Career Spotlight Series: Elementary School Teacher

Name: Brandee Johnson
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
College/University: University of Texas at Arlington
Degrees: Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science, Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Fun Facts: I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. I’ve lived in Istanbul, Turkey. I have a 3 year old, Chase, who I treat like my child.image (3)

  1. How did you find/obtain your job?

I was referred by my former principal. He was good friends with my principal and felt his campus was a great place for me to grow professionally.

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?

Hectic! I have to be on campus at 7:35am. I pick up my students at 7:40 and we migrate to the classroom to have breakfast until 7:55am. The tardy bell rings, and we begin class! I teach reading to my 1st group of students until 8:50am then I take them to Specials. They are there for an hour. During that hour, I am either planning, making copies, analyzing data, or meeting with administration about student data. I pick them up at 9:55am and I continue teaching them until 11:30. At that time, I switch with my coteacher and get my 2nd group. I teach the same exact lesson to them until recess and lunch. At 1:10pm, we return to the classroom and continue the lesson until dismissal at 2:55pm. After dismissal, I usually stay until 4:30pm to prepare for the next day’s lesson. The day is full of interruptions and transitions but, as a teacher, you learn to go with the flow!image (4)

  1. What do you like most about your job? Least?

I love the students! They definitely keep me on my toes and teach me all the new dances and songs before my friends know them! I also love the joy of seeing each of my students grow academically throughout the school year. It’s special to see them conquer skills they thought they could never achieve.

  1. What advice would you give someone seeking to enter this industry?

I would tell aspiring teachers to make sure you’re entering teaching for the right reason; to inspire and educate the future. Teaching is not all about the “summers off.” When you’re a teacher, you deal with much more than academics. You have to be ready to support these kids mentally and emotionally.

  1. How do you feel being a Black woman in your industry?

When I first began teaching, I always questioned myself. “Am I coming off too aggressive?” “Was that too loud?” “Is my natural hair professional enough?” As I became confident in my skills and comfortable in my skin, those things didn’t seem to matter. My qualifications and work ethic prove that I am proficient and professional. Those are the things that matter.image (2)

  1. What advice would you give to other women of color who want to be like you?

The sky is the limit. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens!

  1. What would you tell your 16 year old self?

I would have told myself to apply to an HBCU. I had an amazing experience at UTA but I felt like I missed out on a lot of cultural experiences.

  1. Who do you aspire to be? Who are your role models – dead or alive?

I am honestly aspiring to be the best God fearing woman I can be. Everyday is a new opportunity for me to be great and I take the challenge with full force!

  1. What is the most important thing you’ve done in your lifetime so far?

I think the most important thing I’ve done is accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. Without him, I would not have come this far. I know if I continue to do so my possibilities are endless.

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