Educating in English with Earnestness and Efficiency

Kiana Schmitt, Staff Writer

A former paper boy, bus boy, Taco Bell employee, warehouse worker, and plumber dispatcher.  Such an odd occupational history belongs to a beloved member of West High’s English Department for 21 years—Mr. Evans.

Currently, he teaches three separate English courses: English 1, English Language and Composition AP, and Power and Justice.  The differences between their curriculum, as Mr. Evans explained, are the depth and speed in which the courses progress, and the complexity of the types of reading and writing.  Recently, however, Mr. Evans has been slowly integrating writing synthesis papers into all three of his classes.   The synthesis paper—drawing on three separate sources and combining them to establish a concurrent point—is already a large part of the English AP class curriculum; however, upcoming changes in standardized testing will require all students to demonstrate ability in this style of writing.

As a teacher of the aforementioned courses, Mr. Evans has 5 class periods, yet usually stays for the full day at school.  Though he agreed that each year requires putting in a great deal of time and effort into teaching, and providing additional help when necessary, Mr. Evans asserted that it is all worth it in the end; “one of the greatest things about teaching is seeing student growth and comparing students’ performances from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

Interestingly, this passionate, dedicated instructor did not always have an innate desire to go into the field of education.  In college, Mr. Evans tried out television and film production courses, but later decided that he wanted a more stable occupation.  He had always been strong in reading and writing; naturally, he chose to instruct in the English department.   Yet even before teaching, he had a slightly different educational career in mind.  Earning his teaching credential at Long Beach State, and his Master’s degree in education at Azusa Pacific University, he had initially intended to become an administrator.

Now, Mr. Evans is more than pleased that he ultimately chose to become a teacher; he sees himself “teaching here at West for perhaps another 20 years.”  As for other future plans, he admitted that that notion of someday publishing a book is a fun one.  For now, you can catch Mr. Evans in room 4201; perhaps in the future, students will be glimpsing his name on the cover of a best-seller.