Robin Oliver: A Man of Many Languages


Maddox Wade

Step into the Land of Languages: Teacher Robin Oliver boasts his fluency in multiple languages.

Bright colors, cheesy posters, and ridiculous hats. These are the first things noticed if one stole a glance into the classroom of French teacher Robin Oliver. The almost overwhelming visual scene is quick to distract from its orchestrator. However, the true colors of Oliver are just as interesting—if not more—than those plastered on the wall.

Oliver is a man of many talents, but first and foremost, he is a linguist. As a London native, he grew up learning French and Latin in school while speaking English at home. Before earning his degrees in modern and medieval languages and medicine, he took a gap year to travel. While traveling through India via train, Oliver picked up a Spanish to English Dictionary and started reading. By the end of the trip, he had a grasp of the language and went straight to Spain to perfect his new talent. His next feat was learning Italian to complement his degree. After receiving push back from his professors regarding enrolling in yet another language course, he repeated the process he used to learn Spanish and aced his Italian class entrance exam. Along the way, he picked up German while working in Spain over the summer, and Greek via Greek school and immersion in Greece. “Knowing languages has given me a lot of amazing opportunities,” Oliver said. “If you have the opportunity to become a polyglot, take it, it will allow you to soar to new heights.”

After graduating from Cambridge, Oliver went to work as a French and Spanish teacher at several prestigious London academies, the most notable of which being Eden, where he taught Prince William for two years. Eventually, he set his sights on the USA to go experience something new. After two years of preparation, he traveled to Chicago and began to work for SE Johnson in marketing. The job allowed him to continue his love of travel as he voyaged through South America for three years, where he learned Portuguese. “I’m a big believer in not listening to your gut reaction. When your gut says no, try it first,” said Oliver. “Doing things that made me uncomfortable has brought me to some really cool places in life.”

Eventually, Oliver grew tired of sales and decided to get recertified to teach in the US. He began his student teaching in Chicago and remained there for ten years until moving to Atlanta, where he met Principal Douglas at Shiloh High School. Oliver received the call in 2013 from Douglas asking him to work at North Atlanta where he has been ever since—excluding a brief stint at The Westminster Schools. “Teaching allows me to make an impact in people’s lives, and I love working at North Atlanta and being able to help shape my students,” said Oliver.

Oliver’s language accomplishments are nothing less than impressive, and any of his students can tell the love he has for languages through his passionate teaching to the Dubs.