Friday, November 6, 2015

Please remember: Teachers do inspire their students

by Jim Schaefer

    In the hustle and bustle of everyday school life, it is easy to lose track of a very important truth: Teachers can and do inspire their students.
    In his latest book, David Maraniss (2015) noted how Martha Reeves, the famous Detroit singer, was started on the path to fame and glory by Emily Wagstaff, her music teacher at Russell Elementary School. Reeves said that “beautiful, little German lady” chose Reeves to be a soloist and instructed her on ways to fill out [her] greatness” (p. 101).
    Later, at Northwestern High, another music teacher, Abraham Silver, taught Reeves and the other students to earn freedom through discipline, so they could move freely into various of music, including jazz, pop, rhythm and blues. Reeves said that Silver also taught her not only how to sing but to read music correctly.
    Of course it was up to Reeves to pursue her career, which she did and was able to participate the “creativity, chaos, and freedom that made Motown possible” (p. 102).


Maraniss, D. (20150. Once in a great city: A Detroit      story. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

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