Ms. Browning: From “wanna-be” Pizza Deliverer to German teacher

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Kelleen Browning teaching her sixth period class.

Mason Apking, Online Editor

“I wanted to be a pizza delivery man, so I could take home pizza every night. And teaching was going to be the other job I might do,” said Kelleen Browning about her childhood dream job. However, the pizza delivery gig remained just a childhood dream and now many students at Southeast refer to her as Frau Browning, Southeast’s one and only German teacher. 

 

Browning enjoys teaching as it allows her to not only teach a new language but a new culture and history. In the upper levels, students learn about science, how vaccines work, and the definition of fracking. As a World language teacher, she gets to hear some interesting sentences from students who want to be funny in their newfound language.  

 

“Almost every year there is a restaurant that ends up eating children and it’s run by the witches of Hansel and Gretel,” Browning said.

 

What sets Browning apart from most other German teachers in LPS is that she lived in Germany for a total of 16 months; six months in Berlin and 10 months in Aachen. And she has funny stories to tell. Her favorite memory is when she lived with her roommate Yannick. When Yannick’s friends would come over, they would go to Yannick and start talking about Browning, as if she didn’t know German. Then his friends would be surprised when she spoke up, in German.

 

In 2019, Browning won the New World Language Educator award, from the Nebraska Association of Teachers of German (NATG). This award can be won in a teacher’s first five years of teaching German. She was nominated by her department supervisor Chris Huntington. “I was very surprised and I was very honored to get it. I put in a lot of work for school and for the German program, and it’s really nice to be recognized,” said Browning.

 

Browning is proud of her students and loves to see students immerse themselves in German culture. She points back to a student who visited Germany and is now fluent in the language. The idea that her teaching inspired someone to continue their journey with the language brings her so much joy. And she says, “I’m really excited for her and that she got so much done and this is just my first couple of years.”

 

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting a lot of people including Browning. “[I] like writing by hand just as it is, because it takes longer, it stays in your short term memory a little bit longer and makes it easier to retrieve that information later,” she said. This is a method that many teachers use to teach their students, but one that has been complicated due to remote learning. She also finds it harder to tell if a student is using a translating service rather than doing the work themselves. However, she knows that if a student is “cheating” they are only hurting themselves in the long run.

 

Browning enjoys the time she spends with her students. Because of Lincoln Public Schools’ response to COVID-19; Browning is filled with hope to be able to see all her students in one room once again. This year has brought up challenges for the education industry. She will continue to spread positivity and teach German to her students for as long as possible.