- Nina Johnson
Program / Year
Master of Arts in Teaching ’18
Elementary Education and ESOL
What led you to enroll at Lewis & Clark's Graduate School of Education and Counseling?
I chose Lewis & Clark for the focus on social justice and the fact that I had worked in schools with past Lewis & Clark graduates and they were always the people in the building who I aspired to be.
Who or what inspired you to pursue your chosen field of study?
I chose education because I feel that it is a place where I can have positive influential experiences with people, personally grow, and love what I do.
What does social justice mean to you?
Social justice means that all people are able to live a life that they choose.
How do you hope to apply your social justice education in your chosen career?
Being a part of education, I hope to prepare people to discover themselves and make choices towards the future they desire. I will explore with my students, challenging them to be curious of the world beyond what they know.
Where have you been working/interning as a student, and what does that work entail?
I have been interning as a student teacher in North Clackamas School District at Mt. Scott Elementary School in 4th grade. My work entails planning and teaching math, science, history, reading, writing, SEL, and everything else. I make sure to go to recess or PE with my students once a week so that I can make connections with them beyond the classroom. I also get to work with other amazing teachers, and am soaking up everything I can.
What is the most fun part of your program?
The people. My cohort is amazing and I feel so grateful that they will be the teachers educating the future.
What is the hardest part of your program?
Time management has been difficult. Balancing school work, student teaching, personal life, and the random shock to life that pops up, it can become really overwhelming.
Who has been your most influential professor, and why?
Linda Griffin has rocked my math world. I tell my students about her all of the time and use so many of the ideas that she has shared with us in my classroom regularly. She’s someone who has seen us all cry, fail, laugh, and still unconditionally supports us.
What is a unique perspective you bring to your cohort?
Lewis & Clark is predominantly white, and being biracial continues to be difficult. I’m starting to find connections at LC, and recognizing how my different perspective needs to be heard.
What career will you be pursuing after graduation? Did you intend for this to be your career path when you enrolled?
Elementary teacher in a public school district. Yes, I did intend this path when I enrolled.
Describe an "ah-ha" or "right-turn" moment you have experienced here - a time when your perspective, opinion, outlook, or goals changed suddenly due to a specific experience.
I was in a social studies class and we had to write our purpose for teaching. I found myself continually coming back to how important it is to me to teach students of color. Growing up I never had a teacher who looked like me. It’s made me realize that going into the field of education, working with diverse populations is my driving force.
What do you think of Portland?
Portland is anything you want it to be. It’s a small city that is growing fast, with a lot of people doing amazing work. There are so many opportunities to collaborate and grow as a human.