Erik Johnson initially thought he was going to be a pastor, but his love of helping young people inspired him to become a teacher instead.

 

A graduate of Chugiak High School, he teaches English at Eagle River High School. The KTVA 11 News Teacher of the Week winner said the secret to his success is building rapport.

 

“I found that rapport is the most important aspect of my teaching,” Johnson said. “If I have good rapport with the students, if they feel like I listen to them and I include their input and I can talk to them about things outside of the classroom [then] all of a sudden I get a lot more buy-in in the classroom.”

 

Students told KTVA that Johnson’s approach works well with them.

 

“It makes you feel a lot more comfortable in class and it helps you learn more when you’re comfortable with the teacher and everything and it makes for a better learning environment,” said 10th-grade student Emily Ragina.

 

Johnson said it also helps to have a passion for what he does and where he works.

 

“You know, I hate to admit this but I was a little excited to come back after winter break to see the kids again and get back in the classroom and do what I love,” he said.

 

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