-41 Georgia win -- Robinson finished with 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots.
“I’m really excited to see what happens. I had like nine blocks last time, so hopefully, I can have a repeat,” Robinson said with a laugh. “We’re starting to develop this chemistry together, and we’re starting to get to know each other on the court, and we’re playing to each other’s strengths and helping each other be successful.
“We still have a long way to go, but definitely by conference time, we’ll be a team to look out for.”
TEDDY BEAR TOSS
Mercer will also host a Teddy Bear Toss at halftime of Thursday’s game. Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear or stuffed animal to the game. A target will be placed at the center of the floor, and fans will attempt to hit the target with the stuffed animals. The three fans who make it closest to the target will win prizes. All the teddy bears and stuffed animals will be donated to the Children’s Hospital Navicent Health in Macon.