Bethany Lutheran teacher draws on faith in classroom
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Rob Johnson, a 28-year veteran of the classroom, has been teaching seventh grade at Bethany Lutheran School in Naperville for 15 years
Q. What do you like about teaching in a parochial school? What educational opportunities can you offer in your classroom that might not work in a public school setting?
A. I love teaching in a Lutheran school! As a Lutheran school teacher I have the wonderful privilege to be able to share our faith and teachings in the classroom. I can teach the students God's word and share with them the wonderful gift of forgiveness that Christ has won for us on the cross.
I think one thing that sets us apart is that we are a close-knit family. Not just the faculty, but also the parents and students that we serve. I really have the opportunity to get to know my students and their parents during their time here.
Q. With the school year drawing to a close, what is your goal for your students as they leave your classroom?
A. There are a couple of things that I would like my students to have as they leave my classroom. I want them to be able to share their faith, defend it and remain steadfast in that faith. I would also hope that they will take what they have learned in the classroom and use it as a launchpad for their own interests and future learning. I want them to understand that learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Q. What was your best teaching moment from the past school year and how did you pull it off?
A. All teachers have their favorite projects and units. I have a couple that I always enjoy.
First, in our sixth-grade unit on astronomy, we do some work with rockets. We go over how rockets work and then build rockets out of two-liter bottles, duct tape and miscellaneous parts. They are a lot of fun and travel 50 to 100 feet in the air before they (tragically) crash back to the earth.
My other favorite is our annual curriculum fair. The sixth- and seventh-graders do projects where they use the scientific method to answer a question. The eighth-grade has the freedom to create their own project under the supervision of one of the teachers.
In both instances, the students are creative and expand on learning from the classroom in a way that interests them. I love that I can give them the freedom to let them take what we are doing in a direction that gets them excited about learning!
Q. What's on your summer to-do list?
A. I work most of the summer maintaining and upgrading our technology. I will be expanding our Wi-Fi infrastructure in the building and adding 50 additional Chromebooks for the students to use in the classrooms.
Personally, I am looking forward to getting out to do some long-distance biking this summer. I am also planning to help with the community theater production at Bolingbrook's Theater on the Hill. Being able to spending more time with my family is always the best part of summer.