This booklet is about being a freshman Honors English teacher in Arizona.

By: Jackelyn A. Peralta 

Today's Teachers and Students: Honors English High School Freshman Teacher

 

Introduction:

I would like to teach Honors English to freshman at a small suburb area, similar to the city I grew up in. My freshman Honors English teacher, Joe Kinney, inspired this after the first class that I shared with him. He would always remind my class that he chose to teach freshman because we are these new minds and are so distince from the rest of the students at our school, making everybody feel unique and making our minds feel like exquisite diamonds in the rough. He would welcome every opinion or thought that anybody in the room had to say and always assured everybody that in English, there is no such thing as wrong (unless we were talking about any type of grammatical error, he was tough on those).

According to Mr. Kinney, a regular day in the hectic life of a teacher in his shoes consists of being in your classroom over an hour before school begins. At Youngker High School, classes are in blocks, school starts at 7:15am and ends at 2:05pm. Mr. Kinney would be in his class at 5:45am finishing the last touches to whatever he was planning to teach that day or updating grades. Mr. Kinney taught freshman Honors English, Regular English, and Introduction to Journalism throughout the day. From 7:15am-8:45am he'd teach his Honors English class, from 8:50am-10:20am he'd teach his first Regular English class, from 10:25am-11:55am he'd teach his second Regular English class, from 11:55am-12:30pm he'd have a lunch break and occasionally hangout in the teacher's lounge with other teachers or stay in his room and let freshman come in and eat/hangout in his classroom (which I believe is really great to do, since a lot of incoming freshman aren't that good at making friends and they are going through a lot), then he would teach Introduction to Journalism from 12:35pm-2:05pm. After 2:05pm, students get to go home and relax, take a nap and just kick back. Not for teachers. Mr. Kinney would sometimes stay until 4pm helping kids with projects they were working on for his class, enthusiastically interact with any other student that came into his classroom, and sometimes just sit and talk with students whose parents didn't get off of work until an hour or two after school ended, living too far for the school bus to drop them off. But the day does not end there, nope. Mr. Kinney would then proceed home with assignments that he recieved back from all 4 of his classes and grade them. After grading he would check off who didn't turn in their given assignments and if they had more than three checks, he'd write their name down so he'd remember to talk to them before reaching out to their parents. Around the time that he finished this, it'd be 7pm. He would then make assignments for the lesson planned for the next day and then head to bed at around 9-10pm and wake up at 5am to start his day again.

What is the Typical Schedule of a Teacher's Day?

The average number if students in a class, according to the National Center for Education Statististics, for English in Arizona is 26. In my Honors English class my freshman year, there was 36. I remember this clearly because it was ridiculously hot and stuffy in that room and I counted how many people were in there out of curiosity. Moving on to the demographics, I couldn't get into complete specifics about the race percentages of the races in Arizona in high school. Using Arizona's Department of Education government web site, I found that 45% are Hispanic/Latino, 40% are white, .05% are African American, .04% are American Indian/Native American, .03% are Asian, .02% are multi-racial, and .002% are Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders. Gender wise, females make up 49% of high schoolers in Arizona, and males make up 51%.

What is the Average Number of Students in a Class & What is the Demographic Make-up of the Students?

 

What are the Average Education Levels of the Parents & What Content Does the Teacher Teach Throughout the Day?

The average education levels of parents, taken from the Educational Testing Service, states that 40% have completed secondary and post-secondary, 11% have completed less than upper secondary, and 48% have completed tertiary. This was taken in 2012 from studnts age 16-34, asking them about their parents. What they didn't show in these statistics is the wide gaps for these heights of education. Personally, my mom finished her freshman year and my dad completed his GED and recently took a few college courses. According to Mr. Kinney, he taught a wide variety of basic writing skills that inlcuded expanding your vocabulary, learning how to properly create an essay, learning different types and formats of essays, and learning to apply critical reading. The way he taught this was through a series of interactive assignments and projects, with occasional pop quizzes and tests to make sure we were understanding everything.

Would I teach more than one subject if I became a teacher?

Yes, I would teach more than one subject, given the opportunity, because then I could be taking strategies from one subject and using them in the other to make my class more interesting and different. 

Using the Raising Children Network, I found the emotional developments in freshman to be very complex. At their age, they express very intense, strong feelings, since their brains are still trying to funtion in a mature manner, but their brains are not fully developed, so it is pretty much out of their control. As 14/15-year-olds, they are still broadening their decision-making skills not fully understanding that actions have consequences. Intellectually, this group of students are the brightest ones you will find. They are starting to think more abstractly, beginning to set goals for their futures, starting to make their own decisions, and growing their own conscience. According to the Understood for Learning & Attention Issues web site, there is a lot of physiological baggage that typical high schoolers have to carry. These include having an irregularly huge appetite, needing more sleep, their bodies growing extremely fast, and starting to have the hand and eye coordination to learn to drive. The social developments are a lot more interesting, in my opinion. Freshman are more influences by their friends, develop stronger morals, get more involved in risk-taking behavior, look for more responsibilities, want more independence, and most importantly, they are trying to figure out who they are and where they belong. With these emotional, physiological, intellectual, and social developments in your classroom, every day is different.

What Emotional, Intellectual, Physiological, & Social developments Are Students at This Age Level Experiencing?

What are the Biggest Challenges Students Face at this Age & What Are Their Favorite Things to Enjoy? 

The biggest challenges that freshman students face is being extremely sleepy because of school starting early and their physiological need for more sleep, constantly being hungry because of their newfound huge appetite, being clumsy because of their bodies growing so fast, and random emotional bombbs that can be set off by the simplest change in a facial expression. Not all teenagers fit into statistics, but going off of the ones from Life: High School's web site, music is the second highest thing that makes teens happy. 35% of teens find out about thir favorite music either from their friends or their parents. 92% of teens watch TV on Cable, stream on Netflix/Hulu Plus, or/and watch TV programs on Network Television. 77.7% of teens read a minimum of one book every month for personal pleasure and almost 25% read a minimum of 5 books every month for pleasure. Using my little sister as a reference, when it comes to music she uses Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and Apple Music to discover new favorite music (these applications will pull up new music that is similar to what you are listening to). Moving onto movies/shows, she takes recommendations from her friends or Netlix, and discovers even more by ads that pop up before videos on YouTube. For books, my sister stays updated on her favorite authors by constantly checking up on their personal blogs, and discovering new books based on what her favorite authors recommend to their readers or by looking at her favorite genres at Barnes & Noble.

I remember my friends and I discussing what we want to be when we grow up and me explaining to them I wanted to teach high school freshman English and all of them looking at me like I was speaking a different langauge. I want to be an English teacher because, not only do I love writing, but I want to make a difference in society and going towards the people who our future depends on is a great start. Also, who I am as a person, matches really well with being a teacher. I am not only extremely patient, but also love helping others, especially when they don't want my help. I genuinely enjoy dealing with difficult people, especially difficult little kids. In a way, freshman high schoolers are extremely similar to little kids and I believe a complex group like them wouldn't ever annoy me nor bring me down. 

Why do I Want to Teach Such a Complex Group?