By David Fong
TROY — Bob and Chris Campbell left teaching, but the desire to teach never left them.
And that’s why, the husband and wife team — both of whom recently retired as teachers at Concord Elementary School following a combined 70 years of teaching — already are back in the classroom volunteering several times a week at Cookson Elementary School.
“This is where we’re gifted,” said Bob, who spent one year as a fifth-grade teacher, followed by 35 years as a physical education teacher, at Concord. “This is what we should be doing. We enjoy it. We love the chance to help out students.”
Bob Campell retired from teaching four years ago, while his wife retired at the end of last school year. They got back into teaching the behest of Cookson intervention specialist Trish Shindollar, who taught with both of them at Concord and remains a close friend.
The Campbells allow Shindollar break her class into smaller groups and give students more individual attention.
“Trish had been talking to my wife about coming in whenever she could,” Bob Campbell said. “She started doing it in the fall and she just had a great time. What started as one day became another day and it really just started to grow from there.”
Chris Campbell said being able to volunteer at Cookson has made it easier for her to transition from being a full-time teacher to retired life.
“It’s been a really good transition for me,” Chris Campbell said. “In a lot of ways, I wasn’t ready to quit teaching. This allows me to keep working without students without doing all of the day-to-day things required of teachers, which can be exhausting. I love being able to come in, get to know the students and see the progress they are making.”
Shindollar said having the Campbell’s come in and help out has been of tremendous benefit to her students.
“It’s been tremendous having them come in, just to see the rapport they have with the students,” she said. “To have that much experience coming into the classroom is just amazing.”
Cookson principal Stephanie Johnson said volunteers such as the Campbells are the lifeblood of her school.
“We have so many volunteers who come in weekly and support our students and their learning with extra practice,” Johnson said. “We also have numerous lunch buddies who come in monthly, year after year, to befriend and mentor our students. They bring special lunches and gifts. The relationships that have been fostered with our community members are just awesome. It enables us to truly give our students what they really need.
“Whether it is Bob and Chris Campbell, the Teacher Academy Students from Troy High School and Upper Valley Career Center or the 50-plus other volunteers who support our school community, we are beyond grateful for the sincerity, the dedication, the skill and the love shown to our children. Troy people take care of one another, and it is absolutely evident here at Cookson Elementary.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong