Harris College caught up with Jonny Arrow ’22, a kinesiology alum, who shared how his time at TCU and Harris College played a crucial role in achieving his career goals. Graduating with a degree in physical education and a focus on strength and conditioning, Arrow embarked on a fulfilling career as a high school physical education teacher in Fort Worth Independent School District at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA. Additionally, he serves as the school’s Local Wellness Coordinator, providing health and wellness information to students, faculty and parents.
Beyond teaching, Arrow’s passion for fitness led him to become the gym manager and head coach at CrossFit Panther City, a local gym in south Fort Worth. In a testament to his commitment to service, he also serves with the 136th Texas Air National Guard as a C-130J Hydraulics Technician at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth.
Arrow recounts how TCU provided invaluable preparation for his career. The teacher certification program stood out as it offered ample opportunities to experience real classroom settings before undertaking the student-teacher internship. He shadowed and observed experienced teachers from local school districts, gleaning valuable insights into pedagogy and classroom management skills.
The kinesiology courses at TCU left a lasting impact, equipping Arrow with scientific principles related to strength and conditioning and human movement.
“Having a solid understanding of these principals has given me the ability to better instruct my students in the courses I teach,” Arrow said.
A significant moment during his time at TCU was when he took the “Coaching Theory” course, which required him to shadow a coach. He chose Coach Shane Trotter from Mansfield High School, and this experience taught him the importance of gaining students’ buy-in, a valuable skill he continues to apply in his teaching and coaching career.
Arrow’s journey to becoming a physical education teacher found support through the “Secondary Physical Education Method” course, which involved shadowing a physical education teacher. His mentor-mentee relationship with Rachel Erissman, the then-physical education teacher at I.M. Terrell Academy, proved instrumental in securing his first position after graduation.
“I reached out and asked if she would be willing to write me a letter of recommendation for the position,” explains Arrow. “That letter of recommendation gave me the opportunity to interview and compete for the job I currently have.”
His achievements in Harris College are something he takes immense pride in, graduating Suma Cum Laude with a remarkable 3.98 GPA. Despite the challenges of being a non-traditional student with a family, Arrow managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA even while serving overseas in the middle east during the fall of 2020. Harris College’s dedicated professors and advisors supported him during his deployment, ensuring access to lectures and assignments.
Arrow fondly reminisces about his time in the kinesiology department, a tight-knit community of students and faculty.
“The professors in the kinesiology department are not easy on their students, but they are fair,” recalls Arrow. “They expect great things from their students and hold them to a very high standard, but they are more than willing to provide whatever extra help is needed for a student to succeed.”
Regarding the value of his Harris College experience, Arrow acknowledged the significance of TCU’s support for veterans through programs like Yellow Ribbon, making his education financially feasible. He believes TCU offers one of the best kinesiology departments and is grateful for the opportunity to pursue his passion there.
Looking back, Arrow would encourage himself to be more involved in clubs and organizations. He feels like joining such groups could have expanded his network and potentially led to lifelong friendships.
“As a non-traditional student it was difficult to find clubs that I fit in with, however I am sure there were some that I just didn’t discover during my time there.”
To plan for their future, Arrow advises current students to spend ample time in classrooms, shadowing and observing teachers and professors. These experiences provide valuable insights and strategies that can be applied when managing their own classrooms in the future.
“Some of those class management strategies will work for you and some won’t, but it is better to have to many things to try rather than be in a situation and have no idea of what to do.”
As advice for prospective Harris College students, Arrow emphasizes the importance of networking and forming meaningful connections during college. While being a TCU graduate opens doors, it is the relationships with faculty, peers and others beyond the university that have shaped his successful career.
For students aspiring to enter the field of education, his advice is to prioritize building relationships with their students. Demonstrating genuine care and interest in students as individuals fosters an environment of mutual respect and engagement.
“Those looking to get into the field of education must remember that your students will never care about how much you know until they know how much you care about them as a person,” Arrow explains.