Teacher Feature: Mr. Campbell by Camilla McGarry and Preston Rylee

Mr. Campbell is a Taft icon. If you don’t know who he is, then you are doing something wrong. As an advisor, alumni, dean, coach, dorm parent, English teacher, and role model to all, Mr. Campbell has always been extremely involved in the Taft community. He is a friendly face around the Taft campus, and according to Corinna Dorr ‘19, “He always takes time out of his day to stop and talk to you”. Although after graduating college, Taft never crossed his mind, and his reason for coming back was a lack of other options after losing his job, Mr. Campbell has been working at Taft for the past twenty nine years and is now a prominent and well-loved figure on campus.

 

Since 1972, Mr. Campbell’s first year here, Taft has gone through a number of changes. According to Mr. Campbell, the most significant improvements have been made on the physical Taft campus; the dorm rooms are nicer and the athletic center is “more complete” than when he attended Taft. Although he was unwilling to offer specifics about his favorite memories as a student, Mr. Campbell believes that Taft students these days are “less troublesome” than during his years as a student here.

 

Mr. Campbell was hired by Taft in 1990, initially working as the Annual Fund Director in The Business Office. Eventually, Mr. Campbell was asked if he would like to try teaching an English course, and he has been an English teacher at Taft ever since; he finds that being a teacher rather than working in The Business Office has given him the valuable chance to form close relationships with his students. He is also a Class Dean. Since becoming a teacher, Mr. Campbell has noticed that with the increased technology readily available, students tend to read less and less frequently (for class or otherwise), which he believes has a negative effect on reading comprehension. As a Freshman Dean, Mr. Campbell is acutely aware of the struggles of being a freshman, which is why one of his favorite books to teach is Macbeth, as he relishes in watching the freshmen navigate their first Shakespeare January. His other two favorite books to teach are The Odyssey and The Great Gatsby.

 

Because he has been both a faculty member and a student, Mr. Campbell has a very unique and well-informed perspective on life at Taft. His favorite part about Taft is the relationships he has formed with students throughout his time here. As he has made close relationships with his students, he has developed an understanding of the importance of student-faculty relationships and the ways in which the administration and faculty shape the culture of the school. Becoming a teacher has also given Mr. Campbell a newfound respect for students: “I don’t think, until I did start teaching, that I realized how hard it is to be a student”. Additionally, Mr. Campbell has “gained a new appreciation for his teachers” as he now understands how hard they had to work to control a class for a full forty five minute class period.

 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are crucial members of the community during all hours of the day. They seem to be everywhere on campus at all times, if it is in main hall, in their offices, in the athletic center, or in the dorm. The comfort that they feel at Taft, due to the amount of time that they have both spent on campus projects a sense of warmth, making for the best dorm parents that enable students to feel right at home.