TEACHER FEATURE: JESS HARRISON

Where are you from and where did you go to grade school and university?
I'm from San Jose, California and this is where I went to school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I went to the University of Washington, Seattle.

How/why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher for many reasons. Mainly, I feel that my career has a direct impact on the students I teach. I also enjoy the fact that every day is different.

If your students forget everything you taught them except for one idea or sentence, what would you like that idea to be?
Be a kind and respectful person.

What's your favorite thing about teaching your classes?
I really enjoy my students' energy and excitement while learning. It reminds me to stay excited about my learning. I'd like to think that teaching somehow keeps me young.

What field trips have you taken students on and what are some interesting things that happened?
We've been on a number of field trips, but my favorite student discovery was when my students learned during the NEWater water reclamation project tour that the water they drink in Singapore is most likely reclaimed drain water. The reactions were priceless and really relevant to their learning.

What are some nicknames that your students call you or that you suspect your students call you?
We don't have any nicknames, but I suspect since I'm bald and my last name is Harrison, that some may refer to me as "Mr. Hairless-son". That's what I would've done as an 11-year-old.

Who is a person you admire? Why?
I admire anyone who shows compassion to others. Recently, in downtown Singapore, I witnessed a young boy, maybe 15 years old, holding an older woman's hand as they crossed the street together. I initially assumed he was her grandchild. After they crossed, he turned to her and said, "Have a nice day, Auntie". They were strangers! I admire that boy's compassion for his elders. I know he will grow up to be a compassionate adult; We need a lot more of that in our world.

What would a perfect day for you be like?
A perfect day would be playing sports with my family and creating memories that we can refer back to in the future. It is important in our family to connect through experiences, not things.

What are some of the most memorable places you've traveled to or lived in and why?
I lived in Moscow, Russia for years and really enjoyed the history. I would take long walks in the city center. It was like I was walking through a history book. When I lived in Tunis, Tunisia, the culture was a positive eye-opener for me. Never have I been surrounded by such generous, happy people, despite the fact that their country was going through some tough political times. My favorite day of exploring on my travels was the time I spent in Petra, Jordan. I look forward to bringing my kids there someday so they can experience the magical place that it is.

What's your favorite place/food/memory/thing about SAS? 
My favorite memory at SAS is the collection of events that led me to find our family's induction into the SAS family a smooth and reassuring experience. From the interview process, new family/employee welcome, looking for a home, and the overall positive vibe from my new colleagues. I have found that being here at SAS is a wonderful experience, and we hope to stay here for a long time.

What are your personal and professional goals for 2018-19?
My professional goal this year is to continue to develop our grade five learning community into a place where our learners feel cared for academically and effectively.
 My personal goal is to remember to appreciate what I have. I am a very lucky person!

Favorite things to do in Singapore/favorite Singaporean food/places? 
Hands down, my favorite place in Singapore is East Coast Park. Our family loves it there! Favorite food? Chicken rice, of course!

What do you miss most about your hometown?
I miss my friends. I don't get to see them as often as I'd like to, and I've lost contact with some that I had been close to. Facebook isn't a fix for that one!
 

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