“I have to be their guide. I have to be the one who cares. I have to be the one who thinks of their future because they may not have anyone else who cares.”
These are words to live by, according to Mingo County Schools English teacher Lorraine Davis. Since 2006, Mrs. Davis has served as that one caring adult to her 10th and 11th grade students at Tug Valley High School.
“I love the daily interaction with my students. I understand teaching is far more than teaching a particular subject. It is important to know that when you build a positive relationship with your students, they are far more likely to acquire the academic skill you are teaching. Building those relationships where students know they have an advocate is my favorite part of the job.”
Believe it or not, teaching is Mrs. Davis’ second career. After being a banker for 18 years, she sought to pursue her dream job in education.
“Being a banker was not emotionally fulfilling. I had always wanted to be a teacher, but circumstances dictated postponing my education, so at the age of 36, I went back to college to fulfill that dream. Teaching is my calling, and I am so glad I answered that call.”
Mrs. Davis said she has had many moments as a teacher that made her see the benefit of being that one caring adult for all students.
“I had a particular student for both years, and this child was particularly frustrating because he had all of the potential in the world. He was a very intelligent child, yet I spent countless hours contacting his guardians, searching for him during lunch, and repeatedly coercing him to complete his assignments. Honestly, it got to the point that I felt like giving up, but I continued on because I did not want to let any student slip through the cracks.”
And slip through the cracks, he did not.
“This child graduated this year, and on his last day of school, he came to my room, looked me in the eye, and thanked me for everything I did for him. That was an emotional moment for me,” Mrs Davis said. “What if I had just given up and allowed the student to fail? I was reminded they are just children who make mistakes, who do not see the importance of particular things, and who do not realize they are making immature decisions. I was literally in tears and gained a newfound dedication to make sure that I do everything humanly possible to help my students.”
Mrs. Davis is a summa cum laude graduate of Marshall University. She is the English Department chair, and an active member of the Local School Improvement Council and the Leadership team. Also, she is a recipient of the 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Mrs. Davis’ English students repeatedly have the top proficiency score in the county on the state assessment. Furthermore, Mrs. Davis teaches the Advance Placement English Language and Composition course at Tug Valley High, and her students had a 60% pass rate for the 2020 school year on the national AP Exam for Language and Composition.