Certiport Teacher Appreciation Week: Fred Johnson

We’re getting close to the end of Teacher Appreciation week, but, to be honest, that probably won’t stop us from highlighting amazing teachers like Fred Johnson. Fred is a dedicated educator at Carver Middle School in Orlando. We’re big Fred fans, along with his nominator. She said, “Fred is the kind of young teacher that we need in our field! He is coachable but also very innovative when it comes to translating the material to the students.”

Read all about Fred’s teaching journey:

Certiport: Happy Teacher Appreciation week, Fred!
Fred: Thank you! It’s such an honor to get recognized by the team at Certiport.

Certiport: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about what grades and classes you teach.
Fred: Currently, I teach sixth through eighth grade students. I teach three different classes, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) 1, ICT 2, and Digital Information Technology (DIT). ICT 1 has all three grades and ICT 2 has seventh and eighth graders. DIT is only eighth graders but is a high school level course where students take the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams!

Certiport: Good for you! Pushing your students to new heights. Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?
Fred: High school was a very transformative time in my life, and I had several great teachers that made a big impact on me! I then volunteered with an organization called Young Life all through college where I worked with high school students. As an education major, I did classroom hours in schools. I loved seeing how much of a positive influence I could have on students. Plus, I saw that there were lots of needs in our schools. I had a knack for technology, so it all came together!

Certiport: It certainly did. Do you still love teaching as much as you did when you first started teaching?
Fred: I really do. I love that each day I get to make a difference in a kid’s life. Many times, I can be the difference between a kid having a good day and a bad day. I love getting to expose students to great career opportunities with skills they often didn’t know they already had!

Certiport: You’re just bringing out what they already have within them. I think everyone needs someone to do that for them.
Fred: I completely agree. It’s amazing to be a teacher and help students see the potential they have.

Certiport: Absolutely. Do you feel that earning certifications in your classroom is a part of reaching that potential?
Fred: I really do. Many of my students are already great with technology and can put together comprehensive documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and e-mails. But when going to an employer, just saying “I’m good with computers” only means so much. Having an internationally recognized certification validating their skills sets them apart from their peers and can get them access to great jobs, oftentimes while they’re still in school!

Certiport: What an amazing gift you’re giving them! Did you have a specific moment from this last year that really stands out?
Fred: At this point, I can’t brag about how many hundreds of students are getting certifications in my classroom. However, this year we had our first ever (to my principal and my knowledge) student complete the Microsoft Office Specialist certification! Also, my wife and I had a baby in January, and seeing my students’ reactions was really fun.

Certiport: Congratulations on both of those accomplishments. Good things in your work and professional life!
Fred: Thank you and thank you for saying professional life. I often feel like teachers aren’t treated as professionals. I remember at one school, someone would bring the leftover bread from a bakery days later. I felt like we were being treated like hardened, old bread was a treat. However, when parents, students, and the community recognize the hard work we do in the classroom and the value of our efforts, it really empowers us teachers as professionals. True teacher appreciation is more of an attitude than a specific gift or thank you card.

Certiport: I can only imagine how hard it is when you’re in the daily grind of teaching. What advice would you give to other CTE teachers in a similar situation?
Fred: Stick with it. Teaching can be frustrating, and the system is broken in a lot of ways. But we choose to operate within that system to make positive changes in our schools and more importantly in peoples’ lives! Every kid has dignity and is worth our best efforts!

Keep coming back for more amazing teacher highlights. You can also learn more from teachers just like Fred at this year’s (online) CERTIFIED Educator Conference. Get all the details here.