Interview with new business teacher Carla Johnston
How many years have you been teaching?
Johnston: “This is my 11th year overall.”
Where did you teach before this?
Johnston: “I was at Manhattan High [School] for the last eight years, and I taught for two years at Rossville.”
What was your college major?
Johnston: “It was accounting. I got a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in Business Administration, prior to getting certifications in business education and gifted education.”
What are the major stresses in being a teacher, especially a new one?
Johnston: “Learning new subjects, because it has been several years. I had done gifted education for the last six years, so haven’t taught business for six years, so learning the material again, and the time commitment. Any educator would probably tell you that there is never enough hours in the day to plan and prepare and grade and probably do justice to your content area. You could always use more time.”
What is the one thing you struggle with as a teacher?
Johnston: “Probably realizing that every lesson is not going to be perfect, that I can’t spend hours and hours on every single lesson, that I need to do the best that I can for that day for that class period for that class and move on and start looking at the next class period.”
What gives you the drive to still teach?
Johnston: “Just helping kids. There are so many that need so much, and if I can do just a little, tiny bit to help, then it’ll be worthwhile. And, it is worthwhile.”
Has business always been your passion for teaching?
Johnston: “It has been, yes. I really really have enjoyed the content area, and now specifically since business is teaching personal finance, which we did not do previously or eight years ago when I was teaching at Rossville, I really love the personal finance component. I feel like that’s something that students desperately need. So, I really enjoy that part of it.”
Have you always wanted to be a teacher?
Johnston: “You know, I did want to be a teacher. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a fifth grade math teacher because I loved my fifth grade math teacher, then my high school guidance counselor told me that ‘you’re good at math, you need to be an accountant,’ and so I was an accountant for 14 years and was volunteering at the elementary school that my kids went to, and it kind of reignited that passion for wanting to teach again. So, yeah, I guess I have always wanted to be a teacher.”
Who have been your major influences?
Johnston: “Certainly, [physical education teacher] Mr. [Jim] Johnston has been an influence. He has always definitely wanted to teach and coach and help kids and has been doing it all of his life, and so he has been a huge influence. My sister is also a teacher, my aunt is also a teacher, and so I kind of come from a family of teachers, and they have all been a big influence on me.”
How do you feel about teaching in the same building as your husband, Mr. Johnston?
Johnston: “I think it’s pretty cool. I get a ride to school every day, and yeah, if I need lunch money, he’s right down the hall.”
Interview by staff member Blake Ruder
Photo courtesy of Interstate Studios