You almost never hear anything good about public schools in Detroit. In fact, it’s always bad news about decaying building conditions, persistant staffing issues, and complicated political struggles at all levels. Given that context it’s hard to see how local students, parents, or educators could feel good about the world they live in each day. We highlight this piece below as one of the many stories that gets lost in the negativity, the story of real people who are talented and committed to the success of a great city. Bernita Bradely wrote this for the blog Detroit Schools Rock.
Grammatical errors are everywhere—and I should know. Despite the energy and thought I give to pouring my passion into every blog I write my writing remains imperfect.
This brings me to the thought of how important it is for our young people to learn to write. It’s so needed in a world full of ebonics and shortcuts! We replace U with you, 2 with to, too or two, and IKR is one of many acronyms used in everyday writing. I think a new one comes out daily.
This week’s Faces of the D subject is Mr. Jihad Fahs, aka “The Educator,” has taught reading and writing to eighth-graders for two years. He’s 25 and has worked with families since 2010. Educators ignited him to become a great educator himself, willing to find ways to ignite imaginations and spark action in our youth.
Currently his class at DEPSA Junior Academy is reading “I Know why the Caged Bird Sings,” a classic that every child should indulge in. He challenges students to hear what they read and make a connection to the stories. Thought-provoking conversations called team talks prompt students to act as reporters and monitor current events.
And he loves checking for errors.
No doubt if one of his students is interviewed 10 years from now their answer to the question, “Who inspired you to be a teacher?” will be “The Educator,” Mr. Jihad Fahs.
Q: Why Detroit?
A: Detroit is my second home. Even though my family and me are Lebanese born, I still consider Detroit my home. My cultural identity as an Arab (Lebanese) person is incredibly important to me. The reason I love Detroit so much is I see the spirit of my people within the city. Detroit has been stepped on and destroyed by outside interests, corruption and mismanagement, just like my country.
However, the tenacity and refusal to give up is why I love it here so much. The people here have pride for their home, and that is rare.
Q: Name an experience that prompted you to work in your field.
A: Growing up as an English-language learner, I can attribute my success to all my English teachers. They helped to give me the most important gift of all–communication. I loved my time in school and I want to help other learners feel the same way.
Q: How would you like to see the city grow?
A: I would like to see the neighborhoods grow. Yeah, the revitalization of Downtown and Midtown is great, but all that does is bring in richer people from the suburbs, raising rent and displace the people who have already been here. I want an ethical government/person to invest in the neighborhoods and uplift the people already here. Bring back the local businesses and public schools we can be proud of!
Q: What would you tell a youth that you wished someone told you?
A: Natural intelligence and skill doesn’t matter. All that matters is how hard you work. Yeah, natural talent makes things a bit easier, but all the natural talent in the world means nothing unless you work at something.
Q: What would you like to share with others?
A: In Donald Trump’s America, it’s more important than ever that we all stand together, especially people of color.