Mr. Harrison Interview- What Food Does the AP Euro Teacher/Basketball Coach Identify With?

Siraj Bajwa, Writer

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You are a teacher of one of the hardest classes, AP Euro, and you coach varsity basketball, AND you work in the discipline office – how do you go about doing those things differently and what’s the same?

Mr. Harrison: Yeah, I guess like a lot of it’s the same because in all of it I think like in one way or another you’re trying to develop positive relationships with kids. you are trying to encourage and mentor people in all ways, trying to get the most out of everybody. But definitely the tone is probably different. In basketball it’s a little more intense… in the classroom, it’s a different personality there and in the discipline office, it’s a little different but I think it’s just knowing every kid is different and trying to actually make connections with kids and have a positive impact… in that way they’re all the same. It’s a little different, wearing different hats all day long. 

What’s the worst or one of the worst cases you’ve had in the discipline office?

Mr. Harrison: I can’t really talk about individual students… you know confidentiality stuff… I can say in the discipline office there’s never a dull moment… this school is a really good school… so we don’t have severe discipline problems… most of the stuff in the discipline office is pretty routine. There’s not like massive problems in here. I don’t have a super horror story to share with you. Your clearance level isn’t quite high enough… I enjoy  it. I like working with those kids.

What’s your favorite European history time period and what’s your least favorite?

Mr. Harrison: I would say that my favorite time period is probably Enlightenment and French Revolution. I just really like the intellectual history and philosophical history of the Enlightenment and and some of the… way that people were so progressive and optimistic about being able to better society. And the French Revolution is really interesting because as they try to put those ideas into action it kind of goes not really according to plan and it gets really crazy… my least favorite time period… I guess maybe the Enlightened Absolutism… I’m not super enthusiastic about that time period… The period between Napoleon and World War I is kind of a period that is not as fun. I like the whole class really and I’m interested in a lot of it.

How have you changed your teaching style over the years?

Mr. Harrison: I’ve adjusted the content that I teach to better align with the AP exam but I don’t think my style has changed over the years. You know, I do a lot of lecturing. I try to make it as interesting as possible in the class. Hopefully some days I do an okay job. My approach has always been the same. I think you need to again, develop a positive relationship with students you need to care about students. I think when you care about students, and they’ll care about the class. So that’s kind of what my attitude has been all the way through.

Well, I’m in it (AP Euro) so I think you’re doing pretty good.

Mr. Harrison: Awesome man! I appreciate it!

How have students changed over the years?

Mr. Harrison: …in a lot of ways, students are the same. You guys are dealing with the same issues because you’re the same age. I’ve taught sophomores for a long time, and the issues sophomores are dealing with at 14, 15, 16 years old are pretty much the same over all times. We study history and we see people way back dealing with those same problems. I think you guys have a lot of challenges that I didn’t have and students when I first started teaching didn’t have because of all the social media. I think social media can be a distraction at times but also becomes a challenge because it’s anonymous.  A lot of people can post negative things and people get trolled all the time and I think you guys deal with a lot more negativity because of social media than other generations had to do. I think that’s super challenging. I think the way social media comes at you in little tiny bits through memes and vines and sometimes attention spans are a challenge. On the other hand you guys are more tech-savvy. And maybe even more savvy about what’s going on in the world… So there’s definitely some positives with it but there are definitely some challenges with it and that would be the main thing that is different.

If you could be a food which one would you be?

Mr. Harrison: Aw man, I love food… Maybe a big fat juicy steak. It’s kind of like the boss of foods. I mean, I love food and I love to eat food but I don’t know how much I’d like to be food…. I guess I’d just go with a steak and I don’t really know why.

If you could describe your years at Canyon what would they be?

Mr. Harrison: Challenging, but ultimately rewarding and great.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not teaching or coaching?

Mr. Harrison: I really like watching movies… I love going to movies but I don’t get as much a chance… I have a lot of the online streaming stuff. I’ve got Criterion Collection, which is a really cool online streaming service where you can watch old movies and independent movies.

Do you have Disney Plus?

Mr. Harrison: We just got it…. I’ll watch a lot of older movies or independent movies. I really like movies. I also actually listen to books because I have a dog, I walk the dog and I listen to books and I also listen to podcasts. So I would say that: movies, podcasts, and books.

The next question was cats or dogs so I’m guessing dogs.

Mr. Harrison: Dogs for sure. Ya, I have a German Shepherd. Definitely a dog person.

Okay, if you could be anything else besides a teacher or coach?

Mr. Harrison: Honestly… I wanted to be a coach. I’m lucky. This is my dream job. I really don’t think there’s anything I’d want to be

Do you have a favorite TV show?

Mr. Harrison: I’d say Breaking Bad or The Wire… I like a lot of books. I actually just read The Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. I don’t think it’s my favorite book but I liked it a lot and it’s the most recent thing.

Do you like fiction more?

Mr. Harrison: I do… I actually read a lot of detective fiction, but I’ll read anything. I’ll read some non-fiction but I’ll mostly read fiction. 

What kind of student were you in high school?

Mr. Harrison: I was pretty good. When I was in high school, I was an A and B student. I wasn’t like obsessed with school. I did pretty good. School came pretty easy for me… but when I went to college, especially after I started getting into my major in history, than I really really started focusing in school and then I did really well. I was a good student in high school but I was a great student in college.

What is a most or a very memorable experience you’ve had a at Canyon?

Mr. Harrison: Probably the most memorable experience at Canyon was winning the CIF championship game against Lawndale because we were down by I think 26 points going into the 4th quarter and so it was just this huge massive comeback…. It was at the Honda Center and we were getting smashed… and we started hitting a bunch of threes and we started turning them over. It was crazy and then we ended up winning in double overtime. It was the highest scoring game in CIF history… I think the final score of the game was 103: 98. 

Last question, any Thanksgiving plan (this was before Thanksgiving)?

Mr. Harrison: We go to my wife’s family; she has a huge family…. We are also in basketball season so I only get Thanksgiving off. On Thanksgiving, I plan on eating a lot of really good food and then the rest of the week will be all basketball.

Thank you Mr. Harrison.