Monica Bryson is a special education teacher at Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA). She has a bachelor’s degree in speech communication/theatre and a master’s in special education from Arkansas Tech University. Ms. Bryson shares her teaching journey below:
“I enjoy working with students and recall how tough it can be,” said Ms. Bryson. “I want to be the teacher that I needed when I was a student. I hope that I will encourage each one to excel in his or her gifts and to improve where they have challenges. I have been a special education teacher for nine years. Prior to teaching, I worked in many other settings, such as driving a pallet truck for Walmart, as a sales representative, and as the owner of a cleaning business so that I could go back to college to become a teacher.
“At ARCA, the flexibility that the student and I will both have is unique. I will have the opportunity to connect with students and their families in a setting where the student is in a chosen learning environment. There are many things in a brick-and-mortar school that can hinder learning, such as mandatory schedules, classroom seating, and other classmates. The flexibility that ARCA gives students allows them to have more control of their education.
“If there was one thing I would tell a prospective parent, it would be that if your child feels like he or she is lost and unseen in a brick-and-mortar school, then ARCA may be the school for you. Many times it isn’t because the student cannot do the work, but may need more flexibility in their day or a different environment. As we all choose careers as we reach adulthood, we choose by the type of setting we will spend our time in by asking ourselves questions such as, ‘Will I have to work with a lot of people?’ or ‘How will I connect with others?’ Thankfully, students now have options to choose a setting that accommodates their needs while receiving the same education, but in a virtual school.
Ms. Bryson has a number of hobbies that she enjoys when not working with students. “I love being outside. I enjoy running with my friends and biking with my husband. I also enjoy writing and hope to publish my first book soon. We have two amazing children who are now grown. We love our church and volunteer in and outside of our community when we can.”
Thankfully, students now have options to choose a setting that matches their needs and receive the same education, but in a virtual school.