Podcast Cover Art for Author J.Mel Johnson

Unpacking Your Positive Creativity

On this episode of “Out & About with Antionette” I had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing J’Mel Johnson
J'Mel Johnson

Author J’Mel Johnson

Educator, Author, Speaker, Singer, Wife and Mother.  Many of her peers in education also reach out to her as a Social-Emotional Educational Consultant.  A graduate of Temple University, she has also received a master’s degree in Culturally Responsive Education, from Ashford University. 

J’Mel has been an educator for 25+ years, and currently teaches in the North Penn School District in PA, and is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. 

As a singer and songwriter, J’Mel is the other half of TommyJay, the husband and wife singing duo. Along with her husband Tommy, she writes, sings and performs songs that reflect love. Love, Laugh & Lead is her motto, and this is her authentic way of showing up in every area of her life. 


As an educator & author, J’Mel published her first best-selling, guided journal, Quotes & Jokes: A Mental Detox for Tweens & Teens, intended for ages 10 and up. She believes that many youth are suffering mentally and emotionally because they haven’t developed life-coping skills.


Quotes & Jokes Book Cover


As a speaker and consultant, Johnson is spreading her positive messages throughout schools and communities. She leads workshops and sessions for youth, educators, and parents. Johnson has appeared on Fox 29 Good Day and in the PSEA VOICE Magazine. Her mission is to help youth discover their self-worth, life-purpose, and the power of their potential. She believes that we should all make a daily choice to love, laugh & lead


I asked J’Mel when she was a kid if she wanted to be a teacher, but nope, she wanted to be a lawyer.  J’Mel always wanted to defend people’s truth, and now she finds herself actually doing that with her students.  She is always standing up for them and defending them and just wanting to see them get better. 


She loved debating and arguing a point when she was a kid and feels as though it has  transferred over to her in becoming a teacher.  As a freshman in college, she started out as a Therapy major, wanting to work with children but also wanting something that was going to give her a good salary but then she wasn’t happy. She was taking all the classes, had passing grades but it wasn’t fulfilling so after talking to her counselor, who asked if she had thought about teaching, she said “no” until she realized that she would have summers off. 

That is the draw for most teachers, but often the summer doesn’t mean that teachers are just sitting home on vacation doing nothing even though it’s much needed time to refresh, rejuvenate and renew their minds. 


We both agreed that we didn’t believe that people really understood the toll and pressure that teachers are put under until the pandemic.  When the children were home, not just parents, but the community, began to realize just how much time and effort teachers put into educating our youth.


Oftentimes it is more than reading from a text book, as kids are coming in with many more needs, especially now, they have so much going on and they need a way to bring it out. Which is why J’Mel wrote the book.  Kids are coming to class with talents, their abilities, their skills, their gifts, their intellect, but they’re also coming with their pain, their frustration, their rejection, their neglect, and their anger. These are just some of the things that teachers have to get through before they can actually start teaching them. 


J’Mel stated that even though it’s a hard job, she loves it, she is passionate about it because she wants all of her students to fulfill their life’s purpose and they need someone to help them discover it.  She works with them on life skills first, like “how do I deal with my emotions? How do I deal with my anger?”


Students that are dealing with hurt or depression or may be asking, how do I get through it, you can’t always send them to the counselor to the principal, they’re right there with you. You have to develop that relationship which is important and it has become more of J’Mel’s life’s work. She doesn’t just want to educate them, she wants to empower them, she wants them to leave feeling like they can take on any challenge that comes their way because they have the skills to cope and deal.


It was in 2018, when the inception of the book took hold.  J’Mel had a really challenging group of students, they weren’t bad, but they had made bad choices but it was still overwhelming. One day she walked in the classroom with the mindset that she was really going to help them that day, so she asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  A question that many of us have been asked by our parents as children or many teachers asked students. 


She realized that they all had something in mind; “I’m going to be a NBA player; I  want to be an NFL player; I want to be an artist. I want to have my own bakery; or I want to have this or I want to have that”.  J’Mel realized that the problem isn’t that they don’t know what they want to do in life or what they want to be so she did some self-reflecting and decided to ask a different question: “What kind of person are you going to be when you grow up?”


That was 2018, and ever since then, J’Mel has been a different person, a different teacher, she always believed that she was a good teacher, but now she was a much better teacher.

When the students asked, “what do you mean?” she said to them, “I know you all told me what you want to be, but how about your character, what’s going to keep you here.”   I said, you need some skills to be able to have that type of success. 


The cover of the book is bright and colorful which is what drew my attention first, reminding me of Mad Libs Magazine which is what J’Mel intended, but despite its bold colors and title it is more than a joke book.  It’s a mental detox journal with 22 days of quotes and jokes because that is how she starts her days with the students.  In the first five minutes of the day she begins with a quote and then after that it’s a serious classroom lesson ending with a corny joke.


J’Mel has always loved singing and she grew up in church singing gospel music but as she got older she started singing R&B because she felt like we’re still a place for life’s love music.  What’s the message in the music? When you get married people need songs; they need love and intimacy songs. 


She is always playing music and does so in her classroom as well because she wants to set the tone of their day. She wants to set the atmosphere in her classroom by playing something that is  positive and fun, getting them in a good mood, getting them dancing because I don’t know what happened before they came to school. 


J’Mel sets the tone, she sets the mood so when they come in the door, “I’m dancing, I’m waving and am saying everyone’s name. If they want a hug, they get a hug. Their mental state is everything, it’s so important how your child leaves in the morning. You should not send them to school in a bad mood, yelling and screaming for them to hurry or calling them all kinds of names. They are carrying that baggage with them to school and so we have to get through that so that they can start to learn.”


I think every school should have copies of these journals and if you would like to place an order, you can order in bulk, just call J’Mel at 856-376-7044 to place an order. She can also come to your school to speak to your students or your staff as she has also done several staff developments as well. 


Quotes & Jokes: A Mental Detox for Tweens & Teens

If you just want to order a copy today, head over to Amazon to order and it is also available on target.com and walmart.com

To connect with J’Mel:

Website: https://jmeljohnson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msjaystips

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jmel_johnson/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmeljohnson

TikTok: www.tiktok.com/@msjay_johnson


J’Mel’s Words of Wisdom “be less concerned with perception and more concerned with purpose


Sometimes we’re so worried about how we’re going to be perceived. We’re going to perceive you because no matter what you do, people are going to have something to say just be concerned with your purpose and what you’re out here trying to do and build.

I want to know what you think, please leave a comment and share with your circle.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: