The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

Forensics coach John Campbell gives life advice

Speak up. Competitive speech and pop culture studies instructor John Campbell has been a teacher at East for 26 years. He has learned many things from not only students, but his colleagues as well. “There are certain people who I think, ‘wow, that’s a good trait to have,’ I just saw one of the Lenears, and I’ve never seen them not positive, like maybe they have down days, but some teachers you’re just like ‘dang, they’re always fairly positive’ or helping other people to do their best,” Campbell said. Photo by TayLana Tolbert

After the bell rings to signal the beginning of class, it only takes instructor John Campbell a few minutes to make an impact on his students’ lives. His efforts of wise words and positivity flow through students’ ears, influencing their views on the day. 

Campbell has taught at Bellevue East for 26 years. In this time, he has developed wisdom and new outlooks on life. He is willing to share some of the things he has learned to help students grow and improve their mindset. 

“I think the idea that you want the world to be a little better because you were there is important,” Campbell said. “I would hope that the times I interact with people or encounter people, things are better because of that, not worse. I would hate to think that the impact we have is nothing, so I think we do have a greater purpose to leave the world a little better than when we got here.”  

Whether it’s sitting at his desk or teaching in front of the class, Campbell always takes time to communicate with his students. In efforts to connect with them, and make school a safe environment, he tries to understand his students and put a smile on their faces. 

Story continues below advertisement

“I think that he’s an amazing teacher and he truly helps students who have social anxiety or stuff going on,” Sloan said. “I would recommend that students get to talk to him about stuff that they like because he’s really easy to talk to and a jokester. He’ll be very nice to you as long as you are not disrespectful.” 

Campbell has learned that the way he treats his students is important. His students carry his words with them throughout the day, impacting their mood and the way they treat others. 

“Be good to people,” Campbell said. “Try to be kind to people and understand where they are coming from. I remember getting annoyed at a kid when I first started teaching that they didn’t turn in some work and they came in after class and were like ‘I’m so sorry, my mom broke up with her boyfriend and we’re living in her car and I don’t know where we’re going to stay tonight,’ and I just couldn’t believe that I had complained about her not getting a story done when this poor kid doesn’t know where she’s sleeping that night. So, I learned to understand that not everyone has the same experiences.” 

Sophomore Evelyn Meadows-Cardenas, who is in his Guided Personal Study (GPS), said that she looks to Campbell as a role model. She embraces his positivity at the end of each day. 

“Campbell’s always there to talk to me at the end of the day and he makes me laugh,” Meadows-Cardenas said. “He is a very enthusiastic person. He treats everyone equally and makes sure each student gets their work done.” 

Campbell carries a modest mindset. He can use self-awareness to improve as a person. Constantly seeking more knowledge has helped him gain wisdom over the years. 

“Curiosity is important,” Campbell said. “Not being satisfied with just the things you can see, that there are bigger things out there and you can always learn something. It’s good to remind yourself that not everyone thinks like you do. Not everyone has the same outlook or opinions, and maybe yours aren’t always right, which is hard to admit or think about.”

Sloan, who has Campbell first block Popular Cultural Studies and second block Forensics, talks about his impact on her morning. Because he runs collaborative classes, she starts each day by verbalizing her thoughts to him. 

“He wakes me up in the morning. He’s a very energetic guy. He’s always awake too, because that man drinks like five cups of coffee a day,” Sloan said. “I think he has a very positive effect on our school. You know those teachers that you’ll always remember, I think he’s one of them for a lot of people. Almost everybody likes him.” 

By understanding what others go through and what challenges some may be facing, Campbell can look at life from a more appreciative perspective. He recently experienced a loss of a car from a crash, but his outlook was at least he and his kids made it through safely. He was able to carry on, instead of being engrossed in it. 

“The idea that there are probably millions of people right now who are waking up and don’t know whether they are going to have water to drink or if they’re going to have a house in the next hour. I look at something like Gaza where 30,000 people have died, people are starving,” Campbell said. “I mean it’s kind of hard to complain about something when you know people are going through that kind of tragedy, so just be grateful that we have what we have.” 

Campbell’s students look to him for advice and feel comfortable around him. Many have claimed that they look to him as a source to talk about their problems. 

“He is very passionate,” Meadows-Cardenas said. “He is funny and is very caring about other people’s lives and feelings. He is a kind soul and is genuinely awesome. Campbell pushes students to be the best versions of themselves. I like how I can have a conversation with him and it just flows. I don’t have to think of anything to say and he’s just a nice person to be around and talk to.”

Campbell expresses life advice revolving around choosing the right career path. He believes that this is the key to a successful job. 

“Pursue your passions. Money’s important, but it’s not the only thing,” Campbell said. “There are other professions that you could make a lot of money in, but might be miserable. It sounds cliche, but do what makes you happy. When I get up in the morning, I’m excited to come here and be around students.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Tom Tom Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *