Passionate About Teaching, Kahl ‘Teaches Us Life Lessons’

Jacob Ferree, Staff Reporter

Trinity teacher Mr. John Kahl
file photo
Trinity teacher Mr. John Kahl

Mr. John Kahl graduated from Trinity in 1969. But that was only the beginning of his connection to his alma mater.

Nearly a half century later, Kahl plans to retire from teaching at the end of this school year. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Kahl taught for a short time in Puerto Rico before he learned of an opening at Trinity.  He said, “It was my dream to come back to Trinity.  I wanted to come back and give back what Trinity gave to me when I was a student.”

After his time as a student, Kahl’s career at Trinity has included teaching, leading retreats, moderating and coaching.  His favorite memory as a student was working on Pep Club banners and having pep rallies and bonfires on Thursdays.

Kahl is above all passionate about Trinity.  He continually works to make the school better through his teaching.  Trinity coach and teacher Sean Duggins had Kahl as a teacher his senior year. He said of Kahl: “His charisma and love for Trinity is hard to find.  It’s an attribute I try to emulate.”

A good number of his former students have become Trinity teachers, among them Duggins, Mr. John Baldwin, Mr. Mitch Greenwell and Mr. C. J.  Rush.   

He makes me want to make my life worthwhile and to try hard at everything I do. I really look up to him, and I’ve never had a teacher like him at Trinity. He has not only made me a better writer, but I feel like I have improved as a person due to the advice he has given me. He has shown me the right ways in life.”

— Trinity senior David Hendren

Mr. Kahl is not a stereotypical English teacher. He works to apply assignments to the real world. Greenwell said,  “Just because of Kahl’s passion for the subject, he would take a story such as ‘Gilgamesh,’ something that isn’t easily accessible to a senior, and make it more about what lessons can we take from this story, rather than just the reading aspect of it. He makes it very relevant to the student.”

Current students see Kahl’s passion for teaching.  Senior David Hendren said, “What separates Mr. Kahl from other teachers is his ability to connect what he does in the classroom to real-life situations. He doesn’t only teach about English and literature; he teaches us life lessons. He gives us examples of what to do and what not to do. Why I really like Mr. Kahl is he makes me want to be a better person. He makes me want to make my life worthwhile and to try hard at everything I do. I really look up to him, and I’ve never had a teacher like him at Trinity. He has not only made me a better writer, but I feel like I have improved as a person due to the advice he has given me. He has shown me the right ways in life.”

After every lesson, Kahl tells his classes, “You guys will have to know this in the collegiate world!”  Whether it be in-text citations or using the word “that” correctly, Kahl works to get his students ready for college by hitting on the same topics.  He said, “I try to give my students real-world experiences and let them know that what they’re doing is not simply for an academic purpose to receive a grade, but to help them figure out their thoughts and help them get through problems — such as being presented with very little direction and how they will be prepared for that when they get to the outside world.”

Greenwell said Kahl helped him prepare for college: “As a result, I grew as a writer my senior year.  The way that  I wrote senior year was the way I wrote all throughout college.  I knew how to craft a thoughtful essay with the right structure.”

Of preparation for the next academic step, senior Zach Hyde said,  “Mr. Kahl expects the best in every piece of work we turn in. His grading method is tough and strict, but it leaves plenty of room for improvement. He may be more involved than a college professor, but he also expects us to figure many things out for ourselves. Overall, I feel confident about my English classes next year, and I know I’ll do fine.”