A Teacher Out of this World

Eight years ago was the beginning of a new experience for A.J. Dimond High School science teacher Scott Campbell. Campbell was born and raised in Anchorage and attended the very school where he currently teaches. “For someone who loves travel and adventure,” Campbell said, “I haven’t strayed too far from the nest.” His high school career was well enjoyed by staying active through sports, clubs and rigorous classes such as Advanced Placement Literature still taught by Susan Derrera. Campbell then graduated in 1999 and was happily accepted into Michigan State University. “It is nearly impossible to get individual attention from your professor when there are 500 other students in class with you. At the same time, there was something very appealing about being on a campus where you rarely see the same person twice in a day,” he said. Originally, his intentions were to receive a degree in engineering, yet after three semesters he found himself wanting to change his former plan. “I felt a little bit handcuffed because I was on an academic scholarship that expired after four years, so financially, I had to redirect into a degree program that would allow me to retain the credits I had accumulated towards engineering. Like many people in the education profession, I have several family members that are teachers, so I’d always kept the idea of becoming a teacher myself in the back of my mind,” Campbell said. Thus, he successfully became a teacher and after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree he returned to Alaska to receive his Master’s, which led him back to his learning roots. Most of his liking in science revolves around the aspect that, “It isn’t much of a ‘thing’ as it is a process.” Campbell said, “Science forces you to wonder, and to think, and to do so in an organized, systematic way. I dig on that.” Campbell expresses how grateful he is to teach at a school like Dimond, and reveals that he wouldn’t rather teach at any other school in the state. He believes that ever since the dawn of time teaching has been a worthwhile and necessary endeavor, with its fair amount of criticism. “I also think that our modern society, for one reason or another, critically undervalues education, which makes my job far more difficult than it should be,” Campbell said, “with politicians and bureaucrats telling me what I am supposed to teach, to a group of teenagers that are growing less and less interested in learning, it’s exposing the chinks in the armor of the educational institution.” As Campbell said, teaching is inevitably difficult because of the age group that the knowledge is being conveyed to, though many of Campbell’s students agree with his teaching style. Freshman Chris Carrigan said, “Mr. Campbell is my favorite teacher. He is so unique and knows how to connect with the kids without being weird about it. He knows that teaching is more than just throwing information at our faces, but it’s also helping us find our common interests.” When asked what his favorite quote was he said, “I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a favorite quote — or a favorite anything, for that matter. It’s too extreme, and not in my personality, to elevate any one quote so far above any other. However, in the recesses of my desk drawer, I still have the quote book that I made when I took Mrs. Derrera’s AP Lit class during my senior year of high school. I’ll pull a quote from it: ‘Be drinkable.’” The quote from Henry Rollins is defined as going with the flow and being less apprehensive about unexpected or unpleasant things. Why don’t we all just “be drinkable”?