Mr. Campbell, my fifth grade teacher!
Colorado Springs
August 30, 2006

It’s been such a great day! My adored, all-time favorite teacher, Mr. Campbell, came to visit us! He just finished a masters degree at Johns Hopkins, and he’s driving home to San Diego, so he came through Colorado Springs to visit. I hadn’t seen him in years, so it was great to have him here.

Mr. C is a gem of the educational system, and I am truly lucky to have been one of his students. I was in his fifth grade class in Frankfurt, Germany, 22 years ago. I realized even then that teachers with his passion, creativity, and humor don’t come along often. Our class was an experimental project that consisted of students in the gifted and talented program, and every day Mr. C found ways to expand our eager minds. We included technology in ways that were rare in the mid-80s. We learned about government by developing our own country, complete with a constitution, elected leaders, political campaigns, laws, and money. We put on a play. We went camping, and learned how to navigate the forest with a compass. I still look back on that year as the most creatively and academically rewarding year of my life.

When the year ended, the school did not continue our gifted and talented program into the sixth grade. My classmates and I were divided into separate classrooms, and school was boring again. I remember that my sixth grade teacher spent an entire month teaching the difference between positive numbers and negative numbers. Some of my new classmates didn’t understand, so none of us could advance until everyone was ready. One day I was so bored that I completed all 70 pages of my math workbook. I asked the teacher for something more advanced, but she wasn’t able to provide it.

Fortunately Mr. Campbell was still around, teaching the next year’s fifth grade class. Several of my friends felt just as unstimulated as I did, so we visited Mr. C for more inspiration. That year he helped us to make a movie about our responses to the Cold War and nuclear threat. Our movie was called “The Day Before,” and showed different kids’ possible responses to an imminent nuclear war. It won a nationwide competition. We all got back together the following year to make another movie.

Mr. Campbell and I have kept in touch over all these years. Ever since I was a kid, I have given him credit for my desire to help kids and pursue a career in education. Now I have a masters degree in education, and I dream of teaching photography to kids. Today I feel rejuvenated in that goal.

More pictures, including our fifth grade class portrait!


Our fifth grade class. Can you guess which one I am?

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COMMENTS

As an educator myself, this blog entry brought me tears. I strive every day to be the teacher Mr. C was to you and can only wish and hope that my students will remember me for stimulating their minds, being an understanding human being, and trying to make a difference in each of their lives. I still keep in contact with my 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Brace. She was my “Mr. C” and I give her all the credit for my having become a teacher. =)

As an educator myself, this blog entry brought me tears. I strive every day to be the teacher Mr. C was to you and can only wish and hope that my students will remember me for stimulating their minds, being an understanding human being, and trying to make a difference in each of their lives. I still keep in contact with my 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Brace. She was my “Mr. C” and I give her all the credit for my having become a teacher. =)

Re: Mr. C

I think its wonderful that we are all still in touch!!:) I know – its kinda strange but I feel like I have met Mike through your words & pictures!!:) I was hoping to come out to CO in Dec but I’m going to go to Spain to visit Gwendolyn (she’s studying abroad in Granada, Spain for the semester!!!) her last week at school – the week before Xmas. Stephen (boyfriend) is planning on coming too and I think we may stay in Europe for xmas & new year’s. so the visit to CO will be postponed until Jan/Feb. πŸ™‚

Re: Mr. Campbell

Perfect! I am really looking forward to seeing you in November! And we definitely need to make that reunion happen.

Re: Mr. C

Sarah-Amanda, hi!! How cool that you, Whitney, Bryan, and Danielle have all responded to this post. Can you believe how lucky we all are to still be in touch? I’d love to see you soon–you still haven’t met Mike! I hope you’re doing well!

Re: Mr. Campbell

Whitney! It’s great to hear from you here! It was fantastic to see him last week, and we were actually talking about a reunion next summer! One of the places Mr. C suggested for the reunion was Austin. πŸ™‚

Speaking of which, I’m definitely coming to Austin in November for a photography seminar. I’ll let you know my schedule, and hopefully you’ll be around!

Re: Oh, lord.

bwahahahaha… don’t give me any dangerous ideas!

I don’t know about my creative peak, but it was definitely my intellectual peak. Nowadays I have trouble remembering what I am talking about mid-sentence. Must be the nutrasweet.

Mr. C

I was just thinking this morning how I completely let the summer go without getting together with Mr. C in MD/VA! πŸ™ Great to see pictures!! I concur with everything you say Charlotte about what impact Mr. C – you had on us!!! πŸ™‚

Cheers!
Sarah-Amanda

Mr. Campbell

Hi Charlotte! I can’t believe you got to see Mr. Campbell! What a pleasure it is to see pictures of him!! Thanks for sharing those! Mr. Campbell is one of a kind – every child should have the chance to have a teacher like him. I wonder how many of us went on to work with kids after being inspired by him. I still think we ought to plan a little reunion….

Whitney

Oh, lord.

I can’t believe you have that picture.

Next thing you know, somebody’ll post ‘the Day Before’ on YouTube.

Sadly, I think that was probably my creative peak…

Bryan

Darn! I thought for sure you were in purple. Haha! I am bad at telling, but that’s alright.

It’s great to have you chime in here! I swear I would have gone crazy in Ms. Haynes’ class if it hadn’t been for you. I can’t believe that she thought you should skip the class, but didn’t bother to mention anything until it was all over. NICE.

Doesn’t Sarah look adorable in this class picture?

Wow, what a wonderful success story! It’s great to know that teachers like her exist, but what a shame that she didn’t seem to enjoy it.

Tiny girl in blue skirt is right! I was the third shortest in the class. 5’6″ now, though. πŸ˜‰

Oh no… I really was a lucky one. πŸ˜‰

Re: awww…

I think the best part is that he knows how much his students appreciate him. I wonder how many teachers have that luxury.

πŸ™‚

Re: awww…

You’re right! You guys are good. πŸ™‚

Nope, but she does look like me, I think. I’m the little shorty on the far right, in the blue skirt.

That’s great that you had such a wonderful teacher, too, and that you can visit him even now. πŸ™‚

I wasn’t born in Germany–I lived there for four years, from ages 9-13. I went to an American school, hence the English letter board. I love Germany and will always consider it to be part of my home. You should defintely visit!

Yeah, I agree. I think sports are important for social and physical development, but obviously academics need to be a priority.

Sometimes I think that even one good teacher in a lifetime can make a huge difference. Hooray for Mr. Scott. πŸ™‚

Wow, you guys are good. That’s me!

You got it! I was a little shorty back in the day.

omigosh. i still recognize half those kids. and i recognize the references to our beloved ms. haynes. *shudder*. at the end of the school year, she told mom i should have skipped that grade but she wanted to keep everyone together which is why she said nothing before. i remember she gave me a broken sewing machine. wonder what happened to her?

My amazing teacher was my GCSE English teacher (age 14-16). Before that I hated English and although Miss James seemed to hate teaching she managed to get us all interested and got loads out of our whole class. Every year people from her class would get letters from the exam board saying they’d got one of the top five marks in the country and I’m now studying English at Durham, as she did.

I’m going to follow the crowd and say I think you’re in the blue shirt and skirt, looking tiny.

another vote for blue skirt. πŸ™‚

he sounds like an amazing teacher.

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing.

I wish Mr. Campbell had been MY fifth grade teacher. I had freaky Mrs. Dellar…yikes!

awww…

that’s a great story! πŸ™‚ and i’m sure he’s really proud of you! yay for inspiring teachers inspiring others to become inspiring teachers themselves!

p.s. i want to be one of *your* students! πŸ˜€

I can’t wait for the answer of who you are in the pic πŸ™‚
I also guess that you are the girl in the second row in blue skirt πŸ™‚

That’s great you’ve kept in touch with him, and got to see him again. I wish I had stayed in touch with my teachers, okay just some of them.

I am going to guess you’re the only one in a purple shirt, in the back.

standing on the end with blue skirt!!

I too gues Blue skirt πŸ™‚

Aww, what a fantastic story. πŸ™‚ Having that one teacher that you connect with, someone there to guide you and let you create at the same time, is such a bonus in life. My senior art teacher was my “Mr. C”, and your story has made me realize that I really do need to get off of my butt and go pay him a visit soon! And were you born in Germany? I wouldn’t expect to see a German class portrait with an English letter board. πŸ˜‰ My mom and grandmother’s side of the family is all from Germany; my mom was born in Hamburg. I’d love to go visit sometime; I still have family there, and friends I’ve met online!

Sounds like an amazing fifth grade!! I hated how understimulating public school was, it’s really a shame that honors programs don’t get as much emphasis as sports.

I also guess standing, blue skirt, fringe, blue plaid shirt

Charlotte Geary

CHARLOTTE GEARY

I photograph fascinating people, and I teach other people how to do it, too.

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