TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Charla Johnson teaches with tangible items

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, featuring each of the nominees for teacher of the year honors.

Vicksburg Intermediate School’s fifth-grade science teacher, Charla Johnson, takes the information on the paper and replaces it with tangible items.

“I use hands-on opportunities to help my students see the phenomena on pages as tangible,” Johnson said.

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Johnson is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award. The chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon, which has been rescheduled to Mar. 1. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

Johnson began teaching at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Texas as a substitute teacher in 2001 then eventually became a pharmacology and chemistry teacher. In 2017, Johnson was a chemistry and botany teacher at Provine High School in Jackson, Miss. Johnson then started teaching at Vicksburg High School as a biology and an Earth and space teacher in 2018. Starting in 2019, she became the science teacher and department chair at Vicksburg Intermediate School.

Johnson received a Bachelors’s in interdisciplinary studies in 2015 at Alcorn State University. In 2020, she earned a Masters of Art in teaching at Jackson State University. She then completed a Specialist degree in educational administration from Jackson State University in 2021.

As stated in her Educator of the Year application, Johnson gives an example of this teaching style during her lesson on the food chain.

“I allow them to build food chains and food webs based on the knowledge they have with animals based on biomes using figurines,” Johnson said.

Students are able to connect which animal belongs to what climate and the predator-prey relationship as mentioned in Johnson’s application. Johnson then finishes the lesson by having a discussion that clears up any misconceptions and bridges any gaps from the lesson.