Teacher Appreciation Week — Part One

A blog post written by a current Resident, JaVorah Davis, as she reflects on how a Memphis teacher has inspired her to become an educator.


Sandra Stepter was my Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher at Delano Optional School.

Ms. Stepter always supported me in what I needed, even after I left her class. This day she still keeps up with me and encourages me. She nourished my passion for teaching even at that young age. She saw the potential in me and gave me responsibilities in the class that adhered to that passion. I guess you can say that she was my first mentor teacher. I graded papers for her and helped with other kids. Ms. Stepter invested in me way beyond any teacher I have had. She was my first teacher and has been the one investing in me and motivating every year since. She kept up with me through my younger brother and through word of mouth. We just recently reconnected on Facebook and now she comments on my accomplishments. She keeps telling me how proud she is of me. That is why I adore and appreciate Ms. Stepter.



If you ask Ms. Stepter about me, she will tell you the same story. “I had to create extra work and special jobs for JaVorah to do because she would finish all of the work first.”



When she did, she would constantly talk to the other kids. But she wasn’t talking to distract, she talked to them to help them get the answers because she felt that they were taking too long,” said Ms. Stepter. Instead of yelling at me or complaining that I was a talker, Ms. Stepter instead chose to stimulate my mind and my curiosity. She put my desk next to hers and gave me work to grade plus extra work to do. What made this even more special was that she had a strong and good relationship with my mom. My mom had taught me before I started Kindergarten so I knew the material before entering. Ms. Stepter praised my mom about doing that and joked that now she had to do extra just for me. But she did not mind doing it. Ms. Stepter saw me as a teacher. So when I told her that I am now one, she was not surprised. The main reason why she is so special to me is because she invested in me for two years inside her classroom and then years after.


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