Keizer teacher bows out after 4 decades of sharing knowledge

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Connie Johnson’s affinity for science fiction has served her well in four decades as a teacher. The Claggett Creek Middle School teacher’s penchant for dystopian futures – as seen in the likes of books such as The Hunger Games – has provided a gateway for reaching the young minds she’s encountered as a middle school teacher. It doesn’t hurt that such books have paved the way for teaching one of her favorites, Elie Wiesel’s Night. “It strikes them right between the eyes because it sounds like a science fiction novel, but it really happened,” Johnson, who’s retiring this year, said. Night is Wiesel’s memoir of the time he spent in Nazi concentration camps with his father at the height of World War II. Johnson discovered quickly that the themes of the book and the age of the author at the time he was writing about, 16, dovetail nicely for eighth graders even when the inhumanities described are enough to turn the reader pale. “My goal each year in teaching (Night) has been to send forth 120 to 150 students each year who will make certain it never happens again,” she said. With enough time, water coagulates under any bridge, but Johnson is adamant that teaching is “the best profession in the world.” The students, she said, are the reasons she will miss...

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