Garrison discovers love for teaching after graduate school


Photo courtesy of Ross Garrison

Harrisonburg graduate Ross Garrison attends a baseball game.

Ross Garrison was born in Harrisonburg, but is now living in Greensboro, North Carolina. He began teaching in the fall of 2016 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG).

Garrison enjoys his life in Greensboro. However, he still misses the beautiful city where he lived for many years and attended schools including Keister, Thomas Harrison and Harrisonburg High School.

“It doesn’t have anywhere near Harrisonburg’s beauty… the mountains on either side, the hills and the surrounding farmland,” Garrison said. “It’s easy to take all that for granted when you’re from [Harrisonburg].”

After graduating from HHS in May of 2003, Garrison applied to multiple colleges, but he was only accepted into one: Hampden-Sydney College, which is located in Virginia.

Although he didn’t get accepted into the other colleges he applied to, he enjoyed  attending the same college his dad attended and meeting new people during the four years he spent at Hampden-Sydney College.

In 2007, he became a college graduate, and he later worked different jobs like waiting tables in Snowshoe, West Virginia. During this time, he applied to different graduate schools and got into the University of Memphis, which he then dropped out of after a year and a half.

When he left graduate school, he went back home to be with his family.

“I lived at home for a year; my mom was sick at the time, so I stayed home and helped a little,” Garrison said. “Those were valuable years, [and] they helped me grow up.”

He later decided to return to graduate school, however, this time he didn’t go back to the University of Memphis.

“When I went back to graduate school, this time to UNC Greensboro where I teach now, I was much more focused and disciplined,” Garrison said.

After graduating from UNCG, Garrison began his teaching career. UNCG allows former students to apply to be a teacher at the school.  

“They allow graduates of their PhD and MFA program to apply for a lecturer position, and I was fortunate to get one of these positions,” Garrison said.

While growing up, Garrison was read to a lot by his father. Since he loves reading and books, he teaches English, where his students learn literature, composition and creative writing.

“It’s what I teach because it’s what I’m most passionate about,” Garrison said.

In addition, he teaches argumentation, where he holds fake trials. The trials are significant because they teach his students to articulate ideas that they may not agree with.

“I have a mock trial every semester, where I make them argue and present witnesses on a topic we vote on,” Garrison said. “I randomly assign teams, so often they’re forced to argue for a position they personally disagree with.”

After leaving high school and attending various schools, Garrison has found his passion for teaching and continues to pursue the career today.