South Forsyth High School Awards Mr. Jon Arant as Teacher of the Year

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Christopher Bunker

A staple at South. Mr. Arant, 2020-2021 SFHS teacher of the year, marveled on his success. His students adore him and he gave credit for his success to his partner Mrs. Tyra. Mr. Arant stated, “Without her, I won’t be where I am now.”

Sayna Kaushik, News Editor, Video Editor, Co-Podcast Host

Mr. Jonathon Arant is the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. Throughout his twelve years of teaching, he has left a print on everyone as he continues to inspire his students and coworkers around South.

His teaching journey began as a special education teacher for a Sunday School at the local church he attended. As an educator, he focused on developing meaningful relationships with his students to help them feel comfortable in a school setting.

“The children in the Sunday school class inspired me to look further and see if I wanted to make it into a career,” Mr. Arant reminisced. “You can never tell someone what this job is like. Even the job I did at Sunday school could never prepare me for this amazing job.”

Mr. Arant comes to school every day with a smile on his face and ready to change his student’s lives. For him, each day is a new learning experience to try new things. When asked about his first day, Mr. Arant gasped, “Wow, my first year of teaching! Well, it was only 12 years ago so I have not taught for that long. Not too much different from this year but it was a learning experience and I had never taught special ed before. “

Though Mr. Arant mostly specializes in helping his special needs students, he never fails to assist and mentor other students at South. He is also a role model and an inspiration to the staff of SFHS as well, and many faculty members who hold him in high regard. Many of the people around him have watched Mr. Arant grow into a marvolus leader.

Mrs. Higman, a para-professional in a self-contained classroom, has been working with Mr. Arant for 9 years, “When I think of Mr. Arant as a teammate, I think of him as the ‘ying’ to our ‘yang’. He will advocate for you and will show you how to do it by leading with example. Mr. Arant seems to have an answer for everything. And, if he does not have an answer, he will make sure he finds out and let you know.”

Mr. Arant has been known to be a forward thinker and a pro in his field of work. Not only does he have an amazing relationship with his Special Education students, but he has also grown a strong bond with many other students around South.

“I love when Mr. Arant speaks in German to his students and works to have the students respond in German to him,” beamed SFHS principal, Mrs. Wilson.

Mrs. Aycock, a specialized instruction teacher, described Mr. Arant as someone who is “humble and always gives credit to those who surround him.”

Furthermore, Mr. Arant reflected his years of teaching as a journey with his students. “My teaching has changed in the area where I see it as a relationship with my students. Our students can spend five to six years in high school, and they will be with me for all those five to six years. Mr. Arant elaborates, “I have learned that the relationship part is 80 percent of the battle and once you get that everything else seems to fall into place.”

He goes on to reflect on many moments he has with either his students or even his parents.

“A few of my best moments are when a parent calls me crying and tells me something special about their student that either I influenced or one of the peer facilitators have done that helped them have a normal high school career.” Mr. Arant explained while holding back tears, “I have had countless phone calls where I have had parents calling me crying that their child was interacting with a general ed student and they never thought that their child will have a normal high school career.

Mr. Arant is an inspiration for all students at South. While becoming a special education teacher involves much dedication and effort, it is worth every second to Mr. Arant.

In Mr. Arant’s 12 years of teaching, he has risen as a leader and a team player. Many coworkers described him as someone who is never short of ideas.

When one walks into that classroom, the magic–the happiness –is why Mr. Arant is the teacher of the year.

It’s crazy sometimes,” says Mr. Arant. “We laugh here in the classroom. We cry here in the classroom. There are no 2 days alike, which I love. Probably more than anything it’s seeing the actual students grow. Seeing them come over obstacles are achieving things that you would never think they can do.”  Mr. Arant’s time here at South has been absolutely amazing and thank his coworkers and students for his success.