Sophia Beckmann

Behnam refers to his classes as organized chaos and borderline anarchy, with him being the students supreme leader.

Makenzie Van Buren , new staffer

Standing outside his classroom, Reza Behnam, English teacher, towers over students rushing past him. But, behind the doors of West-115 is where his personality comes into its full effect; sarcastic, brilliant and terrifying.

Behnam started working at KHS in 1997 when Dr. Rick Burns hired him as part of the English department. Currently, Behnam teaches sophomore honors English in addition to seniors.

However, before Behnam was a teacher at KHS or even living in America, he was in Europe. While in London during his late teens, he got a job at the first Hard Rock Café. During his summers working there, Behnam got to experience what he accounted as some of the biggest musicians of his time.

“It was the first and original Hard Rock [Café]. It’s not like it is today when you have a Hard Rock on every street corner in every major, city.” Behnam said. “If they were a band I saw them, I served them, I cleared their plates.”

His studies brought him to the United States for college, when he attended the University of Oklahoma and Lincoln University, where he decided to be a teacher. After graduating and working at Hannibal Missouri for what Behnam referred to as, three long miserable years, Behnam got his job at Kirkwood. 

Since 1997, Behnam has taught several students. One being Claire Zickel, junior. Zickel had Behnam for her sophomore year when she decided to take an honors English class.

”You never knew what was happening when you got to his class,”  Zickel said. “It was always a new surprise every day depending on his mood.”

Behnam refers to his classes as organized chaos and borderline anarchy, with him being the students supreme leader. Behnam strives to keep his classrooms intense and rigerious, hoping his students learn something by the end of the year.

Another student, Natalie Scherr, junior had Behnam for her sophomore year honors English class. She now has gone on to take AP Language and Composition.

“I felt like we were learning a lot, but at the same time it was more chill than other classes,” Scherr said. “Sometimes he would throw things out just to throw them out. Like sometimes we wouldn’t do an introduction paragraph.”

Behnam has been teaching at Kirkwood for 22 years. Over all of those years he has learned how to set himself apart from other teachers.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, then somebody said you should be teacher when I was in my masters,” said Behnam. “I thought it would be a good fit with my personality.”