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by Muzi Ma

TODAY'S TEACHER AND THEIR CLASS: A Secondary School Teacher and Their Class

The Teacher

A typical schedule of a teacher’s day

The average day of a high school teacher begins early, between 5-6 a.m. The teacher is required reports to school by 7-7.30 am where they prepare their lesson material such as getting their visual aids in order and engaging with the students before the lesson begins. 

A high school teacher teaches more than one class which means that they may or may not have rest periods between lessons. When a high school teacher is free they utilize the time to mark assignments, evaluating curriculum guidelines and attending to their lesson plans. After lessons, some high school teachers are engaged in extracurricular activities with students especially where they are specialized in the particular activities such as games and guidance and counseling. Essentially, a high school teacher’s day involves instructing and heading lessons, informal engagement with students and planning lessons.

What is the average number of students in class & What is the demographic (race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic) make-up of students

The average number of students in a typical high school class in Arizona is between 20-22 students. 

The majority of high school students in Arizona are whites which correlates with the fact that whites are the majority ethnic group in the state. Hispanic students are particularly a high majority followed by blacks and other minority groups. Moreover, there are more female students than male students in high schools in Arizona although the gender disparity is not great and either gender might be more in a particular school or specific class. 

What are the average education levels of the parents?

Most adults in Arizona have attained a high school diploma while a significant number have completed college education. Consequently, most parents of high school students in Arizona have attended high school and attained a diploma and where they have not attained the diploma, they have at least been in high school at some point. Such are the dynamics of the majority although not for all parents as there is a small percentage who cannot communicate effectively in English. 

Percentage distribution of children ages 6 to 18, by parent's highest level of educational attainment: 2007 and 2012

What content does the teacher teach throughout the day & How can a high school teacher evaluate the effectiveness of their lessons after teaching?

Primarily, high school teachers teach specific subjects for which they have been assigned. Therefore a high school teacher’s content is composed of the specific course material and constant reminders of classroom manners. In some cases the teacher may have to address questions or issues outside the course material especially concerning discipline or current affairs that require immediate attention. Teaching the course content involves instruction, demonstration, explanation and evaluation. 

A high school teacher does not have to wait for the exam period to evaluate students. Rather, they could evaluate lessons through means such as raising debates on the topic, organizing online quizzes; issuing short assignments on the topic among other methods that a teacher feels are most effective for their particular students. 

The Students

What emotional developments are the students at this age level experiencing?

Most high school students are either in the middle or at the peak of their teenage. Adolescence and all that pertains to it is at peak during this period and the students are learning to balance between academics and the need to be in peer groups. More often than not, students in this level are less interested in the academic part of school. 

The break periods and the interactions with their peers are of more interest at this period and the school plays a role in shaping their emotional inclinations. 

The students are highly emotive and emotionally fragile and the school might have several discipline issues to deal with among high school students. Therefore, the school and the teacher serve as the moderator for all the emotions that the students are going through.

What intellectual developments are the students at this age level experiencing & What physiological developments are the students at this age level experiencing?

High school prepares students to transition to college. The students’ performance in high school determines the largest part of their future especially concerning their career. High school performance determines if a student will pursue their intended ream careers or if such dreams will be cut short. It is time when students are struggling to balance between being children and maturing up for the task ahead of them. 

High school students are not only developing emotionally but also physically. During this age period, females and males undergo different changes that define their

femininities or masculinities. Physical changes in weight, height and appearance are noticeable as the students gradually proceed through grades. It is at this time that many are too conscious of their appearance with many seeking ways to accentuate them and others shy to embrace them. Teachers have to deal with these diversities of students who might be over-confident with their appearance and others who might be recessive due to them. Again, the teacher has to serve as the moderator in helping the students adopt their changes positively during, within, after as well as before their specific lessons. 

What social developments are the students at this age level experiencing?

High school students are highly social although their interactions are largely group based. Peer influence is a common phenomenon at this age level and rivalries among groups are common. 

During this period the student are learning to socialize selectively while struggling to adopt an individual identity away from the peer group identity. There is a risk of bad influence within the groups, which calls for the teacher and the whole school community to participate in shaping positive interactions among the students. 

 Biggest challenge student facing at this age

The biggest challenge for high school students is peer pressure. Individual students are torn between maintaining their identity and keeping up with their peers who are largely influenced by adventure. The spirit of adventure and curiosity that comes with adolescence is a challenge for the students who struggle with maintaining discipline and trying out risky behaviors such as bullying, drugs, alcohol, fighting and other wayward peer influenced behaviors. 

High school - where you meet the people you will be avoiding all your life???

At the same time, they see to satisfy their adventurous side by watching and reading adventurous and risky movies, TV programs and books. 

What do the adolescent like to watch (movies, TV, books, music)?

Since high school students are primarily influenced by teenage behavior, their favorite music, movies, TV programs and books are extensively encompassing of teenage behavior. 

Books, music, and TV programs that are romantic and adventurous are of a particular interest. 

The adolescent students are developing sexually and emotionally which influences their liking for romantic and sexually exciting content on TV, music, books as well as in movies. 

How can students balance between the demanding aspects of their lives at this level?

Students at this age are confused and unaware of the impact of their behaviors. Transcending through this age, teachers must engage with the students extensively not only in advising but also in adopting rules and every other detail pertaining to them. Involving the students makes them aware that they are responsible for their actions and that irrespective of their difficult phase, the system trusts them to make smart decisions.

The video shows a typical day in a USA high school not only for students but for teachers. Students are seen coming into to school, in classes in libraries and in groups. Loch breaks and other breaks are also shown as well as class arrangements. There is also a portrayal of a class in which the teacher uses visual aids to teach as well as students in extracurricular activities such as music and games. Essentially, the video depicts a typical day in a US high school. There is also a case of a love note a student’s desk highlighting on the development issues concerning the adolescent students.

This video demonstrates a typical class going on where a student come into a class full of students ready for learning. The class is punctuated with laughter with the teacher’s introduction. Besides, the class gets into the content of the lesson where the teacher distributes the learning material while also interacting with the students informally. There is quietness and talking only during necessary times depicting a typical normal lesson. Individual students are seen concentrating and responding in their particular ways although there no cases of inappropriate behavior. The video essentially shows an ideal class where the lesson goes on as planned including division of students into groups among others.