Roy Gilbert

Lansing teachers work from home amid uncertainties about their jobs and public education

Sixth-grade teacher Mikaila Davis of Lansing poses for a portrait outside her home, Wednesday, May 13, 2020.  She has had to finish the school year teaching her students at Sheridan Road STEM remotely.

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Sixth-grade teacher Mikaila Davis of Lansing poses for a portrait outside her home, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. She has had to finish the school year teaching her students at Sheridan Road STEM remotely. (Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal) Mikaila Davis wanted to be the teacher she didn’t have as a second grader.

Most of the teachers at her majority black school in Mississippi were white. As the only white girl in her class, Davis noticed her teacher treated her better than her black peers.

Davis vowed to become a teacher who built relationships with all students while treating them equally.

But these days, she’s facing the challenge of building relationships with students online as effectively as she did in person. She’s also worried about equal education for those who can’t speak English well and those without internet access.

She is now a sixth-grade teacher at Lansing’s Sheridan Road STEM Magnet School, where two-thirds of the students are immigrants and refugees.

“There is talk of online education next year and how we are forgetting a whole group of people who don’t have access to those resources,” Davis said. “It’s sad we had to have a pandemic happen to discuss equity in education.”

She’s already seen that not every student joins in online or has the ability to do so. Reaching all parents hasn’t been easy. Students who freely shared their lives and traumas have become tight lipped. And ascertaining who is understanding concepts and who is struggling has become difficult.“I don’t have children of my […]

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