Erica Johnston diligently works to ensure students feel comfortable and prepared when establishing their future education and human development endeavors. As the assistant director for career development and an adjunct instructor, Johnston comes to work every day eager to aid students.
Johnston has always been passionate about teaching. While pursuing her master's in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) here at Temple University in 2017, Johnston spent time working for nonprofit organizations and with college readiness programs for international students. Following her master's degree, she worked on a grant-funded project here at Temple University that supported emergent bilingual students and families in nine schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Her involvement with the grant led to the opportunity to teach in the College of Education and Human Development.
Now, Johnston teaches two courses in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), a professional seminar, and the education minor capstone. "I equally enjoy teaching both courses," Johnston said. "I make strong connections with the students in class. I especially love the fact that I can maintain these connections and follow my students' professional journeys once they become alumni."
As assistant director for career development, Erica spends her time directly supporting students. This manifests itself in many ways including, but not limited to, in-person or virtual one-on-one sessions. Within these sessions, Johnston can answer questions that students may have pertaining to their career goals, professional documents, job searching, professional schools and so much more. Johnston works closely with all CEHD students so that they can get a sense of what their career support looks like at Temple University and in the field at-large. In addition to working with students, Johnston communicates with other schools and employers, usually in the educational realm, who are looking for new hires. She strives to be aware of different opportunities that she can present to the students she works with.
"Everyone's journey looks different. No one has a linear career trajectory, so, I like to meet students where they are. My favorite aspect of my role is building and maintaining those relationships."
So, what does a typical day in Erica Johnston's day look like? She meets students, reviews resumes and offers advice. She visits schools to check in with students in the field and meets with professionals in the graduate school network and with employers. She also plans various events, workshops and programs each semester, such as the CEHD Career Fair, which is coming up on Friday, March 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Student Center (Room 200).
Johnston advises students that the strongest qualities an educator should possess are desire and openness to growth.
"Whether it's making yourself knowledgeable about the languages and cultural and racial backgrounds of the students in your classroom or continuing education for your teaching practices, you need to possess that inherent desire to continue to grow and evolve as an educator."