Teacher Spotlight: MCC’s Brooks Johnson, getting kids active.

April 28, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: MCC’s Brooks Johnson, getting kids active.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

SCOTTVILLE – Mason County Central elementary physical education teacher Brook Johnson believes physical education is just as important as academics. 

“Teaching PE is just as important as any other core subject,” she said. “Children need to learn physical skills to be able to perform well academically. Locomotor skills are important in a child’s development. Skills such as skipping, running, jumping and hopping are vital to a child’s development. Physical activity at a young age can also help with children’s overall health throughout their lifetime.”

Johnson is in her 28th year of education.

She graduated from North Farmington High School and then received a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in 1991. In 1997, she earned a master’s degree in administration from Grand Valley State University. 

“I started right out of college with a PE teaching job for Interlochen Arts Academy,” she said. “I taught high school PE for two years there, teaching an international population.”

Johnson said she didn’t really have a big desire to go into education when she was 18, but it has turned out great for her and she couldn’t imagine not working with kids.

“The best thing about teaching is by far the kids that I have had over the years,” she said. “I know we all say that, but it’s the truth. Every day is a new day with the kids, and you never know what the day will bring you. The friendships that I have made through the years with colleagues have also been priceless.”

This school year is Johnson’s 23rd at MCC and she feels that being able to educate students on the importance of physical education has been very fulfilling. 

Helping the physical development of students is not always what people first think about when they think physical education, Johnson said. A lot of times, the extra-curricular activities are what come to mind instead.

“Being in physical education, sometimes, I feel as if people think that it’s all about sports,” she said. “It’s not. Yes, we teach sports/sports-related skills, but it’s all about lifetime skills for lifetime activities for me and my students. It’s not that we don’t play games, it’s more about the process of getting there and developing a love for activity and movement.”

With COVID-19 affecting the schools on a daily basis, Johnson said it can affect PE teachers even more than those in the regular classroom, especially with all the equipment used and the need to be in-person to complete a lot of the activities effectively.

“This year has really been a struggle,” she said. “I’m hoping that the kids don’t feel it as much as the adults are, but it has been tough. In my position there have been things that we have been unable to do because of the types of equipment that we use or the crossing over of classes. Cleaning between classes coming and going has been the issue with several of activities that I teach and have therefore been forgone this year. The fact that I am also one of the only times the students get to leave the four walls of their regular classrooms has also made me rethink the way I teach. When a classroom gets shutdown, there just isn’t time to go back and reteach what they have missed.”

With all the new accommodations and pressures that COVID-19 has brought about to the educational world and all the new requirements teachers face each year, Johnson said none of that should affect one’s decision to seek an education degree.

“Loving what you do is important if you are going to have a career in education know matter the subject,” she said. “If you love it, do it.”

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