What Do You Do When A Teacher Has a Life in Their Hands

The picture above is Michelle Davis. She is a strong and loving DPS teacher. Pictured with her students, she gives 130% of her time and energy to her “babies”. Teachers like her and others have literally saved the lives of Detroit children for years. There are hundreds of stories of Detroit educators putting our children on the path to success. Here is such a story……….

When I was in the 4th grade, my brother and I were in the same class. Everyone thought we were twins, but he failed the second grade. He was one of those children who never did his work. He wasn’t disruptive, but he was always distracted. 

Our teacher’s name was Mrs. Miller. She watched my brother carefully. She always gave him the nudge he needed to get his work done and never sent him out the class for gazing or drifting off. 

During the school year’s first parent teacher’s conference, she told mom that she had a plan for him and wanted mom to promise not to punish him for falling behind in school. “He does not have a learning disability, he actually helps the other students when they don’t know what to do. He just won’t do his work.” In turn, mom shared with Mrs. Miller the family issues we were having at home and realized my mom needed extra support. 

Mrs. Miller decided to keep him after school. Since we walked home together, I stayed at school too. 

I did homework while my brother graded papers. Really? How was this fair? I mean he was having fun. I thought he was a teachers pet. I did not realize that she was actually grading him on how well he corrected students work. She didn’t give him any answers to correct papers. She just gave him papers to check for wrong answers and when he could not figure out an answer he would go to her for assistance. 

This went on for about a month. Then she made him agree to do his work in class in order to continue checking papers. This dude aced the class. I saw my brother go from this distracted child to a star pupil. 

Teachers, how will you view your most challenging students? Will you kick them out for days or banish them to the detention office? Will you ostracize them in front of their peers and deem them too ignorant to learn like this teacher did. 


Or make sly comments to students like my daughter’s second grade teacher did this past school year. “Who was y’all homeroom teacher last year, Im gonna go tell them that they ain’t teach yall nothing!” When I met with her and the principal about her comments, she said she meant no harm. 

I can’t help but wonder how many of those students took it to heart? How many did she crush emotionally? Instead of taking the time to help or get a little creative with her teaching methods, she chose to degrade the very children she was taught to teach. 

Please email us at [email protected] and let us know what do you think of this issue. #allkidsmatter #Voices4Ed

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