Johnathon Irvin is a special education teacher at Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA). He started teaching in 2015 and joined ARCA in 2019. Mr. Irvin has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and a master’s degree in teaching and special education from Southern Arkansas University. He shares his story below:
“I always joked while I was in high school that I was going to replace my social studies teacher when he retired,” said. Mr. Irvin. “So of course, I set out to teach social studies and soon found that while I loved the content, I enjoyed working with struggling students more. This motivated me to get certified in special education. There was also a huge need for special education teachers. Since I started working in special education, I have loved every minute of it. I am working in special education today to help all of the students who have thought that learning was too hard or that they were not smart enough. I am also a coach.
“At ARCA, I love the ability to think outside the box and develop learning that works for each individual student and support them. In online school, I have been provided the opportunity to work more one on one and dedicate more time to the students’ individual needs. Online school provides students with the opportunity to use tools that employees in the real world use on a daily basis. It also prepares for problem-solving in an online environment, which is a crucial skill for everyone in today’s world.
“The ARCA community is so special because of the dedication to learning and the passion that each teacher brings to the students. By providing a caring attitude and being able to show that to students, it helps to build up the student’s love for subjects and learning. The teamwork that is displayed between teachers and students either on field trips or in the classroom really helps to deepen the bonds and help build learning.”
Mr. Irvin is married to an English teacher and together, they have a blended family of four. He loves football—mostly Arkansas High School football and college football. He really enjoys the outdoors, camping, collecting records, and gaming.
I set out to teach social studies and soon found that while I loved the content, I enjoyed working with struggling students more. This motivated me to get certified in special education.