Father-daughter relationship develops new insight
Senior Brooke Stobbe, right, sings with the worship team during the end-of-the-year convocation, held in the Peoples Church Sanctuary, May 3.
"As in, Mr. Stobbe? Is he your dad?" Yes, and yes. And to answer your next inevitable question: Yes, I do like having him in class.
My life has been centered around this school. Although I'm not technically a lifer, I consider myself more attached to this school than those eight kids that will stand up at graduation to be acknowledged for their 13-year commitment at FCS.
I was home-schooled all through elementary and into junior high by my mom, who only worked two days a week. My dad, Greg Stobbe, has taught English and journalism at FC longer than I've been alive, so my sisters and I would spend those two days behind the chalkboard in Room 606.
Those days held some of the best memories. At times, listening to "the big kids" read Hamlet soliloquies or discuss plot in The Human Comedy got boring and my coloring books and addition worksheets failed to amuse my young mind. But during those times, students would throw paper wads behind the board with special notes on them, or pay secret visits through the first-floor window, which was conveniently located behind the chalkboard.
I believe these sedentary experiences gave me an unfair advantage come time for my own freshman English class, and I naively seized the day. After I sat through the class for the past ten years, I flawlessly recited Mr. Stobbe's notorious definition of "fiction," and sung "Beasts of England" by memory.
However, in-class time with my dad has proven more difficult than I thought. As it turned out, I actually had no idea what Animal Farm was about, nor understood any of the class discussions I had witnessed over the years. I was faced with my turn to think for myself.
As a little kid, I was daddy's girl. My dad and I were buddies and I would get jealous when he wanted to be with my mom instead of me. Over the years, we've developed a great relationship, which showed in our classroom dynamic. We played off each other's jokes and understood the other's train of thought.
Nonetheless, throughout the experience of being in class with him, my challenge has not been to get a good grade, understand the material or to expand my abilities like most other students in class. Having the name Stobbe has possessed challenges that "regular" students will never face.
"Over the years, we've developed a great relationship, which showed in our classroom dynamic. We played off each other's jokes and understood the other's train of thought." -- Brooke Stobbe, '12, Multimedia anchor
To disprove any favoritism my peers might have perceived was actually an issue I had to confront as a 14-year-old. Occasionally I would hear snide remarks when a paper would receive a good grade or when I would answer a question "correctly." Because of my name and association with the teacher, I was accused of being handed grades on a silver platter.
I must admit, there are times I prefer not to state my last name to new kids and to simply introduce myself as "Brooke." Through the years, I've had to walk the thin line between being my own person, but still being affiliated with Mr. Stobbe, whom I proudly call "dad" in the classroom. When new kids discover I'm a "Stobbe," there's one question that has baffled me since it was first asked my junior year.
Dad has always been my dad, and it never occurred to me that to some, he was not a dynamic person-- father, husband, son. When I was really little, many kids from the class of 2000 spent a lot of time at my house and with my family. The girls would have tea parities with my sisters and I, and a few of the guys even had their graduation parties at my house. They called him "Stobbe," but he was more than just a teacher to them. He was an active person in their lives, who extended outside of the classroom.
Through Stobbe's relationship with her father [Greg Stobbe, Feather adviser], she has not only developed a closer friendship with him but has also come to appreciate his role as a teacher.
So to ask me 'what's it like to have Mr. Stobbe as a dad' is a completely backwards question. What's it like to have your father's clients as a dad, or your mother's patients as a mom? Being a teacher is his job, and my peers are affiliated with his career life and fail to understand that his life extends outside the computer lab.
I am clearly under no impression that my father is everyone's favorite teacher. To some, he is a favorite. Others find him intolerable, and it pains me to hear about it. Having a teacher at home, I find my perception of school is much wider than my peers'. I understand a student's frustrations with school and experience the effects of worksheets or a sleepless nights. However, being disrespectful to a teacher never goes unnoticed.
I think overall, the most important concept extracted from my high school experience with dad is as follows: teachers are humans. How frustrating to give time to students to teach, assign and grade, only to receive no effort or respect from your pupil. Every ounce of energy is given in hopes of guiding their class, for efforts only to be received as inconsequential, as if the student knows better.
I think students underestimate teachers. We think we know more, they are mean for giving the assignment and they don't understand. However, when helping a young sibling with their homework, wouldn't you be frustrated if your efforts were disregarded as if he or she knew more than you?
And so is the experience of Brooke Stobbe.
Senior Brooke Stobbe will attend Arizona State University in the fall and has been accepted into the The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
For more opinion columns, read the April 27 article, Letter from the editor: The pain of goodbyes.