‘I owe it all to God,’ Johnson voted A+mazing Teacher in elementary

Published 10:24 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

NATCHEZ — Joseph Frazier Elementary School’s Amber Johnson, a second-grade math and science teacher, said she feels “on top of the world” at the announcement that her community has voted her the most A+mazing Teacher of the Month at the elementary school level.

This online voting contest is sponsored by Sabrina Dore’ and The Democrat.

Johnson said she owes everything she has been able to accomplish in her teaching career to God, adding “I can’t do it without him. He gives me the strength every day to be knowledgeable at my job. I also couldn’t do it without my family and friends and colleagues. I have a village around me that keeps me going.”

Johnson said she is in her sixth year of teaching at Frazier.

“I knew I always wanted to be a teacher and kind of ran from it at first,” she said. She added her aunt Alma Johnson and late grandmother Katie Johnson Moore were both educators and so teaching runs in her family.

“Growing up I had some of the best teachers and I would see the impact they had on people. I wanted to be able to give back that same element. To have that impact on someone else’s life is a true calling. … After I finally decided to teach, I have no regrets.”

Johnson said on the hard days, she just remembers what her purpose is and prays for the strength to keep going.

“During COVID, teaching virtually was a challenge in the beginning but I was determined to make it as normal as I could,” she said. “My principal and my students’ parents helped support me and made sure the kids come first. Being back in person has been a good thing. I was able to navigate well through the pandemic but I’m happy to have them back in person. Through a screen, it’s harder for them to speak out when they are having trouble.”

Johnson believes what sets her apart as a teacher are the relationships she has built with each one of her students.

“I cultivate personal relationships with my students. When a child knows that you care, they perform for you.”

The biggest reward from being a teacher is seeing when her students get it, she said.

“When that light bulb goes off, the light in their eyes, those ‘aha’ moments are the best feeling ever. They have the confidence to know they can do whatever they want.”

Johnson said she goes beyond her call to teach math and science and also teaches her second graders lessons on life skills, morals and values.

“You can never start too young and they appreciate it,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for the support and for thinking of me. It means more to me than anyone will ever know. At times I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and this makes me feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”