Teacher to Realtor

Mr. Thollander is leaving Trinity to take a break from teaching, and go into real estate.


Ella Craghill

Mr. Thollander, sixth grade science teacher, is up at the front of his classroom teaching about climate change. His students love participating in classroom discussions on topics like this.

Ana Carolina Marques, Staff Writer

   Looking back, Science teacher Robert Thollander says his favorite memories at school have been raiding English teacher Lenna Bowden’s classroom and having spontaneous dance breaks to random music. After teaching for 11 years, with 4 of those years at Trinity, Thollander believes a break from teaching is needed and is now going into real estate. 

   “ I felt like I was ready for change,” Thollander said. “I’m going into real estate, which I’m very familiar with, everyone in my family is within that industry. I grew up around that. I feel like it’s something that’s going to be challenging, but also very rewarding for me to do for a little while.” 

   Thollander has had multiple years of teaching experience in schools in the southside of Chicago and at Bishop Moore. However, it was his first time teaching middle school when he arrived at Trinity, after hearing about the school’s reputation. 

   “I did because of its reputation as a good school because of the community here, and the high standards that it has for students,” Thollander said. “At first it took a while to learn the culture here and learn how to do things… but there was a lot of help in doing that.” 

   With COVID-19 and other changes, Thollander has been through a lot as a teacher and wants to change careers into something he finds more sustainable and in line with other goals he has. 

   “I could potentially come back to education after a few years, but I think that there is a prospect of making a lot more money with real estate,” Thollander said. “I want to start a family and I want to have children, and adopting or going through surrogacy is very expensive.”  

   Thollander plans on staying here in Orlando, not only to benefit his career but also his husband who is a mental health counselor here in Florida. This has always been something Thollander has thought about, and got his real estate license over the summer.

   “I was going to do it in my spare time because after teaching for 11 years I’ve got it down,” Thollander said. “It’s hard to have both to do both careers really well. I pride myself in doing what I do well, but at the same time, it’s been kind of a difficult year.” 

   6th grader Evelyn Kennedy agrees that Thollander is very good at what he does, and enjoys having him as a teacher. She believes he has established a perfect mix of work and fun. 

   “He has a ClassDojo and he gives out points if you make him laugh,” Kennedy said. “We all enjoy making stupid jokes to make him laugh.”

   According to Kennedy, Thollander’s fun and playful teaching will be part of some of her favorite memories. 

   “One time he had a video of Just Dance up on the board when we walked in,” Kennedy said. “He made us all get up and dance, and it was my favorite memory.” 

   Thollander believes that for now this is the right route in his life and will miss teaching, but according to Thollander, teaching is always going to be present in his life. 

   “I will miss Trinity,” Thollander said. “I’m going to miss the interaction with the students every day, how funny they can be, and how they can often make me laugh a lot. The new teacher will have big shoes to fill, but I’m sure everyone will be in good hands.”