SCHOOLS | March 23, 2022
Mr. Robert Davis has been teaching social studies at George Westinghouse College Prep for the past five years, currently teaching civics and human geography to freshmen and United States history to juniors. However, teaching wasn’t his first career. He went to college for business and worked in sales, but, after realizing that it wasn’t as fulfilling a career as he thought it would be, he pivoted to teaching through the AUSL Teacher Residency program. He joins a long line of educators in his family, including both his parents, his grandmother, and many aunts and uncles. Get to know him more below.
What would you say you are known for at Westinghouse?
I’m known as someone who tries to support my colleagues with solving some of the issues that occur in their classrooms and also works diligently to improve the school as a whole. I actually serve as the freshman grade level co-lead, which allows me to work directly with our freshman teachers to implement strategies to better support our students.
In my classroom, I try to get my students to own their learning as much as possible. If that isn’t taking place, I’m just running my mouth and my students aren’t as likely to pay attention to me. By owning their learning, my students will leave Westinghouse not only prepared for college, but also to recover from the bumps and failures that everyone experiences in life. I also build relationships with students by coaching football, basketball, and tennis.
How does your identity as a CPS graduate inform your teaching style?
I constantly speak to students about having a similar high school experience to them. I attended Whitney Young, and it was great. It solidified my belief that the interactions and experiences you have in high school that shape you and make you more than just an individual who is learning something are extremely important. I want my students to see the value in learning how to present themselves and interact with others while they take advantage of everything that is offered to them.
What is your approach to teaching social studies?
I enjoy teaching history from the perspective of multiple ethnicities. I love helping students recognize that there are intersections between Asian American culture, African American culture and history, and Latinx cultures. I want them to understand that even though my content may not be about them as individuals on a given day, we’ll get to a point where they recognize that groups throughout history were dealing with the same issues that we are dealing with now.
If you could sum up your career in one word, what would it be and why?
The word that I always come back to is “balance.” To survive in this profession, you need to figure out how to balance what’s going on around you. You need to balance the good day with the bad day and the good lesson with the bad lesson. And, above anything else, you need to achieve a work-life balance. If all I did was eat, drink, and sleep education, I don’t think I would still be an educator today.
Mr. Davis is one of the District’s 13 finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. He notes that two individuals have been especially influential in shaping him as an educator: Ms. Frances Sharp, one of his teachers at Whitney Young, and Mr. Andrew Johnson, his colleague at Westinghouse and his mentor teacher from the AUSL residency program.