Wilks Rogers ’19
Although Paul Erb has only worked at Woodberry for two years, he has made an impressive impact on his students and the community at large. Dr. Erb became a teacher to honor a tradition, his father and grandfather were both teachers. Dr. Erb currently teaches English 400 and 500 for 4th and 5th formers and is described by his students as brilliant, outgoing, and funny. When asked his favorite part of Woodberry, Dr. Erb immediately answered with, “Eye contact!” He says that students here look each other in the eye and expect the most from each other, and he expects the most from them as well. Dr. Erb’s goal for each of his students is for them to think about what they are going to do and then do it. His personal slogan for his students is “Can do…it’s not just an attitude.”
Dr. Erb left teaching in 1999 to work for Capital One in their IT department. He worked there for nine years and then for six years as a school business manager. In those fifteen years no business meeting was ever as exciting as a classroom discussion. He rediscovered that truth when he returned to teaching at Woodberry. Dr. Erb said moments like those were his favorite memories at Woodberry because it felt like something really important was happening.
When asked how Woodberry has changed him, Dr. Erb replied by saying, “It tempts me to be a little too comfortable.” He says that since Woodberry is such a beautiful place and the environment is amazing, he risks becoming too self-satisfied and that he has to guard against that attitude. Dr. Erb also stated, “Woodberry gives me hope to expect that the world can have polite people in it.” He says that everybody at Woodberry is so polite and that even though it is sometimes fake, it still feels like the right thing to do.
Dr. Erb is a key member of Woodberry. He connects with his students and the whole community. He brings abstract teaching to his classes that engages students and makes them think. Dr. Erb always welcomes thoughtful conversations and never fails to bring out the best in his students.