- December 2021
MSU Head Start
Years in Position: 4 months
Years at MSU: 4 months
As a Head Start teacher, Stacia Johnson is responsible for the day-to-day instruction of the 4-year-olds in her Biloxi classroom. She makes sure they are engaged in activities that nurture their curiosity and love for learning, as well as making sure they feel safe while advancing physically, socially, and cognitively.
She says teaching is something she’s always known she was created to do.
“Some people have a certain career in mind when they are younger and that changes as time goes on,” Johnson said.” But for me, teaching has always been a passion of mine, and I knew that would never change. I’ve had many teachers throughout my life that taught me so much and want to apply it in my daily life. I’m the teacher I am today because of my former teachers.”
Teaching involves more than rote instruction. The career requires heart.
“Teaching is a career where the development of your students is a top priority along with providing moral support. Rita Pierson, a famous educator, once said, ‘Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection an insists that they become the best that they can possible be.’ This quote speaks volumes. My role is to be that champion and to know that not every child will be on the same level, but I strive to meet them where they are to help them grow in all developmental domains.”
One of her favorite parts of the job is the shared learning and encouragement between her and her students.
“I learn just as much from them as they learn from me,” Johnson said. “One of my favorite memories so far was having a child draw a picture of me. When I asked him to tell me about it, he said, ‘This is you Ms. Johnson. You are safe.’ Little did he know he had encouraged his teacher.”
The one requirement Johnson said people need to succeed in the career is a passion for it.
“If you know you have a passion for teaching, go for it! It’s rewarding to see the light come on in a child’s mind and watch as their eyes brighten up when they grasp a concept.
“Other important traits are patience, a sense of humor, a love of children, compassion, creativity, empathy, and, of course, dedication. Teaching is an amazing career that I truly love!”
Johnson is a native of Brookhaven and the youngest of four children. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, reading, walks with her dog and being with family.