Vacancy filled by former substitute

New+teacher+Matthew+Harris+warms+up+to+class+during+a+group+assignment.

Lizzie Miller

New teacher Matthew Harris warms up to class during a group assignment.

There are few occasions within the school year when teachers must move on for various reasons. These times aren’t always predictable or practical. One such case recently occurred locally when former history teacher, Keisa Sutton, moved on from the faculty, leaving the administration with a small window of time to find a new teacher after the year had already begun.

“Luckily, we had [Matthew] Harris as a substitute at the time,” Principal Justin Smith said.

Harris stepped up as the new world history and Oklahoma history teacher for the underclassmen.

“I just happened to be in the right position at the right time,” Harris said.

Despite the hardships of coming in soon after a teacher leaves, Smith feels that Harris has settled into his new positions nicely.

“He had a tough job going in,” Smith said. “He had to teach new outlines and procedures. His methods are very practical so kids are taking to that.”

Harris agrees that the position was difficult in the beginning, especially on the students that had established a relationship with their former teacher.

“It’s always difficult, because you’re walking into things blindly, inheriting what was left behind,” Harris said. “It’s hard for everyone.”

In spite of this being his first year of genuinely teaching his own class, he is no stranger to the classroom setting. He has spent a few years substitute teaching both here and in the middle school. He was also a student teacher in the past before taking this position.

Harris himself is not the only new thing that the students are getting out of the faculty change; he is also fabricating new methods and bringing them to the tables and desks in his classroom.

“I like it when [the students] teach an assignment from the book,” Harris said. “You learn stuff better from teaching than listening.”

Another method Harris was planning on incorporating throughout the year was the widespread use of technology to aid in certain lessons. Unfortunately, one thing his current classroom is lacking in is the technology he desires; his class should be relocating sometime this year into a room that better suits his methods. He also instituted his own assignments in order to catch his classes up to where he felt they needed to be.

“I basically started from the beginning,” Harris said. “Instead of using the book I hit the high points and used my own form of assignments.”

There is no doubt amongst students, Smith or even Harris himself that he does not seem like the typical teacher. With tattoos covering his arms and a unique personality, he brings a different kind of feel to the faculty. Despite the new dress code limitations recently instated, Smith doesn’t think Harris’s mold-breaking appearance is an issue.

“I don’t believe that appearance has anything to do with the way one teaches,” Smith said.

Harris believes that his appearance helps him to better connect with certain students.

“I know it can be an issue with some people,” Harris said. “Most students kind of like it because it is different.”

Harris has taken the difficult task of coming onto the staff in the middle of a semester on his shoulders, and is quickly making waves in the education of students.