Student Profile: Jaylyn Johnson

Name: Jaylyn Johnson

Current degree program: Special education, adapted curriculum

Hometown: Reidsville, NC

Hobbies/interests: Hanging with friends, working with the special populations’ community, and watching Netflix

What drew you to pursue your current degree and made you decide to be an educator?

I have always had a passion for teaching individuals with different abilities my whole life. At a young age, I started volunteering with Special Olympics North Carolina for Cheerleading. I knew that I wanted to make an impact for these students and be an advocate for them. This career is so rewarding each day to see these individuals accomplish their goals. I have a passion for helping others and wanting to see individuals succeed in their goals and interests. I want to be the foundation for students and help them grow and reach their fullest ability. It is also important for me as a bi-racial female to be able to connect and build rapport with families with similar backgrounds and cultures as myself! 

What made you decide to be an educator?

My kindergarten teacher was an amazing educator. Her name is Bobbie Barham, and she had such a huge impact on my education. She always had a caring smile, loving heart, and you could tell she was passionate about teaching students! She impacted my career decision and made me want to become half the educator she is one day! With wanting to further my education, Dr. Bethany McKissick as played an important role in helping me understand how to support my students in the best way, implement culturally responsive practices, and understanding family dynamics and rapport!

What is your favorite thing about special education?

My favorite thing about special education is being about to watch students grow and be able to show the world how much these individuals are capable of. Our society has a lot of shaping and growing to do for our community. I want to be able to help our society be more accessible for individuals with different abilities. I love to focus on functional skills learning and being able to each these individuals’ skills that can help them be more independent in life.

What brought you to ECU?

The education department is what brought me to ECU. I came here for the open house event for the COE in 2019, and I instantly felt supported by the faculty and staff. ECU feels like a home to me! 

Do you have any advice for students looking to pursue a degree in education?

You need to have a heart for education and always want the best for your students. Education is not an easy career, but it is so rewarding at the end of the day. Put your whole heart into teaching and you will receive it in return. You will have good days and bad days, but it is important to show up for your students every day with a positive attitude and open arms.

Any final thoughts on ECU or becoming an educator?

ECU will always have a piece of my heart and I am so thankful for all the opportunities it has provided me with. The COE has provided so many scholarship opportunities, professional development, and teacher preparation. Education is the foundation for all other career paths, and you can impact so many students and push them so far in their lifetime!