Double duty for Davison


photo courtesy of Mattie Watson

English teacher and college counselor Alison Davison sits down with a student to discuss his course requirements for graduating.

Mischa Trainor, Reporter

Whether she is showcasing different cultures in World Literature or helping out a student with the college process, English teacher and college counselor Alison Davison is always making an impact on juniors and seniors as she teaches and counsels. She has a deeply rooted motivation behind her job because of the connection she has to the value of Jewish education.

“I think I am a better teacher at a Jewish day school because I was a student at a Jewish day school [and] because I know what it’s like to balance Judaic studies and secular studies and take eight or nine courses,” Davison said. “I loved the fact that I could shift context all the time between studying Tanakh and Talmud, and then reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ and making connections between the two.”

After finishing graduate school and a brief stint of teaching at Georgetown University, Davison was hired as an English teacher at CESJDS in 2011. She started out teaching ninth grade ECP English and eleventh grade advanced English.

“It was a steep learning curve. JDS has [a] totally different English curriculum than any high school I had ever experienced,” Davison said. “And I just had so much collaboration in the department.”

While Davison appreciated the support from her colleagues, she enjoyed teaching the students even more. The following year, she spoke at the 2013 senior class’ Siyum, a class that has always remained special to her.

After teaching at JDS from 2011 to 2013, Davison left to be the director of the writing program at Montgomery College. Davison was only there for three months because she did not find it as exciting as teaching. Since JDS had already hired a replacement, Davison was hired as a long term substitute at Bullis for a teacher on maternity leave. In 2014, she was given a permanent position there as an English teacher, and later as a college counselor. Davison returned to JDS in 2017 as an English teacher for senior courses and has remained at the school ever since.

“I really missed it; it feels like family here,” Davison said. “I went to a Jewish day school growing up. I love how it’s both a place to work, but you also have friends and colleagues who just get you.”

Davison knew that coming back to JDS was the right decision when she was on maternity leave. She received a care package that contained bibs with lions, the JDS mascot, on them from the PTA, and she couldn’t wait for her baby to wear it, even though it wouldn’t fit for a while.

Students rely on Davison for help with English, the college process and more.

“She was always there to help whenever I need[ed] any help with my college essays or with English,” Max Portnoy (‘19) said. “I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

As a World Literature teacher, college counselor and mother of a toddler, Davison has a lot on her plate. She enjoys finding a balance between all of her responsibilities and passions. In her limited amount of spare time, she enjoys hiking and reading, specifically historical fiction about American expats in the 1920s.

Davison has the opportunity to both see the students she works with grow academically and figure out their future. She has the opportunity to have a great discussion with her students in class and then see them later and talk about their future.

“It is sort of the ideal situation,” Davison said. “It’s my dream job.”

This story was featured in the Volume 36, Issue 5 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on March 15, 2019.