Caps Off to Retirees: Horn


Kevin Horn has been an English teacher for 25 years, spending five at Paramus High School and 20 at Warren Hills. 

Horn said one of his biggest inspirations to become a teacher was his 10th grade English teacher, whom he described as amazing, relatable, and one who encouraged her students to be creative. 

After reading Henry David Thoreau’s work in that class, Horn was inspired by the notion of Civil Disobedience. 

“I  was a long-haired hippie back in high school, so his work really spoke to me,” Horn said. “I got up and went off in front of the class for about ten minutes about non-conformity and how everyone else was caught up in popularity and needed to think for themselves and how great it was to be different.”

When asked what one of his best memories of teaching was, Horn recalled an incident at Paramus High School in 2003, right around the time he was teaching Lord of the Flies. A student of his, named Amanda, stood on a desk and blew on a conch shell, and the rest of his class came marching into the classroom.

“When they all said, ‘Thank you, Mr. Horn,’ I cried. That was one of the best gifts I have ever been given,” he  said.

For students who would like to follow a similar career path, Horn said that this job is one of the most important jobs in the world. 

“It’s a huge responsibility – sometimes your smile will be the only smile from an adult that they see on a particular day, so you need to keep smiling, sometimes even if you feel crappy inside,” he said. “You also need to be honest: students can smell a phony from miles away.”

In a similar vein, Horn said that one thing he would have liked to know before teaching was “to not go in the teachers’ lounge.” 

As for the biggest changes in education that Horn has seen over the course of his career, he did not hesitate to answer.

“Cellphones, definitely – not just in schools, but in society as a whole,” he said. “Because of screens, I have had to modify the way that I teach.”

But how does Horn intend to spend his time in retirement?

“See you in Hawaii!” he quipped.