By Colleen Meosky
Mr. Harrison is currently East’s “Chemistry A” teacher, but he also enjoys teaching other courses including Forensics and Biology.
Mr. Harrison decided to become a teacher to “sell people on science.” Some students enter his class without an affinity for hard sciences, but many find out it’s not as terrible as they once believed. “I got a sweet, sweet gig here,” says Mr. Harrison, “…Find me a job that’s better — it doesn’t exist.”
While he’s very proud of his grading turn-around time for paper assignments, Mr. Harrison’s calls interacting with students the best part of his job.
Mr. Harrison has known he wanted to pursue a career in science since second or third grade, but if he were to teach another subject, what would it be? Mr. Harrison calls this “a saucy question.” He enjoys history and English, so he said he would teach “one of the humanities.” His wife happens to be a twelfth grade English teacher.
Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Harrison’s favorite job was working at the zoo. He interacted with most animals there with the exceptions of hostouck, bears, giraffes, lions, and tigers. Mr. Harrison has many fond memories of working with a female porcupine who would affectionately nibble on his ear. He also enjoyed his time spent with the gorillas, and he loves to make return visits to the zoo. Apparently the cute meerkats can produce the most foul smells out of all the zoo residents.
Mr. Harrison enjoys playing music for his students during work time, and he says his favorite is Punk/Ska. His favorite food is casado con pollo, but when asked what his favorite movie is, he said, “It depends on the groove.” He did, however, commit to dubbing “Casablanca” the best movie of all time.
Outside of school, Mr. Harrison is an avid tree planter. Some of the trees he likes to plant include pear, apple, birch, and red cedar. Mr. Harrison says, “I have a problem because I want to plant more trees.” He estimates that he has fifty trees to plant on his property next year!
As a member of the Pendleton Conservation Advisory Council, Mr. Harrison is very passionate about protecting the environment. One thing he’d like to see East students do is to get rid of invasive species such as phragmites.
Max Robins says Mr. Harrison is “a teacher that cares about mental health.” He often reminds students to relax and enjoy the learning process without being uptight about grades. He encourages students to realize that the pandemic has changed everyone individually, and no one is the same student they were previously. Mr. Harrison believes two benefits to this crazy school year is the reevaluation of how to assess students and learning for the sake of learning.
A sophomore student says, “He’s very funny and has a unique way of teaching.” Mr. Harrison’s energetic personality ensures there’s never a dull moment in his class, especially when he’s had his coffee.
If he could teach East students one thing he’s learned about life in high school, it would be the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Mr. Harrison believes it’s “the most important quote there is.”