Fletcher Teacher Shares Challenges, Rewards

Johnna Conti is dedicated to her work, and believes each day is a chance to have the day of a lifetime. With the changing pace of education, each day is a new adventure that she gets to embark on.

Conti said this pace keeps her coming back each day. She is a first-grade teacher at Fletcher Elementary School, but has been with the district for 17 years. Before that, Conti taught kindergarten for two years in Albany.

In the following interview, she gives readers an insight into why she became a teacher, what makes it exciting and what she does in her free time.

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PJ: What makes teaching students so interesting? Do you have a particular story you’d like to share?

JC: I love to teach! I love that each day of my job is a new day, a new chance at a great day! My job as a teacher is rarely the same. The students are ALL unique. Each year bring a new group of personalities and learning styles that you get very attached to. They become my school family! It is hard to pick one story to sum up this profession. I feel that all my stories ( I have many) add to why I come back year after year, day after day.

PJ: What got you interested in your subject?

JC: I became interested in becoming a teacher when I was very young. My mother was a teacher and I grew up watching and hearing her live the life of a teacher. I think that as I spent time working jobs that specifically had hands on experience with children, I became convinced that this was the profession for me.

PJ: What are some hobbies and interests you have?

JC: My hobbies and interests include spending time in nature. I love hikes in the woods. I love to read and cook. I enjoy yoga and running. I am very close to my family. I also have many close friends that I love spending time with.

PJ: Is there anything about teaching that is especially difficult or especially rewarding?

JC: I could not answer this honestly without saying that teaching is definitely both challenging and rewarding. One of the most challenging things about teaching today is trying to do your best and remain yourself in a profession that is constantly changing. Teachers are constantly asked to do more, give more, change more and try more. I find that the best way to handle these changes and challenges is to stay true to yourself and do what is right.

Of course, teaching is rewarding! The smiles, tears, laughter, the AHA! moments, hugs, love, stories, innocence, fun and learning moments make this profession unbelievable. The fact that I (and other teachers) can impact a moment, or a day or a lifetime is awesome.

PJ: Have you always lived in Chautauqua County? If not, where else have you lived?

JC: I was born and raised in Chautauqua County. I moved away to Fredonia and Albany for undergraduate and graduate school. I have spent my entire teaching career in NY state

PJ: What else should readers know about you?

JC: I am proud to be an educator. I have amazing colleagues and friends who share this journey with me each and every day. We are flexible, we work hard, we care, we want the best for our students and we love what we do. I am thankful for this opportunity each day to help a child and help shape our community.