The Extraordinary Mr. Johnson

A feature on the school's most prized substitute teacher

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The Extraordinary Mr. Johnson

Ava Dreessen, Ad Manager/ Copy Editor

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Displayed along with the full suit, handkerchief, and endless array of goofy ties to top his signature look, lies the warmest smile on the most memorable face students pass by within the hallways of Skutt Catholic. This is David Johnson.

Being the most prominent substitute, its almost difficult not to have a class with him every once in a while, and nothing beats the euphoria of seeing him stand outside your classroom door before the bell rings.

As all of his students know, his classes often begin with a reading of the most interesting recent news stories, always accompanied by his silly jokes and catchphrases like “idiot of the week” and “… and that’s why they call it dope.” This practice has been a part of  Johnson’s teaching method for years. “I’ve found that if you get the kids laughing the first five minutes, they become more perceptive and ready for class. It puts them in a good mood,” he stated.

Before teaching, his career started within the Air Force, working as a medic in the hospital for over twenty years. “After I retired, I was a radio disc jockey up in Minnesota. Then, I went back to school, got my teaching degree at UNO, and taught for ten years in Iowa.” Following his years in Iowa, he worked for the Omaha Symphony for three years, until fate called him back into the school. “I missed the kids so much that I got back into student teaching. Kids are just fun,” he explained.

Johnson’s warmth and kindness are contagious. Not a single passing period goes by where he doesn’t spark a conversation with a passing student. He once stopped me in the hallway and handed me a little gold coin, with angels imprinted on each side, and told me, “This is a guardian angel coin, you can keep it with you wherever you go, and your guardian angel will be there with you,” and I’ve kept it in my wallet ever since.

Mr. Johnson, even though a substitute teacher, is one of the unforgettable staff members that we are all so lucky to have within our school, and he’ll continue to brighten the hallways of Skutt Catholic on the days we all look forward to, the ones where he fills in.