Each year, News 8 celebrates the teachers making a difference in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The five "My Favorite Teacher" honorees we salute in 2019 were nominated by students, selected by last year's teacher winners, and awarded with a gift card and other items given by Blackhawk Bank and Trust.
GENESEO, Illinois-- Step on into Mrs. Jenny Johnson's sixth grade science class. You'll learn more about science and become a better person. I know, I know. It's a big claim that needs some evidence to back it up.
"I want you to jot down what you think happened," instructs Mrs. Johnson.
But the only scientist who knows what's going to happen next is John Lopez. He has all the evidence he needs to back up this claim.
"Mrs. Johnson, you're my favorite teacher," says John.
"I'm shocked, yes. I'm shocked," says Mrs. Johnson.
"She's a great role model to look up to. I wish there were more teachers like this," says John.
It's the way Jenny shows students like John they matter.
"They''ll come to me with questions concerns or something that's happened to them," says Mrs. Johnson.
"A month ago I was having trouble with a student and the first one to show up was her," says John.
She's the ultimate investigative confidante and problem solver who never stops teaching.
"I try to do it in a way that's a learning experience. Not oh, you're in trouble because you did this, but how can we learn from this?" says Mrs. Johnson.
Creativity in every lesson play, today it's learning about scientific investigations through a murder mystery.
But that's not all the evidence that lands Mrs. Johnson the My Favorite Teacher title.
"The science comes second. What comes first is kindness to one another, teaching that kindness, showing that kindness, so it spreads," says Mrs. Johnson.
Her students to have to experiment to find out what kind of person they want to be. They have all the elements they need in Mrs. Johnson.
"If they don't feel comfortable, if they don't feel respected, then they're not going to learn. So to develop that relationship with them, to take the time to do that, you're going to get more out of them in the long run because they know you care so they care."