Teacher Feature: Kermetria Johnson helps students grow socially, academically

By April Clark Honaker

Kermetria Johnson’s path to teaching was not straight, but it was the right path for her. Johnson is beginning her thirteenth year of teaching and her seventh year at Cypress Springs Elementary where she teaches third grade ELA — English Language Arts. 

After earning a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing from Tuskegee University, Johnson wasn’t sure what to do next, but she wasn’t without direction.

“Everything happens for a reason exactly as it’s supposed to,” she said. “There’s only so long you can run from your purpose.” 

Johnson was working at a bank part time and taking some classes in the English department at Louisiana Tech when she started to feel pulled toward a career of service. At the time, Johnson was unsure whether she wanted to work with children or adults.

“But there was a longing to make a difference,” she said.

After making the switch to education, Johnson knew she had found her purpose.

“I knew it was the right fit,” she said. “This was where I needed to be.”   

Coming from a long line of educators, Johnson felt things had come full circle. She said to herself, “Let’s go with what you know in your heart–what you actually want, your purpose and what you actually want to do.” 

Since then, a passion for teaching has kept Johnson coming back year after year.

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion, and your passion will lead you to your purpose,” she said.

Johnson’s favorite thing about teaching ELA is that she gets to teach the foundation of reading.

“I want kids to love to read,” she said. Johnson also wants to provide her students with opportunities to read texts from a variety of cultures and perspectives. “Reading allows for world travel,” she said, “without ever leaving your home or your classroom.”

Johnson strives to be creative in her approach and to foster students’ engagement with every text.

“I meet students where they are,” she said, “and progress them to where they need to be.”

At the same time, Johnson lets her students know that her classroom is a safe place to make mistakes.

“I give them grace,” she said. “I don’t expect perfection from them, but I expect their best.”

Although teaching the curriculum is important to Johnson, there is so much more to teaching for her.

“I’m not just there teaching to the test,” she said. “I can go in and do my thing, but I’m also there to show them somebody in the classroom cares for them. I’m there to help them grow socially and academically. I want to support them in all areas of development.”

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