“I am one of those teachers who believes these are my children,” says Jason Johnson. “I fight for them, cry with them, and go beyond what the job calls on me to do.”
Mr. Johnson credits his dedicated approach to three of his high school teachers who encouraged him to grow academically, as well as socially and emotionally. What they imparted to him is what he brings to his scholars every day at Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, where he teaches fifth grade science.
One of the valuable lessons he learned from his teachers is the importance of making science real and applicable to the students’ lives. “Knowing their interests, strengths, and weaknesses allows me to tailor lessons for them,” Mr. Johnson says.
He also customizes his teaching to the unique set of challenges his students face. “This student population is dealing with so much, it requires me to be creative as a teacher, mentor, and for some, a parental figure,” Mr. Johnson says. Students and their families appreciate this approach. One parent even said, “My daughter tells her dad that Mr. Johnson is her dad at school.”
Mr. Johnson explains that the kids are at an age where they are affected by what people say about them, so he also helps them prepare for the preteen years. “What matters is what you’re learning now and the character you’re developing,” he tells them.
“This won’t get easier as they move into middle school,” he adds. Mr. Johnson wants his scholars to build a sense of independence in terms of their learning. He wants them to be self-motivated—not just go to class, but to pursue academic exploration.
Mr. Johnson is also known for promoting a culture of high academic expectations, and has a reputation for being a stern disciplinarian. This helps push the students to succeed and achieve great things.
Learning about the solar system is critical, but so is caring for their well-being outside of the classroom. “My hope for them is that they grow as people while we’re together.”