Faculty Focus – Mildred Johnson, Spanish instructor

A new instructor will be teaching at Columbia College–Lake County this January. If you are thinking about taking Spanish 101 Spanish I, take a few minutes to learn more about Mildred Johnson:
1) Where are you from (original hometown)?
I am from Columbus, Ohio, and a loyal Buckeyes fan, which has given me my fair share of grief from some Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin fans.

2) Tell us about your family.
I come from a small family who is now spread across the country. My older sister, Deborah, and younger sister, Phyllis, live in Arizona and Alabama, respectively, while my mother still lives in Columbus in the house we were raised in. Her home holds tons of wonderful memories of our family and her marriage of 53 years to my father, who passed away in 2002. My extended family includes six great-nieces who live in Missouri, Georgia and Washington, as well as lot of aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends. I live here in Illinois with my cat, Beasley.

3) What degrees do you hold, and where did you earn them?
I completed my bachelor of arts in Spanish at Ohio Northern University, and my master of arts in romance languages and literatures (Spanish literature) at Ohio State University.

4) Tell us about your teaching experience and work history.
I was certified to teach Spanish in Ohio in 1973, and after a career start in retail sales, began teaching in 1976. My first position was teaching Spanish I-IV at Grandview Heights High School, as well as an evening course in conversational Spanish at Franklin University in Columbus. Three years later the university recruited me to a new, full-time position as the coordinator of admissions and academic advising, which launched my seven-year career in higher education. After establishing that function, I transitioned to external admissions recruitment. I created and designed my final position as the manager for training in which I “cold-called” businesses, industries, and government and non-profit organizations regarding training and consulting services.

After leaving Franklin in 1985, I worked for the state of Ohio, Office of Collective Bargaining, as a senior training specialist, training managers to live by the first labor contracts negotiated with tens of thousands of state employees in six bargaining units. At the end of my first year with the state, I was recruited by R.G. Barry Corporation, the manufacturer of Dearfoams and other brands, to be their bilingual training manager responsible for corporate-wide training in the United States and Mexico. This launched my twenty-year career in employee and organization development that took me to management and director level positions at C&A Wallcoverings in Cleveland, the Scotts Company in Marysville, Ohio, Cincinnati Bell Telephone, NCR Corporation in Dayton, Baxter Healthcare Corporation in Deerfield, Ill., and Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee.

After experiencing the woes of business restructuring, downsizing and the unpredictability of market forces, in 2007 I returned to teaching, my first love. I am now the proud holder of a K-12 Illinois teaching certificate and currently work as the bilingual teacher at a nearby elementary school.

5) What do you most enjoy about your field?
I enjoy my students and the ability to shape and cultivate the blossoming of their skills, abilities and unique talents and gifts. There is a scholar within every student, and I am gifted with the opportunity to bring out and showcase that dimension of their personality. I also love being a lifelong learner. My students and I reap the benefits of ongoing research in learning styles, cognitive development and practical techniques and approaches that simplify and accelerate learning, application and retention. This benefits me both personally and professionally as an educator.

6) Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I am probably the only person in the country who has never seen the movie “The Lion King.”

7) What advice do you have for students taking your class this August?
The more you expose yourself to the world of Spanish language, people and culture, the more you will be able to absorb and retain. Be diligent in reading your textbook, working with the CD’s and other course materials, interacting with Spanish-speaking people and watching or reading Spanish language broadcasts or publications. ¡Buena suerte!

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