SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The thought of learning a foreign language used to intimidate Matthew Harrison, but now, the Spanish teacher at Sullivan East High School enjoys watching as his students add another language to their toolbelts.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I didn’t know what I wanted to teach,” Harrison said. “I fell in love with Spanish. I was very nervous to take Spanish for the first time.”

Harrison said that he aims to teach in a way that students feel comfortable taking what they learn beyond the walls of the classroom.

“My goal is to create an environment that simulates real-world experience for students,” he said.

Advanced students in Harrison’s Spanish 3 course have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language with native speakers.

“Students actually connect with a native Spanish speaker in Spanish 3 for 15 minutes and 30 minutes; that conversation is totally in Spanish,” Harrison said.

School administrators say student success isn’t foreign to Harrison.

“We’ve never had a student go through their fourth year that’s not made it and gone through to get their college credit, and that’s a testament to him,” said Sullivan East Principal Andy Hare.

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Matthew Harrison.

To nominate an educator, click here.