The Talon

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen

After+teaching+German+in+RISD+for+11+years%2C+teacher+Kevin+Smith+got+a+call+notifying+him+that+German+would+no+longer+be+offered+as+a+class.+Talon+Photo+by+Kathryn+Yung+Photo+credit%3A+Kathryn+Yung
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So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen

After teaching German in RISD for 11 years, teacher Kevin Smith got a call notifying him that German would no longer be offered as a class. Talon Photo by Kathryn Yung Photo credit: Kathryn Yung

After teaching German in RISD for 11 years, teacher Kevin Smith got a call notifying him that German would no longer be offered as a class. Talon Photo by Kathryn Yung Photo credit: Kathryn Yung

After teaching German in RISD for 11 years, teacher Kevin Smith got a call notifying him that German would no longer be offered as a class. Talon Photo by Kathryn Yung Photo credit: Kathryn Yung

After teaching German in RISD for 11 years, teacher Kevin Smith got a call notifying him that German would no longer be offered as a class. Talon Photo by Kathryn Yung Photo credit: Kathryn Yung

Daphne Lynd

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After teaching German in RISD for 11 years, teacher Kevin Smith got a call notifying him that German would no longer be offered as a class.

“I kind of wondered what I was going to do because I had been a German teacher for so long, and it’s kinda like ‘who am I’ if I’m not a a German teacher,” Smith said.

The district chose to phase German out of the curriculum, allowing only those who had started already to finish. Sophomores Jessica Oberlander and Gabby Martinez enrolled in the class as seventh graders, and have known Smith throughout their junior high and high school careers.

“Mr. Smith is a great teacher,” Oberlander said. “He knows how to teach, his style is easy to understand, and he makes us feel good about what we we are learning.”

The relationship goes both ways as Smith said he feels like he owes it to the students to be there for them until the end.

“I feel like its a strong group of kids – they’ve been with me since the beginning,” he said. “I know them pretty well, and I am just really appreciative that they’ve stuck with it.”

Senior Allan Howell plans to use the skills he has learned from the class in real life.

“I could get through a conversation I think,” he said. “I want to go into engineering, and German engineering is a big thing. There’s a lot of providers, so knowing that language could help with connections.”

Next year, only four languages will be taught – Spanish, French which have a multitude of teachers, along with Latin and Japanese which each only have one teacher each.

“I feel as if the diversity and the opportunities for students have decreased, and that the district has lost some of the uniqueness and character which make it a great district,” Latin teacher Charles Anderson said.

Smith will teach AP Euro and World History next year, and while he says he didn’t set out to be a German teacher, only taking the class in college to boost his GPA, he feels like the district is losing a lot.

“I feel like it’s kinda sad, because I wish we offered a bigger variety of languages to students,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to let go.”

 

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So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen