The area that my high school is placed in has a lot of different dimensions to it. Being located in a small town, most of the students have known each other all their lives and often know of each others’ siblings, home life, etc. The school is located near a major university, so there is a lot of spirit for that school and many of the students live in the area because their parents have jobs with the university. I have noticed that the students get very into university-related events and feel that they have a sort of privilege to attend events since they are local. My students also seem to have a lot of spirit for their own high school and wear their school colors almost daily to school, especially on football game days.
The actual physical layout of the town includes mostly middle-class residential areas, a downtown area, a golf course, a country club, a library, hospital/doctors offices and good public transportation. My students even commented that they heard that this area is rated top in America as a town to raise children in. The weather is variable and often cold/rainy. Most people in the area near downtown are college-aged, but the outskirts include people from all ages. In fact, my CT was discussing the differences in a lot of the student’s backgrounds. He said that a lot come from upper class families who have investment in the university/research while others live in houses in the mountains with dirt floors, no electricity, etc. This kind of astonished me because for the most part my students seem to be a homogenous crowd.
Demographically, the students I have noticed are mostly white, middle class, and have somewhat “Southern” characteristics. My CT told me that this high school actually receive a lot of African-American students from other local high schools because of racial tensions that still exist in the area. However, looking at the student body I do not notice very much diversity in terms of race. It is also important to note that the school pulls students from a wide area because of the rural setting. This could be a cause of the differences in student background that my CT was talking about.
One difference I observed in relation to my own schooling experience is the relaxed nature of school policies. I went to a high school in which a very strict dress code was enforced, students were penalized for not making it to class on time, and less social interactions were allowed. The high school I am conducting my field experience in is very lax in these areas, allowing for reasonable socializing during class, open dialogue about student’s personal lives, etc. My CT is very popular with students and has students walk into his class and chat about their days on an ongoing basis, often during the middle of the class period. Overall, I get a feeling that the students are well-behaved and respectful to their peers. This seems to be a result of the friendly nature of the town they live in and comfort with my CT.