Karen Johnson teaches at Terreton Elementary School. Johnson teaches fifth grade language arts and social studies. She has been teaching for 20 years in West Jefferson; 11 years at Hamer and nine years at Terreton.

What made you decide to be a teacher? I used to have jobs that allowed me to work with children, and I volunteered in my own children’s classes. I love teaching and someone once told me I was really awesome at teaching and should become a teacher. So I did!

What do you enjoy about being a teacher? I love watching the “light bulb” come on when a student learns a new or difficult concept. I also enjoy interacting with the families of my students as well as the community.

What are some challenges? The biggest challenge is finding the time to teach all the things you want to teach them. Also having the resources to take learning beyond my classroom and to make their learning super engaging.

What is an experience you have had as a teacher that stands out to you? Which one do I choose? I think my second year of teaching, on 9/11, is an experience that stands out to me. That day my students and I watched the news features about the tragedy in the east. We cried, we hugged, we sang patriotic songs (their idea, not mine), and we wrote of our anger and ideas for justice to President Bush. We grieved for those affected even though we didn’t know them.

Why did you decide to teach at the school you are currently at? I decided to teach at Terreton Elementary because I did not want to teach a combined first and second grade class (I felt that it wasn’t the best group to be combined).

What is something interesting about you most of your students don’t know? Most of my students don’t know that I swam with lemon sharks and stingraysin Tahiti. That was the coolest thing ever!!

What are some things that are different in the education system now compared to when you first started teaching/when you were a student? I think there is a huge disconnect between parents and teachers. I think that students are less respectful toward their teachers, administrators and school staff as they were when I was a student. Personal technology being used inappropriately is a big problem as well. Overall, school is a great place to be. I wouldn’t want to be anything other than a teacher! Love all of you at Terreton Elementary (especially all of my 5th graders)!

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