Mr. Harris is an English and Social Studies teacher, here at Lord Byng Secondary. An extremely popular teacher amongst both staff and students, he has been teaching for approximately ten years. He is also a YouTube sensation as a member of the “Interdepartmental Boy Band”.
Ruolan: [nervous laughter] Would you change your first name, if so, to what?
Mr. Harris: [laughs] I wouldn’t now, but when I was younger, I wanted to be Jon. I kept spelling my real name wrong in kindergarten.
Yuehui: With or without an “h”?
Mr. Harris: Without! So it’s easier to spell!
Ruolan: Would you like to write a book, if so, about what?
Mr. Harris: I don’t think so. It seems like a lot of work.
Yuehui: You don’t want to be the next William Golding?
Mr. Harris: [laughs] If I wrote a book and it was as good as his, then yeah, sure. But a lot of people think they can do it, but what they write is crap. So, realistically, no I wouldn’t do it. I don’t have the time.
Yuehui: What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received?
Mr. Harris: “You should write a book!” [Chuckles] “Don’t be a teacher.”
Ruolan & Yuehui: [shocked] What!? Really?
Ruolan: Who said this to you?
Mr. Harris: It was just a family friend, when I was in university.
Yuehui: Describe your expectations of students during your first years of teaching compared to later years.
Mr. Harris: As a student teacher, I had super high expectation of students, because I forgot what it was like to be a high school student myself. That’s pretty typical of student teachers. Now, I understand better that students are… just looking for the right word [chuckles]… although students are intelligent, they are still kids. They are more emotionally fragile than I first realized. …Students cry more often.
Yuehui: [laughs] What do you like and dislike about teaching at Byng?
Mr. Harris: I love the fact that there’s a great variety of students types, like Byng Arts and regular, and classes like enriched and AP. However, the students are sometimes a bit… too… how shall I put this… sometimes they think that their marks are the end-all and be-all. In the bigger picture, 90% doesn’t make or break you.
Ruolan: Why did you decide to go into your field?
Mr. Harris: They were my 2 strongest subjects in high school. At university, I did a double major in English and History. I find that these 2 subject areas interest me the most and they actually compliment each other well. If I did 100% English, that would be too much marking. [Laughs]
Ruolan: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
Mr. Harris: Teaching is a unique job where you can pursue the academic subject you’re interested in. You get to interact with students who always bring in fresh perspectives, so it’s a combination of doing something you really like and being kept on your toes everyday. Students make it constantly different, although the subject matter is the same. I would get bored doing other stuff.
Yuehui: In general, what advice would you give for students at Byng?
Mr. Harris: To not get caught up in what your marks are and focus more on the actual learning. Too often, students think that marks represent everything, but that’s not always the case.
Favourite food: Souvlaki
Favourite movie: Shaun of the Dead, Apocalypse Now
Most important quality in a cardigan: 100% merino wool
Favourite colour: Green
Favourite piece of literature: Heart of Darkness
Least favourite word: “YOLO” (You Only Live Once)
Phobia: spiders covered in cat hair or a huge dusty ball of cat hair with spiders in it
Hero: parents “but it’s a cheesy answer”