Faces of FOSS: Johnna Michalak

Johnna Michalak

Swim Teacher
Niles, IL

What is your favorite color?


What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Toasted Coconut

What is your favorite food?


What is your favorite part of working for FOSS?:

Helping my students achieve their goals.

Share your favorite FOSS story:

My second session as a teacher, I was able to help my student in a M1 progress. She came in at a L1 level and it took time to gain her trust, I began to doubt myself because it didn’t seem like she was learning much until one day out of the blue we did a humpty dumpty and she completed the skill with no help! I was shocked when she then asked to do a chop-chop, but I allowed her to try. She jumped in and finished with no help! I felt so proud of her, and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face the rest of the night.

What is your personal favorite water activity?:

Blowing bubble rings underwater and doing handstand contests in the pool.

Can you recount a student of yours who experienced a major “lightbulb” moment when you were with them? What was it? How did the child react? How did the parent react? What was your reaction?:

I had a student who was hesitant to try swimming alone with no noodle to the island. He was so sure he would sink but for 3 weeks I would explain he did a very good job with his arms and kicks. I told him that I believed it would be so amazing to know he did it all alone and mom knew he could do it too. Finally, one day I mentioned that he would be just like his big brother in a different class. His eyes lit up and he went for it, when he got to the island on his own, he popped up and shouted “MOM I DID IT” It was a pretty cool lightbulb moment.

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