Feature Photo By: Peter Vo – Smith speaks to one of her students, sophomore Mohamed Al-Jarah, during class. Over her eleven years at Rangeview, Smith has taught Honors English 10, AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature.
By: Peter Vo, Review Staff
Many students around the school have expressed that Rangeview High School is home to some of the most intriguing teachers, teachers that impact students lives in more ways than just the learning in the classroom. As students suffer with many experiences during their high school experiences, teachers are there to help through their interactions in the classroom.
Cary Smith, a teacher that cares deeply about the well-being and learning of the students, is an outstanding example of Rangeview’s staff according to the students that surround her.
A Rangeview veteran, Smith has taught at the school for ten years, this being her eleventh. Smith has taught Honors English 10, AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature.
Her classes are often regarded as one of the hardest classes at Rangeview by many of her current and former students.
“Her classes are pretty difficult but that’s to be expected because they’re Honors and AP classes,” said Rangeview Alumni Esther Nguyen. “As for resources, she usually provided a lot of work from prior classes or example works from college board.”
But why are her classes so hard? Smith consciously makes her classes difficult; though, it isn’t to make a student’s life miserable — it’s to improve the work habit of her students.
“Disorganization, lack of time management, bad work habits, I want to help them fix all of these problems,” explained Smith. “There are resources to help with these problems that I provide the students, like a calendar of when things are due. Not too many assignments immediately due.”
While Smith does make it a priority to provide resources for her students, many still find her courses challenging. However, her students have expressed their great appreciation for her effort and support.
“It’s a lot of work. The transition from Honors 9th grade English to Honors 10th grade English is a huge leap,” said Mohamed Al-Jarah, a sophomore in Smith’s Honors 10 class. “She pushes us to be the best we can possibly be but that’s why she’s the best teacher, she cares about us.”
Being known for her strictness, Smith doesn’t always get recognition for her full personality. Although, beyond her sternness, she is also regarded as a humorous person by her students, cracking jokes and being joyful in class.
“The fun is probably one of the best parts of her class, her personality is really bright in the class and that makes the class fun,” explained sophomore Beimnet Mulugeta. “Even though she pushes us, she knows that we’re capable of great things if we’re pushed a little bit more.”
Many students in her class bring this sense of spirit up and it’s something she truly holds within herself that students recognize.
“Ms. Smith is kind of strict because she wants all of her students to do well in her class. But her humor definitely softens out her harshness,” Nguyen assured.
Smith doesn’t only educate her students, she connects with them. Being a single mother of a daughter who has a chronic illness, she goes through her own struggles every day.
“I’m open about many things with my classes. It depends on my connection with the kids in the class, every class is different,” said Smith. “They know about how I’m a single mother to my daughter and that she’s a big part of my life.”
Students learn from Smith, not only the importance of English and literature, but how to “be human,” a common theme throughout her classes. She teaches the students to be good people of society through the novels she gives out to the students.
Novels like The Great Gatsby and A Tale of Two Cities are taught to students. While many students find the books boring, Smith connects the novels to the real world, making the book a lot more personal for her students.
“We grasp the messages in these books, from understanding how you can never go back to the past, to underlining the fact that societies all over the world are different. She makes us well aware of the impact of literature but also how it flows within our society,” explains Al-Jarah.
There are a lot of things that Smith wants her students to take away from the class and she states them clearly: “Reality of the world, their improvement at critical thinking, thinking for themselves and what it’s like to be human.”
At the end of the day, Smith’s devotion to students, humor, and the challenge she provides her students compose her personality. She wishes that, one day, all the kids in her class will improve as students, graduate, and be supporting members of society.
“Seeing the kids finish school and where they’re going after they graduate; seeing them wherever they are in August and then where they are in the month of May shows the progression of the students and how they’re going to be successful young adults,” Smith explained.
Smith is still regarded as a “feared” teacher by many students; though, she excels at mending these kids according to those taught by her.
Students aren’t always aware of her love for teaching, but she supports her students and lives up to the definition of a teacher: a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values, according to Wikipedia.