Elementary School Teacher
Bachelor’s Degree, International Studies and Education, University of Oregon; Master’s Degree in Education, Bank Street College of Education
Tristan Irvin is a fifth-grade teacher who began teaching in 2006 and joined Connections Academy® in 2012. Learn more about Ms. Irvin below:
Why I Became a Teacher
I became a teacher and love learning because I had teachers who made it fun and would think outside the box. I want to bring that same desire for inquiry and sense of wonder to my students. I also want to make sure that I create lessons that allow all my students to see themselves reflected in their education in powerful and positive ways.
The Online School Experience at Willamette Connections Academy
We work hard to build a strong, tight-knit community, even in a virtual school. The amount of field trips, clubs, speaker series, and community-building opportunities we offer is incredible! In offering these things, we build relationships and partnerships with our families, which helps engage and support students. At Willamette Connections Academy, I can individualize instruction for all my students, and constantly collaborate with my colleagues to better frame instruction.
I start each lesson with a check-in or poll to get conversations started. I also have Star Students each week, which gives them the opportunity to share about themselves and fosters wonderful conversations between students. To help them engage in their coursework, I try to consistently help students find connections between what they’re learning in their lessons and their lives. I will bring in additional resources, video clips, and alternate perspectives to help them see what they’re learning in a broader and more personal context.
“We work hard to build a strong, tight-knit community... The amount of field trips, clubs, speaker series, and community-building opportunities we offer is incredible!”
— Ms. Irvin
The Benefits of K–12 Online Learning
We help prepare students for the future by providing skills such as self-advocacy, self-discipline, and time –management, which most students don’t learn until college and are a huge asset. Skills like collaboration, working independently, and technological awareness are valuable to employers, and these skills are taught and mastered early in our program. I also value the dialogue and conversations that can be had in the virtual space.
Message for Prospective Families Choosing Online School
Consider the possibilities! What could learning outside the box look like for your child? Remember, no educational environment is one-size-fits-all. We offer high-quality education, personalized instruction, and flexibility.
Recently, my family and I got into kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, so we do that when the weather is nice. I love trivia, crossword puzzles, dancing, and peanut butter cups!