After graduating from Little Wolf High School in 2008, Brad Johnson headed to Ripon College with the idea of getting into the medical field.
“I knew I could help people there and that’s really what I like to do,” Johnson said. “But the number of years I would have went to school and maybe the blood and stuff, that pushed me away a little bit.”
Johnson’s first summer home from college helped him discover what career path he wanted to take.
“When I came home and helped in the summers in the weight room, I just loved coaching kids up and taking them under my wing,” Johnson said. “That really led into going into the education field. I love helping people. My professors and advisors talked to me about that and I decided that teaching was the best for me.”
When he returned to college as a sophomore, he chose his major in the education field.
Being able to help people was the determining factor in Johnson choosing to become a teacher.
“I like to help people but I like to give them my knowledge and the experiences that I’ve been through,” Johnson said. “The things that I’ve been able to see and do help me to be a better teacher or a better coach or a better life mentor.”
He also received support from the faculty at the School District of Manawa.
“Coach Bortle was probably my biggest supporter,” Johnson said. “He helped talk me into it. He said, ‘You’d be a great teacher.'”
This week, Johnson finished nine weeks of student teaching at the Manawa Elementary School. He will now student teach in the School District of New London for nine weeks, before receiving his teaching license in January.
Now that Johnson is experiencing life in the classroom, he said he enjoys seeing the students come to school every day with a smile on their faces. He also enjoys guiding the students to success.
“Getting them motivated, that’s the challenge,” Johnson said.
Being a student teacher in the district he went to school at also has its advantages, Johnson said.
“They’ve had me in class, they know I was that talkative kid,” Johnson said. “They are really giving me a lot of great experiences and I’m really comfortable here, so I really like that aspect.”
Manawa Elementary School Principal Megan Yeska said Johnson did all the leg work to be able to student teach in the district, and the district was happy to have him.
“He’s demonstrated professionalism, even asking me to come in and do a formal evaluation on him using the same teacher effectiveness model we use with our staff,” Yeska said. “He was very receptive to learning more about what it means to become a teacher and is receptive to suggestions and is very eager to become a part of everything we do here. He took it a step further in most cases.”
Yeska said the district is excited about Johnson becoming a part of the education field.
Johnson said he has enjoyed his time as a student teacher in Manawa.
“My time here has been enjoyable and I’d love to teach here someday,” Johnson said.