From Congress to the classroom

Local News

It’s not often a congressman becomes your teacher for the day.

But that was the case for some Mitchell Middle School students on Monday.

“I’m really here being a substitute teacher,” Rep. Dusty Johnson said.

From teaching the material to spraying down classroom tables, South Dakota’s U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson found out what it’s like to be a teacher and a student right now.

“Old-timers, we always talk like everything is going to heck in a handbasket, but I would tell you, the kids that I’ve been teaching today seem like they understand COVID-19 is a difficult time, but they still want to get a good education,” Johnson said.

The congressman is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Johnson says he’ll take what he’s learning today back to Washington D.C.

“I’ve seen firsthand how much more difficult it is. I’ve got students in the classroom, but I’ve also got some who are working remotely, working from home. That means you have to be able to deliver those lesson plans two different ways. Those are the kind of insights and experiential learning that we need to understand in Washington D.C.,” Johnson said.

Johnson approached the district about the opportunity.

“It’s helped us communicate to congress on what the challenges are right now and what the realities are in the field,” Mitchell School District Superintendent Graves said.

“I wish every American had this opportunity so they could understand how many different things teachers have to do well to be great teachers. This is a good experience that has really been eye opening,” Johnson said.

Superintendent Joseph Graves says the need for substitute teachers is a little higher this year.

Johnson is up for re-election in November. Libertarian candidate Randy Luallin is challenging him for South Dakota’s U.S. Representative seat.

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