Cindy Johnson – Math
2012-2013 Teacher of the Year
Cindy Johnson, a math teacher at Union High School, was named the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013 by her peers.
Johnson became a teacher to make a difference.
“My love for teaching began when I was very young,” Johnson said. “I frequently played school with my sister, trying to teach her everything that I knew. I enjoyed the feeling that I felt when she understood what I was trying to teach. That feeling is what keeps me in teaching today. I find joy in hearing my students say that the mathematics makes sense and is useful.”
Johnson’s favorite teaching method is activity-based learning.
“I enjoy using students’ background knowledge and creating a step-by-step activity that guides the students into new knowledge,” Johnson said. “My role is then transformed into becoming the facilitator. I can travel around the room and observe the students applying new knowledge as I check for understanding. I have the opportunity to answer all questions as they arise. This method of teaching allows me to focus on the individual needs of my students.”
The greatest issue with students today is time management, Johnson reasoned. “Most students are being pulled several directions. They have schedules that keep them busy every evening of the week plus weekends. Many students are involved in several school activities, sports, church activities and employment, just to name a few. Students don’t have the time management skills to be able to focus on homework for the amount of time required. When the students wait until late in the evening to work on homework, they may or may not have access to technology. The school offers students the opportunity to use school computers while at school, but students must plan ahead to utilize this opportunity.”
Johnson started teaching at Union High School in 2001. “In 2005, I moved to Checotah when my husband had a career change. In 2009, we had the opportunity to return to the Tulsa area. I desired to return to return to Union High School. While away from Union, I realized how important it is to have several other teachers willing to discuss the curriculum taught. I enjoy working in a district that supports collaboration with peers.
“My first goal is to help teachers who are new to the profession. As teachers enter the profession, they are desperate for assistance. For the first time ever, they are thrown in on the first day of school all alone with students waiting for them to give instruction. New teachers need guidance on where to start, identifying objectives to be covered, knowing the speed in which objectives can be covered. As I work with new (and intern) teachers, I am very intentional about letting them know how I think as I decide upon objectives to be taught and which or how many problems are to be assigned. I teach them my thought process that I use as I create new activities and projects for my students to complete. My ongoing goal is to keep new math teachers in the teaching profession.
“Another one of my goals is to use technology. I strive to keep up with the latest technology in graphing calculators. As I work with students using graphing calculators, they are learning how to effectively use technology to save time. Our students will always be around technology. We must prepare them for their career field, even though some of the fields do not even exist today.
“My third goal is be maintain an awareness of changes within education. Over the past few years, there have been frequent discussions about the changes needed in the curriculum being taught. I have continued to seek information and shared my opinions about Common Core State Standards so that my students will be successful.”
Johnson graduated from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., with a master’s degree in special education for the regular classroom. She received her bachelor’s in math education from the University of Central Oklahoma and her associate’s degree from Ross State College in Midwest City.
She has state teaching certifications in: Algebra, Analysis, Calculus, General Mathematics, Geometry, Statistics and trigonometry. And, Johnson is National Board Certified in Adolescence and Young Adulthood/Mathematics.